Libel tourism doubts
New era sees claims from celebrities triple.
The number of libel cases bought by celebrities and sports stars nearly trebled in the past year, and there were more defamation cases overall.
There were 57 reported defamation cases in 2007-8, 78 the following year, and 83 over the past year (2009-10). Last year, some 30 cases were brought by celebrities, including Peter Andre, Lily Allen and David Beckham, compared with 11 cases the year before.
According to publishers Sweet & Maxwell, which commissioned the research, the rise may partly be down to closer working relationships between agents and law firms. Also, increased use of digital media monitoring services of print and online media by the managers of celebrities give a more reliable record of when the media might have published damaging material.
Some sections of the media have attributed the rise in claims to the use of “no win, no fee” agreements….
…Only three cases last year could be categorised as “libel tourism”, the research found, which suggests “forum shopping” may not be as widespread as is often thought….
…The number of defamation cases involving new media such as blogs and tweets has also risen, from three in 2008-09, to seven in 2009-10…
…Another contentious area highlighted by the authors of the research is that of defamatory postings on stock market chat rooms.
“New Law Journal” 10.09.2010