Draft bill on libel reform fails to ensure swifter and cheaper resolution of cases

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 21 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6856
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The United Kingdom government’s draft bill to reform the libel laws in England and Wales does not go far enough and will do little to tackle the problem of unacceptably high costs, concludes a cross party committee of peers and MPs set up to scrutinise the bill before legislation.

The committee of both houses of parliament says the draft defamation bill fails to confront the high costs and uncertainty about outcomes that are said to be the key factors chilling free speech.

The bill makes some changes to the law and codifies some parts of the existing case law in statutory form, but the committee …

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