Libel law “is tilted against the media” but there is momentum for improvement, Lord Steyn said when delivering the 3rd annual Boydell Lecture.
Lord Steyn said British newspapers often “give up and settle when one would not expect them to do so”. The reasons were “centuries old strict liability in defamation law” and the impact of “libel tourism” which saw the UK as the forum of choice. He said that super-injunctions should “never, or virtually never” be granted, and there was no need for specialist libel judges. However, there is now “considerable momentum” among the senior judiciary for libel reform. He praised the ruling in British Chiropractic Association v Singh where the Court of Appeal recommended the threshold of “honest opinion”.