Authors call on party leaders to save libel reform
Open letter from writers including Stephen Fry says defamation bill is in danger of being killed off by Leveson row
The Guardian, Wednesday 6 March 2013 18.00 GMT
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Stephen Fry, one of the writers who signed the letter along with Salman Rushdie, Julian Barnes, David Hare, Ali Smith and others. Photograph: Gavin Rodgers/Rex Features
Some of the Britain’s most acclaimed authors and playwrights including Stephen Fry, Sir Tom Stoppard, William Boyd, Margaret Drabble, Ian McEwan and Sir Salman Rushdie have called on the main party leaders to honour their pledge and implement a defamation bill aimed at transforming 170-year-old laws they say ha
via Authors call on party leaders to save libel reform | Law | The Guardian.
10 days to save libel reform
We need your urgent help this week to get the libel reform bill back to the House of Commons. There is the real risk that unless we act it will be dropped.
We have all worked hard to win the case for reform – to show the chilling effects of the current law on citizens, to secure commitment from the three main parties and to get a bill that ends bullying and protects the public interest. We did all of this and politicians rose above the fray to work together on it.
But it is now threatened. As you may have read over the past week, the bill has been hijacked by a small group of peers who have inserted amendments to introduce press regulation proposals from the Leveson debate ‘by the back door’. The bill needs to go back before the Commons in the next two weeks, but the Government has not tabled it. It has to do so, because if the bill does not complete its passage before the parliamentary session ends in late April or early May it will be lost.
via 10 days to save libel reform.
POLICE, BAILIFFS AND BULLYING
On the 25th January, Justice Minister Helen Grant announced a proposed package of measures to ‘clean up the bailiff industry’, writes Kate Briscoe.
Kate Briscoe founded the www.legalbeagles.info consumer website in 2007. It specialises in banking and finance disputes and gained a reputation for detailed analysis of major legal developments, such as the OFT test case on bank charges, the PPI Judicial Review. Kate is also a fee earner for Watsons Solicitors specialising in consumer and finance litigation.
This was in accordance with coalition promises and the headlines claimed the new rules anticipated to come into force in April 2014 would include:
‘Bailiffs will be banned from entering homes when only children are present and at night and new safeguards will prevent them from using force against people who owe money. They will also no longer have free reign to fix their own fees, as new set costs are brought in.’
But some of these ‘reforms’ are not really that new, they are merely legislating the existing status quo. The bailiff industry does not currently operate at night and does not enforce levies when only children are present. In the Ministry of Justice consultation response, the core issues identified that need genuine change and robust legislation are:
via The Justice Gap » Blog Archive » Police, bailiffs and bullying.
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Leveson calls for genuinely independent regulation of the press backed up by statute.
‘’RLP has tested these principles by successfully taking wrongdoers to court on behalf of our clients to create precedent test cases and recover compensation’’, proudly boasts Retail Loss Prevention (RLP) on its website.
In March 2011, during a Westminster Hall debate initiated by Simon Hughes MP, the then Minister for the Ministry of Justice, Jonathan Djanogly, noted that his officials could not find “any cases in which the issue [of the recoverability of the sums demanded by RLP] has been tested before the courts and a definitive judgment given … a test case might be a good idea“.
Two weeks later in an article in Retail Fraud, RLP managing director Jackie Lambert duly obliged, “We are pleased to advise that we have two of the CAB [Citizens Advice Bureau] cases at present going through the court system, which should hopefully address the testing issue (albeit not set case law)“. And Retail Fraud themselves noted that ‘’Clarity cannot come soon enough for many retailers who use civil recovery as a means of retrieving value from theft…’’.