Senior judge reminds judges that they can strike out trivial libel claims

The Libel Reform Campaign and the MPs and Peers who led the campaign in the Houses of Parliament have always called for a law mandating strike out of trivial libel claims to be part of the Defamation Act. Strike out is when a court looks at a claim, decides there is no case to answer and therefore doesn’t allow the case to proceed or throws the case out. It did not make it into the Act. The Minister for Justice Lord McNally told us that this was because strike out power already exists in the Civil Procedure Rules, the rules on how cases must be handled that judges must follow. He asked the Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson to respond to our calls and to make sure that judges have it at the front of their minds when hearing libel cases from now on. Read the Master of the Rolls’ statement here.

The Master of the Rolls is the second most senior judge in England and Wales and is the Head of Civil Justice. Defamation law is part of civil law. The new libel laws came into effect on New Year’s Day.

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