Intended for healthcare professionals


Courts are being used “to litigate a scientific debate,” counsel claims

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 24 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1120
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

    The science writer Simon Singh’s right to free expression was infringed when he was required to “prove the unprovable,” his counsel, Adrienne Page QC, told three of the most senior judges in England and Wales this week.

    Dr Singh is appealing against preliminary rulings in a libel action brought against him by the British Chiropractic Association over a comment piece he wrote in the Guardian newspaper. The case has become a cause celebre for free speech campaigners, who say that it illustrates the chilling effect of the libel laws on scientific debate (BMJ 2009;339:b5393, doi:10.1136/bmj.b5393; 2010;340:c339, doi:10.1136/bmj.c339).

    Because the Court of Appeal’s eventual ruling is expected to set an …

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