Victory for science writer in chiropractic libel claim
Following Simon Singh’s successful result in the Court of Appeal, the British Chiropractic Association has withdrawn its libel claim against him.
In April 2008, the Guardian published in its Comment and Debate section an article by Dr Singh criticising the BCA for website claims that its members could help treat certain childhood disorders. Singh wrote that they made these claims “even though there is not a jot of evidence”, adding that the company “is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments”. The BCA sued Dr Singh but not the Guardian.
In May 2009, Mr Justice Eady ruled at the hearing of a preliminary issue that the words were statements of fact not comment and that their objective truth must be proved by Dr Singh. His decision became the focus of a public and press campaign to free scientific debate from the rigours of the libel laws.
On 1 April, the Court of Appeal, presided over by the Lord Chief Justice, sitting with the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, and Lord Justice Sedley, reversed the Judge’s finding and held that the words were ‘honest opinion’.
The case was brought to a final close yesterday, 14 April 2010, when the BCA served Notice of Discontinuance of the claim on Dr Singh’s solicitors.