Queen’s Speech promises libel reform and bill on adult social care

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 10 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3333
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Campaigners have welcomed a commitment by the government to reform the libel laws in England and Wales. Defamation will be deemed to have occurred only if “serious harm” has been caused, and the rules will be tightened to avoid libel tourism, under which foreign plaintiffs bring actions that would be unlikely to succeed in their home countries.

The announcement, made in the Queen’s Speech to parliament, which outlines the government’s intended legislation, is a response to a large campaign launched after the law was used in an attempt to silence critics.

One of them, science writer Simon Singh, who was sued by the British Chiropractic Association for an article he wrote, said: “The reform promised in the Queen’s Speech today is a welcome response to the intolerable effects of the current laws. I hope the government will now move forward rapidly to bring forward a bill that protects those writing about serious …

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