A&L Goodbody lobbied government on defamation reform

A&L Goodbody lobbied government on defamation reform

Kenan Furlong

A&L Goodbody has directly lobbied government ministers for the removal of juries from defamation cases, according to reports.

The firm wrote to Justice Minister Helen McEntee following her appointment earlier this year to argue for urgent reform of the Defamation Act 2009, The Irish Times reports.

Dispute resolution partner Kenan Furlong told the paper: “In my view, the most pressing and effective reform of our defamation system would be to remove juries.

“There is a growing evidence that juries award disproportionate damages in defamation cases. These excessive awards in turn cause settlement inflation. Jury trials also take much longer than other hearings, inflating costs and thereby further inflating settlements.”

He added: “There is no evidence to suggest that the role performed by juries could not be performed as, if not more, effectively and efficiently by a judge, particularly a specialist judge familiar with the many internet-based communications platforms.

“Let judges vindicate the rights of those who have been defamed. Let the media have the right to report freely on public interest stories uninhibited by the spectre of a jury trial.”

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