Last year, Lord Lester introduced his defamation reform bill into the House of Lords, following months of public and media pressure and a high-profile libel reform campaign led by Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense About Science.
But what do legal practitioners and theorists think about the bill? Are there other changes to English libel law that could be made? What are the implications of Lord Lester's suggestions? Not everyone agrees about the shape that libel reform should take.
On Thursday 4 November 2010, leading lawyers, campaigners and academics gathered at City University London to discuss the bill in detail, with a view to influencing the Government's own white paper, due to be published in 2011.
Contributors to the Reframing Libel Symposium addressed issues such as cost, length of time to go to trial and how to improve the experience of the person being sued. The effect of the law on scientific and medical research was also debated, as well as the challenges facing bloggers.
The following video captures are a selection of the sessions recorded during the day:
Science and Libel
Question & Answer Session
Question and Answer Session 2
The event, organised by Connie St Louis of the Department of Journalism, on behalf of the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism (CLJJ) at City University London, featured speakers including Carter Ruck partners Magnus Boyd and Andrew Stephenson; Claire de Than, City University London; Gavin Sutter, Queen Mary University; Tracey Brown, Sense About Science; Dominic Crossley, Collyer Bristow; Robert Dougans, Bryan Cave; Professor Roy Greenslade, City University London; Razi Mireskandari, Simons, Muirhead and Burton; Professor Alastair Mullis, University of East Anglia; Dr Andrew Scott, London School of Economics; Hugh Tomlinson QC; and libel defendant Dr Peter Wilmshurst. An afternoon panel featured the event chairpersons: Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC; Dr Evan Harris, former Liberal Democrat MP and libel reform campaigner; blogger and lawyer David Allen Green; Dr Andrew Scott; and Padraig Reidy from Index on Censorship.