Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The libel laws of England part 94

The Guardian this morning carries a report of a libel case in progress in the English courts. The case is important in that it is believed to be the first time that a publisher has sought to use the so-called Reynolds defence.

The Reynolds defence was developed in the judgment on a libel action brought some time ago by the former Irish prime minister Albert Reynolds against the Sunday Times. In theory, it allows the media to print allegations that are in the public interest, irrespective of whether their truth can be ascertained, so long as certain important tests are applied.

Anyone seeking to publish a non-fiction book in the UK, and especially a book which claims to expose wrongdoing of one sort or another, should keep an eye on this one.

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