Legislation / Legal

MoJ:  Jack Straw has taken action to reduce the success fees that lawyers can charge in defamation cases from 100% to 10%.  The amendment (which was laid by Statutory Order last week) will come into effect from April 2010.  It is intended to prevent legal costs in defamation cases spiralling out of control and follows the consultation 'Controlling costs in defamation proceedings', which was published by the Ministry of Justice in January 2010.

Also published were the responses to the consultation, which indicate support for the proposal to reduce defamation success fees to 10%.  A wide range of stakeholders responded to the consultation, including legal professionals & their representative organisations, members of the judiciary, media organisations and legal insurance groups.

A consultation on libel on the internet was published in September 2009, seeking views on the multiple publication rule and time limits in defamation cases.  Responses to that consultation are now being considered.

The government has also established a working group to consider whether the law of libel, including the law relating to libel tourism, in & needs reform, and if so to make recommendations as to solutions.  The working group has already met 3 times and is expected to report its initial findings to Ministers in March 2010.

Press release ~ Jack Straw: review of civil litigation costs ~ Controlling costs in defamation proceedings - conditional fee agreements ~ Civil Litigation Costs Review ~ Civil Procedure Rules Committee

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