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October 14, 2009

Science writer gets leave to appeal

Category: News

Court of Appeal allows Simon Singh to challenge meaning and comment ruling


The science writer Simon Singh today successfully overturned the earlier refusal by the Court of Appeal to grant permission to appeal in relation to a ruling on meaning and comment in the libel action brought against him by the British Chiropractic Association.

In his judgment at the oral hearing of Mr Singh’s renewed application to appeal, Laws LJ said that Mr Singh had raised a number of arguable points as to why the decision of the Judge had been wrong and that he was entitled to have these argued at a full appeal hearing.

The Judge, Mr Justice Eady, had ruled that a reference to the British Chiropractic Association in an article by Mr Singh meant that the Association, one of the bodies which represents the interests of chiropractors in the UK, knowingly promoted treatments that were bogus and ineffective. The Judge went on to rule that this was an assertion of fact rather an expression of opinion so that Mr Singh would not be permitted to defend his words as fair comment. He refused Mr Singh leave to appeal and this refusal was later upheld by a single Judge of the Court of Appeal.

Mr Singh’s appeal has attracted a great deal of attention in the scientific community and elsewhere. No date has been given for the full appeal but it is likely to take place within the next 6 months.

5RB‘s Adrienne Page QC (instructed by Bryan Cave LLP) represented Mr Singh.