England & Wales

Our campaign has been successful in England and Wales. You can read more about the Defamation Act 2013 and what the law means to you.
For more information about our our campaign in England and Wales, please visit our campaign page.

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Very few of the new defences available in the Defamation Act 2013 have been extended to Scotland. Working in collaboration with journalists, academics and lawyers in Scotland, the Libel Reform Campaign is seeking to ensure that Edinburgh does not become a new haven for libel tourism.

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Northern Ireland

None of the Defamation Act 2013 has been extended to Northern Ireland, and former Minister for Finance & Personnel Sammy Wilson MLA said he had "no plans" to review the law. This leaves citizens in Northern Ireland with far fewer free speech protections than their neighbours elsewhere in the UK.

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The campaign will continue in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Following a four year, people powered campaign, the libel laws in England & Wales have been reformed. The Defamation Act 2013 received Royal Assent on 25th April 2013 and came into force on 1st January 2014.

However, the Libel Reform Campaign continues. Very few of the new provisions have been extended to Scotland, and none in Northern Ireland. This has left British citizens in those nations with fewer free speech protections than their neighbours in England & Wales. Worse, since most publishers operate throughout the UK, the jurisdictions with unreformed law could to chill free speech everywhere in the United Kingdom, and the Defamation Act 2013 could be undermined.

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Latest News - for Home Page

  • Campaigners welcome influential report recommending reform of libel law in Northern Ireland

    Robert Sharp19 July 2016
    The Libel Reform Campaign has welcomed the Department of Finance’s report into libel law reform which recommends substantive reform of the law to better protect free speech and matters in the public interest. The campaign in particular welcomes the inclusion of two prepared pieces of primary legisl...
  • Ask the Scottish Law Commission to Reform Defamation Laws

    Robert Sharp15 June 2016
    The Scottish Law Commission's consultation on the Scots law of defamation closes on 17 June 2016. It is crucial that the law in Scotland is changed so that the new protections enjoyed by people in England & Wales, such as the 'serious harm' test, a public interest defence, and the measures to st...
  • Successes and challenges for the Libel Reform Campaign

    Stephanie Mathisen22 December 2015
    As 2015 draws to a close, the Libel Reform Campaign is celebrating its successes and also looking ahead to new challenges. The Defamation Act 2013 is making a positive impact and the law is working just as Parliament intended.  Recent judgments concerning the ‘serious harm’...
  • Support the Libel Reform Campaign in 2015

    Robert Sharp16 June 2015
    This year we’ve seen why libel reform simply has to keep going. The Scientology film Going Clear was dropped from Sky Atlantic after lawyers feared that the Church of Scientology would be able to sue – not under the new legislation in England and Wales, but under the unreformed law in Scot...
  • Libel Reform Campaign finds overwhelming support for reform in Northern Ireland

    Robert Sharp09 March 2015
    Libel Reform Campaign announces results of their survey to inform the Northern Ireland Law Commission consultation on defamation 747 members of the public sign petition calling for full adoption of the Defamation Act 2013 in Northern Ireland 552 reply to survey undertaken by the Northern Ireland...
  • Shortened response to Northern Ireland Law Commission Consultation

    Ian Bushfield12 February 2015
    Libel Reform Campaign Consultation response: Defamation Law in Northern Ireland 12th February 2015   Please sign our petition calling for libel reform in Northern Ireland and make sure to share it on Twitter (with #LibelReform) and Facebook. Please also respond to the Northe...
  • Sign the petition for Libel Reform in Northern Ireland

    Robert Sharp12 December 2014
    Sign the petition
  • I'll see you in court: ten people silenced by our libel laws

    Robert Sharp07 November 2014
    Free speech isn't free in Northern Ireland. Thanks to the unreformed law of libel, speaking out in the public interest can land you in court. Join Simon Singh and the Libel Reform Campaign at the Crescent Arts Centre to hear first hand the ten discussions the people of Northern Ireland cannot h...
  • Bringing libel reform to Scotland

    Robert Sharp08 July 2014
    The Defamation Act 2013 must be extended to Scotland. Can you join us in Edinburgh on Thursday 17th July at 5 pm? As you know, the Libel Reform Campaign led to the Defamation Act 2013 which introduced significant changes to the law of libel in England & Wales. The law now includes a 'serious ha...
  • New campaign group says “Protect free speech in Northern Ireland”

    Robert Sharp27 June 2014
    Some of Northern Ireland’s most prominent writers, academics, scientists, lawyers, journalists and bloggers have come together to back reform of Northern Ireland’s archaic libel laws. The newly launched Advisory Council of the Northern Ireland Libel Reform Campaign will be urging Stormont to undert...
  • Can you help us rally the people of Northern Ireland to demand libel reform?

