The libel laws in England and Wales are set to be overhauled with the Defamation Bill receiving Royal Assent on 25th April 2013.
Under the Defamation Act 2013, which will come into force later this year, businesses can only make a defamation claim if they suffer, or are likely to suffer, “serious financial losses”.
If authors can show that “the imputation conveyed by the statement complained of is substantially true” or was an honest opinion, then they will avoid liability. This will provide greater protection for scientists and academics publishing in peer-reviewed journals, as well as those publishing material which they reasonably believe is in the public interest.
Claims which involve those with little connection to England and Wales will be subject to a tighter test before they can be brought before the courts.
There will also be new rules governing how website operators respond to defamation claims resulting from online statements.
At Palmers, our litigation team has a wealth of experience in protecting your interests and will work with you to consider your commercial objectives and advise on the best achievable outcome.