Dublin usurping London’s ‘libel capital’ reputation

FourCourtsDublin is reportedly usurping London’s reputation as the libel capital of the world following the implementation of the UK’s Defamation Act 2013.

The number of defamation cases in the UK fell from 86 to 63 in 2014, the lowest level for six years, according to new research conducted by Thomson Reuters.

Damages awards in London now average in the tens of thousands while successful defamation action in Dublin usually leads to awards in the hundreds of thousands.

The Defamation Act 2013 does not apply in Belfast, meaning the drop in libel cases in London has not been matched in the Dublin-Belfast corridor.

The UK legislation sets a threshold whereby plaintiffs must demonstrate “serious harm” to their reputation to succeed. Companies who have issued proceedings under the law must show evidence of serious financial loss.

Ireland’s Defamation Act 2009, by comparison, defines a defamatory statement as one that “tends to injure a person’s reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of society”.

The Irish legislation also states that “defamation is actionable without proof of special damage”.

Harry Kinmonth, media law solicitor at London law firm RPC, told The Times: “The serious harm threshold is making claimants think hard about whether they will really be able to demonstrate the necessary harm to their reputation.”