    Robert Sharp29 April 2014
    On Wednesday 7th May the Libel Reform Campaign will bring together writers, journalists, scientists, academics, human rights advocates and civil society organisations to form a coalition to reform the law of libel in Northern Ireland. There is a real concern that the current law of libel in Northe...
  • Libel concerns prevent book from publication

    Robert Sharp23 April 2014
    Earlier this month, the Economist published a correspondence between author Karen Dawisha and John Haslam, Executive Publisher, Political Science and Sociology, Cambridge University Press. In the exchange, Mr Haslam cited libel concerns as the reason why CUP could not publish Ms Dawisha's new book e...
  • The fight for libel reform continues.

    Robert Sharp03 April 2014
    As you may be aware, the new defences in the Defamation Act have been blocked from being extended to Northern Ireland. DUP minister Sammy Wilson said our demands for reform were “nonsense” and refused to consider any change. This undeniably leaves the people of Northern Ireland with fewer free spee...
  • Senior judge reminds judges that they can strike out trivial libel claims

    Robert Sharp02 January 2014
    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 d...
  • Senior judge reminds judges that they can strike out trivial libel claims

    Robert Sharp02 January 2014
    The Libel Reform Campaign and the MPs and Peers who led the campaign in the Houses of Parliament have always called for laws that would mean libel cases get resolved as quickly and cheaply as possible. We called for mandatory strike out of trivial libel claims to be part of the Defamation Act. Strik...
  • A new dawn for libel law

    Robert Sharp31 December 2013
    The Defamation Act comes into force on 1st January 2014. This will mean that England and Wales will have the new libel law the Libel Reform Campaign has been calling for for nearly five years. Congratulations and thank you to the hundreds of scientists, authors, human rights activists, bloggers, con...
  • New libel law in January

    Robert Sharp20 November 2013
    The Defamation Act 2013 will come into force on 1st January 2014 Minister for Justice Lord McNally announced in the House of Lords yesterday, read his speech here. This will mean that England and Wales will have the new libel law we have all called for over the last four years. Cong...
  • Shortened response to Mike Nesbitt's defamation law consultation

    Robert Sharp08 November 2013
    Proposed http://portageparkdistrict.org Private Member’s Bill on the law of defamation in Northern Ireland Consultation survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/H9YHDSL   The full response from the Libel Reform Campaign can be seen here.   Question 1. Do you agree with the inclusion of...
  • Don’t bring the libel bullies to Belfast, say authors

    Robert Sharp16 September 2013
    Leading writers call for libel reform in Northern Ireland Thirty-one authors from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have called on the Northern Ireland Executive to introduce libel reform, warning that ‘Northern Ireland may become a new forum for libel bullies.’ The authors include Paul...
  • London says goodbye to libel tourists

    Robert Sharp06 June 2013
    Government promises to bring new libel law into effect by end of the year Libel website Reform Campaign marks most significant reform of English libel law since 1843 The Defamation Act is a victory for citizens’ groups and democratic pressure Scientists, authors, human rights activists, consumer ...
  • Join us to raise a glass to libel reform

    Robert Sharp13 May 2013
    The Defamation Bill became the Defamation Act 2013 last month. It’s time to celebrate its successes and the campaigning effort. Can you join us downstairs at the Penderel’s Oak pub in Holborn, London WC1V 7HP on Thursday 16th May from 6.30pm? This will be almost exactly four years since David Alle...
  • Defamation Bill agreed by Parliament

    Robert Sharp24 April 2013
    The Defamation Bill was granted Royal Assent to become the Defamation Act 2013 on Thursday 25th April. The Libel Reform Campaign has produced an initial analysis of the Bill (PDF) Tracey Brown, Director, Sense About Science said: “A campaign of small organisations, thousands of individuals and goo...
  • The Defamation Bill returns to the House of Lords today

