Despite the new Defamation Act on which I talked in this post, individuals and companies, who are not ostensibly UK-based, continue to fight libel actions in the UK. Here’s a case reported on the BBC web site.
I can’t say I object to this, as I suspect a few nice fees are trousered by a few lawyers and hopefully, they’ll spend it in the UK to give employment to tailors, builders and a few other trades.
The problem comes, when these sort of cases are pursued against a small individual, like an impoverished blogger, who perhaps has said something like Liberace couldn’t play the piano.
Ostensibly it was to celebrate the passing into law of the Defamation Act of 2013.
But there is still work to do. They gave out a flyer last night, which stated these loose ends to be tied.
- We need clarity that the new statutory public interest defence will not lead to the importation of the problems of the Reynolds defence.
- We are still awaiting new court procedures which must provide for early strike out of trivial claims along with the Government’s plans for costs protection.
- We need the regulations and procedures to accompany section 5 on internet publication to deliver an effective defence.
- The Northern Ireland Assembly has failed to adopt the Defamation Act.
My support has only been moral and financial in a small way. But if you read this blog you will find many stories where libel has been inappropriately used to suppress views or information.
As the post yesterday about Nespresso showed, big companies and powerful individuals, are not slow to use the law to protect their interests.
Hopefully though, the Defamation Act 2013 will have removed one of their most effective weapons, the inappropriate and threatening use of the law of libel.
We are in for some interesting times, as the lawyers of the powerful, search for new ways to suppress the truth.
But perhaps the biggest lesson of last night, was that a well-organised campaign, with the support of decent and right-thinking individuals, acting in the public interest, can successfully drive from conception to execution, by using the Internet and the media, and motivating the general public to push their legislators hard.
Similar tactics were used by the Lighter Later campaign, but sadly that well-run campaign I supported, was killed by the dinosaurs in Parliament. The difference was probably that, the Libel Reform Campaign had the backing of all three political parties.
The trouble is that some groups may use similar tactics and methods to stop projects and ideas, that most believe should be implemented. Two that come to mind are the cancer database announced yesterday and HS2.
If I was to propose a campaign, it would be one to make the UK fully metric. That will never happen.
C did many divorces and in quite a few, she was acting for a wife, whose husband had hidden most of their joint assets in companies, overseas or other inaccessible places. After those cases, she generally came home angry.
But now after the case in this BBC story, things should be different.
And rightly so!
This blog post on bankers is worth reading. Two of my least-favourite politicians get the treatment with no holds barred.
Read it! If I paraphrased it, I’d reduce the quality of the criticism.
Not my statement, but something that was hinted at in an article in The Times.
I don’t drink much coffee and I always wondered about Nespresso, with its expensive advertising. If it was that good, why don’t I see more machines in peoples’ houses.
It looks like they’ve got a marketing philosophy based on a cheap machine and expensively-packaged coffee.
I tend to avoid machines in the kitchen, as you have to wash them up and except for my cooker, microwave and fridge, I only use three pieces of electrical equipment; a kettle, a toaster and a Kenwood chopper, which was heavily promoted by Delia. I do have a dishwasher, but I don’t use it, as it was wrecked by the tenants, who lived here before I bought the house. It just doesn’t get anything clean, whereas my Mark One hand and a gammy one, perform the task well.
So when I see that Nespresso, a subsidiary of Nestle are involved in a legal spat with Mondelez, who in my book are still called Kraft, as I do here on Reuters, I know that there can only be one winner, the lawyers. And the poor old consumer will pay for it all in higher prices. So Nespresso is a product to avoid!
Incidentally, both companies are on my avoid lists, as they don’t in my book publish full and detailed information on gluten about their products. I also don’t like Nestle’s stand on powdered milk for babies and who would buy anything from the company that made its name with sliced cheese. Other companies in my avoid group are Mars and in fact any company, where you can’t find the gluten-free information easily on their web site, or if you’re in the shop, on the packaging.
It is reported in the Daily Telegraph, the the judge; sir Paul Coleridge, is praising Keira Knightley for her low key marriage ceremony. Here’s the first bit of the article.
Sir Paul Coleridge said he hoped the marriage, which saw Miss Knightley, 28, driven from the wedding with her new husband in a Renault Clio and guests wearing flip flops, would encourage other young couples to get married without having to worry about spending thousands on lavish ceremonies.
Sir Paul, who has launched the Marriage Foundation, said he felt the costs of weddings in Britain had got out of hand recently, with the average price tag to tie the knot now £20,000.
I can remember C, who was a barrister specialising in sorting out the details of divorces, chuckling as she saw details of the latest celebrity wedding in the papers. often saying, “It won’t last!” I think she said that about the Beckhams, but it was the only case I can remember, where she was wrong.
Our own marriage was a small affair in 1968, on the only glorious day in an awful summer. As it lasted forty years, is there a lesson there?
I went to the retirement party in Ipswich, for a judge who was one of C’s best friends, in Ipswich tonight.
It was good to meet old friends and have a drink and some nibbles.
I was also introduced to someone, who as one of the Court Clerks, played a part in the largest case C ever did.
She would tell this story with gusto and lots of actions. I’m sure many who heard it, didn’t believe all of the tale.
She always called the case, the Thorpeness Affray and although she didn’t do crime in the later part of her career, she was persuaded to defend someone in this case, which took place at Ipswich Crown Court.
The size was enormous, in that there a hundred and eight defendants, which my informant said they split into two separate trials. I think once, she said the clerks were scraping the barrel, which is why she got roped in.
It became obvious that the dock wasn’t big enough, so it was decided that each defendant should have a number and these would be placed above their seat. Each of the barristers would carry a flag identifying their clients.
Concerns were raised, as this numbering might not be conducive to a fair trial.
The judge was the well-respected and mildy-eccentric Bertie Richards. He thought, that if the defendants were to be numbered, so should he as the judge. So a number one was placed above where he sat.
At this point in the story, C would get all agitated and would make an action of holding up her flag and saying something like “Your Honour! I represent number 4!” Once the substitute flag in the telling, was a numbered wooden spoon in the restaurant of the pub, much to the delight of everyone.
Whatever happened to her client, I can’t remember. But tonight, I was told that many of the defendants, were part of a gang called the Bramfield Budgies. Bramfield is a village in Suffolk on the A12.
I think it is true to say that in the 1970s and 1980s, the conduct of justice was sometimes a little out of the ordinary.
This story from the Daily Mail, asks if it is the biggest scandal in doping history. Even Andy Murray is laying into the row, as the first paragraphs say.
Andy Murray last night hit out at a Spanish judge who ordered evidence relating to one of the biggest doping rings in history to be destroyed.
Britain’s No 1 tennis player called the decision to dump more than 200 blood bags from stars in a number of sports as ‘the biggest cover-up in sports history’ and said it was a ‘joke’.
Sometimes you think that there is one law for Spain and one law for everybody else.
I like this story from the Wall Street Journal.
it’s about a judge, who held himself in contempt of court, when his mobile phone rang.