Defamation actions on the increase

Claims rise by 11% in 2008

The number of defamation claims issued in the High Court rose by 11% during 2008 according to a review published by city law firm, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.

The analysis of the latest Judicial Statistics reveals that 259 High Court defamation claims were issued in 2008, compared to 233 in 2007 and 213 in 2006.

Although media reports have leapt to the conclusion that this must be due to an increase in ‘libel tourism’, there does not appear to be any evidence of that. In fact, the increase is most readily explicable by the fact that one individual (a UK citizen) issued 25 libel claims in 2008 (having issued around half that number in 2007).