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election halts defamation success fee reforms

22 April 2010

In March this year, Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced that there would be a 90% reduction in the recoverability of success fees in relation to defamation claims. The plans were also in line with the recommendations laid out by Lord Justice Jackson in his report published back in January. 

Publishers welcomed the move but the oncoming election has led to the reforms being derailed. A number of MPs have also openly opposed the reforms because the proposals would not adequately protect the “little guy” who sues the publisher. Does this mean these same MPs disagree with the conclusions and recommendations of the Jackson report? It is only a matter of time before defendants are given greater protection against liability to pay success fees and after-the-event insurance premiums in defamation cases, and publishers will feel that not passing this legislation is an opportunity missed.

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