    Robert Sharp23 April 2013
    The Defamation Bill returns to the House of Lords today for consideration of amendments made in the House of Commons.  This is the final opportunity for parliamentarians to influence the contents of the legislation and deliver essential free speech reforms.  The Libel Reform Campaign has u...
  • Government chooses business interests over citizens

    Robert Sharp17 April 2013
    How can it be right that companies delivering public services can’t be criticised acheter cialis france by citizens? At a debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 16 April 2013 the Government rejected attempts to reform the libel laws to limit companies' ability to use sue individuals. The reform ...
  • It's not too late to write to your MP

    Robert Sharp16 April 2013
    It’s not too late to write to your MP to make sure vital new additions to the Defamation Bill are agreed today. If your MP is a back bencher please urge them to vote against any amendment removing the new clause placing restrictions on companies. This new clause does not prevent companies from suin...
  • Simon Singh writes to MPs about critical amendments to the Defamation Bill

    Robert Sharp15 April 2013
    House of Lords amendments to the Defamation Bill will be discussed in the House of Commons on Tuesday 16th April. I and the 60,000 supporters of the Libel Reform Campaign believe this is a once in a generation opportunity for legislation that protects both reputation and freedom of expression. We su...
  • Call to arms to stop threat to Defamation Bill

    Robert Sharp12 April 2013
    Friday 12th April 2013 Four days before the Defamation Bill has its final and decisive debate in the House of Commons we find ourselves writing to you about disgraceful behaviour from politicians that will put everything we’ve worked for at risk. Conservative MP and libel barrister Sir Edward Gar...
  • Libel Reform Campaign condemns attack on Defamation Bill

    Robert Sharp12 April 2013
    How can it be right that a company can claim libel damage – pursue it through expensive court proceedings and even take someone’s house to pay for it - and yet not be required to show that it actually happened? Please write to your MP, to the Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister N...
  • Transcriber libel case

    Robert Sharp11 April 2013
    As we prepare for the Defamation Bill debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 16 April, another libel case has emerged that demonstrates the urgent need for libel reform. The Libel Reform Campaign is urging its supporters to support a legal fighting fund for Lesley Kemp.Lesley is a professional ...
  • Defamation Bill returns to the House of Commons

    Robert Sharp09 April 2013
    The Prime Minister David Cameron announced 18th March 2013 that “The Defamation Bill will proceed. Its clauses relating to the Leveson report will be reversed by all three parties voting together, so it can now go through the House.” The Defamation Bill is coming back to the House of Commons on Tu...
  • Defamation Bill news: agreement reached on removing ‘Leveson clause’

    Robert Sharp18 March 2013
    There has been some important news today. An agreement has been struck to remove the ‘Leveson’ amendment to the Defamation Bill. This is welcome news. All your letters to MPs and the Prime Minister have made clear why the Defamation Bill matters, and why it must not be caught up in the debate about ...
  • Libel Reform Campaign urges Government to set date for next stage of Defamation Bill

    Robert Sharp18 March 2013
    The Libel Reform Campaign welcomes the announcement that the Government will make time for the Defamation Bill to return to the House of Commons, and now urges the Prime Minister to schedule a date. The Government had delayed bringing the bill back to the House of Commons, after peers approved cont...
  • 10 days to save libel reform

    Robert Sharp04 March 2013
    We need your urgent help this week to get the libel reform bill back to the House of Commons. There is the real risk that unless we act it will be dropped. We have all worked hard to win the case for reform – to show the chilling effects of the current law on citizens, to secure commitment from the...
  • Purpose of the Defamation Bill

    Robert Sharp20 February 2013
    At a debate on the Defamation Bill in the House of Lords on 5th February a group of Peers led by Lord Puttnam inserted an amendment into the Bill that contained some proposals on press regulation from Lord Justice Leveson's report. Tracey Brown writes in the Guardian on 8th February that the Defama...
  • Jack Straw pledges action to end libel tourism

    Robert Sharp22 November 2009
    JACK STRAW is preparing to draw up proposals for wholesale reform of England’s libel laws, after a long-running Sunday Times campaign. The justice secretary says the large legal fees involved in defamation cases in English courts are jeopardising freedom of speech, potentially curbing vital debate ...

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