I wrote to Nick Clegg

You can do the same:

info@nickclegg.com,
leader@libdems.org.uk,
libdemleader@parliament.uk,
nickclegg@sheffieldhallam.org.uk,
cleggn@parliament.uk

Hi Nick,

You asked for input on laws that need removing. This is one of the prime ones.

The English libel law is the most repressive and stupid in the world and it affects everyone every day.
Now is a good time to act. All three main parties have recognised the current stupidity.
Our libel laws were designed to protect the landed gentry from the tittle tattle of their servants, as such they are incredibly difficult and expensive to defend. Nowadays they are mainly used by the nefarious to keep themselves and their activities out of the public eye. For every case that reaches court there are thousands of bullying, threatening letters sent out by London libel solicitors. The recipients of these letter usually have no option but to self censure, no matter how right they are, they simply cannot afford to defend their position.

How this affects everyone.

1) The internet does not tell you the truth. Large chunks are censored and thus removed by the solicitors. Often they just write and threaten the hosting company, so stuff is removed without the author’s say so. The people who hide behind this are the people with the most to hide. People that you really should be allowed to know about. This censorship is for the whole world, the English libel lawyers are taking away the fundamental human rights of everyone on earth.

2) Science is now fought out using libel law. If a person or group of people can make a lot of money hiding behind what they say is science then they often act against anyone who criticises that science. Homeopathy and Chiropractors are just two examples of this.

3) You cannot say anything critical of any policeman, no matter how bent or corrupt they are. Even if they just do their job badly you are not allowed to say so. The Police Federation act against every single criticism of a policeman. They send out lots of letters and are very happy to go to court. Several times they have lost over a million pounds in these actions, but still they do it. So every editor in the country is frightened of publishing the truth. The result of this is that bad policemen are protected, the public have no insight into what is really going on. So we end up with far worse policing.

Here are some useful changes that could be made:

1) Currently if you are accused of libel you are guilty till you prove yourself innocent. This is against natural justice and is onerous and expensive to defend. This should be changed to the accuser having to prove that they were libelled.

2) We need a free speech act, like most other countries have, that enshrines our rights to free speech.

3) Companies or other organisations should not be allowed to claim for libel or finance anyone claiming for libel. Only individuals should be allowed to claim and the no win no fee system will fund valid claims.

4) The initial forum for hearing libel complaints should be low cost tribunals. It is ridiculous using the immense cost of the High Court because somebody objects to what someone else has said.

5) The test for jurisdiction of the English legal system as a suitable venue for an action should be much stricter. Currently we are the libel tourism destination of choice which makes us the laughing stock of the world.

All our rights and freedoms are based on free speech. And we don’t have free speech because of repressive libel laws that are abused on a massive scale.

regards,

Bruce Everiss

13 comments ↓

#1 Lewis (RMT Merchant) on 05.22.10 at 6:53 am

It appears your eyes have still not quite opened.

A shame. Good luck in your life.

#2 D on 05.22.10 at 7:25 am

Very nice Bruce. I hope something is done about this set of laws.

D

#3 Stephen on 05.22.10 at 5:07 pm

Lewis. Please shut up.

#4 roger on 05.26.10 at 2:29 pm

Lewis, care to explain what you mean?

Guess its easy to critic a critic…

#5 Gary on 05.26.10 at 8:55 pm

Lewis, it seems like a threat!! can you elaborate ?

#6 Stephen on 05.27.10 at 10:02 pm

Ahh, he cant shut up about trying to get Bruce to join his business or something.

#7 xar on 06.08.10 at 1:48 am

Hi Bruce,

Love your blog and have followed the evony saga with interest. I’m disappointed, however, to see evony two ads on your blog. Is there still no way you can block them?

#8 Stephen on 06.09.10 at 5:33 am

Though possible to block them, it does not work well as evony has decided that it is in everyones best intrest to create several websites all the exact same to bypass an addblocker.

#9 MadQ on 06.16.10 at 10:57 pm

@ Lewis….hmm RMT Merchant? Would that stand for Regan Mercantile?

#10 Steve A on 06.23.10 at 3:03 am

That Free Speech Act in the US Congress is getting pushed forward a bit, or at least promoted. (PS If England is not happy bout the World Cup, at least you are not as bad off as the French!)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100622/pl_afp/uspoliticsmediaindustrynewspapersrights;_ylt=AmU8WRawqaieappdscT_SrK9F4l4;_ylu=X3oDMTN0Y243MjRjBGFzc2V0A2FmcC8yMDEwMDYyMi91c3BvbGl0aWNzbWVkaWFpbmR1c3RyeW5ld3NwYXBlcnNyaWdodHMEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwM3BHBvcwM3BHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDdXNsYXdtYWtlcnN0

#11 hmmm ? on 06.23.10 at 1:17 pm

oh yeah ? what competitions did they win in last 20 years ? :P

#12 Ainarand on 06.29.10 at 5:18 pm

Some great points and it would be nice to think he will listen. Whatever happens, good for you for at least trying.

Free speech in the UK? Perish the thought! :)

#13 Steve A on 07.12.10 at 9:11 pm

Got this email today > Something good might actually happen! :-D

Here it is:

Dear Friends

You called for a Libel Reform Bill – and the Government has listened.

On Friday, Justice Minister Lord McNally said the Government has listened to the 52,000 supporters of the Libel Reform Campaign and has made a “firm commitment to action” to protect freedom of speech and the public interest with a bill to be published in the New Year. The Bill will be the first attempt from a Government in more than a century to undertake fundamental reform of our libel laws.
It’s an incredible success for our campaign – and it’s thanks to your support.
The announcement was made during the second reading debate of Lord Lester’s Private Members Defamation Bill. You can watch the debate as it happened here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=6412 and there is a round up of coverage and reaction to the news here: http://www.libelreform.org/news/465-9th-july-2010-government-announces-libel-reform-bill
But we don’t know how radical the Government’s bill will be, and we don’t know whether it will ensure that writers like Simon Singh, NGOs like Global Witness, or medical professionals like Dr Peter Wilmshurst won’t face libel actions in the future. That’s why we need your continued support.
Many of you have been emailing and Tweeting about this already – please do continue to spread the word. Over the next three months we need to double the signatories to our petition so new MPs know how important this issue is. We have a lot of work to do together to make sure the Government brings forward a bill that really will make the law fairer and give greater protection to free speech. Bloggers, science writers, NGOs and small publications still face threats and bankruptcy under the current laws, as illustrated by two bloggers, Alex Hilton and John Gray, who are at the High Court in London today fighting to have a libel case against them thrown out. You can follow the case here http://www.jackofkent.blogspot.com.
Best
Sile and Mike
http://www.libelreform.org

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