Judicial Statistics: 2014, Defamation claims increase by 60%, the highest number since 2009

9 06 2015

ministry-of-justiceThe most recent annual Judicial Statistics – those for 2014 – show a substantial increase in the number of issued defamation claims, up by 60% on 2013.  In 2014 there were 227 issued defamation claims in London (where the large majority of claims are made) – as opposed to 142 in 2013.  This is the highest annual figure since 2009.

The reason for this large increase in the number of claims is unclear and contradicts the views of many commentators that the Defamation Act 2013 (which came into force on 1 January 2014) would lead to a further decline in the number of defamation claims.  It remains to be seen whether the 2014 figures are a “blip” in an otherwise continuing downward trend or is the beginning of a revival in libel litigation.

The Ministry of Justice no longer publishes a separate annual “Judicial Statistics” bulletin but the figures can be found in the Court Statistics Quarterly: Jan-Mar – published each year in June.  The detailed breakdown which shows the number of defamation claims appears in what are now (curiously) described as the “Appellate Courts Tables” – the 2014 tables are here [xls]

There is no separate record of the number of privacy and other claims against the media – they are, presumably included in the 754 “miscellaneous” claims issued.  The Ministry of Justice does now publish statistics on privacy injunctions which now form part of the Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly and are published every 6 months.  The most recent, October-December 2014 edition says that during 2014 there was one application for a new interim privacy injunctions.  As the 5RB website pointed out at the time this seems to be an underestimate as there were a number of cases in 2014 in which injunctions were granted to prevent publication of information.

More details of libel claims can be found in this table of defamation (and other) claims since 1992 – adapted from a table which was originally provided to us by media solicitors RPC.

Year Claims issued in London (QB) Defamation Claims Issued in London % of all London (QB) Claims issued £15-50k £>50k No value stated
2014 5,417 227 4.00 52 119 56
2013 5,186 142 3.00 37 56 49
2012 5,549 186 3.00 65 60 61
2011 4,726 165 3.49 28 61 76
2010 4,864 158 3.24 27 47 84
2009 5,694 298 5.23 52 62 184
2008 5,173 259 5.00 43 77 139
2007 4,794 233 4.86 43 45 145
2006 4,246 213 5.02 24 39 150
2005 3,841 252 6.56 43 70 139
2004 4,292 267 6.22 30 31 206
2003 3,514 190 5.41 22 15 153
2002 4,394 128 2.91 1 1 126
2001 5,122 220 4.30
2000 5,599 241 4.3
1999 10,317 236 2.29
1998 21,684 379 1.75
1997 23,411 452 1.93
1996 29,834 201 0.67
1995 31,737 560 1.76
1994 37,450 418 1.12
1993 56,567 336 0.59
1992 83,852 337 0.4

 

 


Actions

Information

4 responses

14 06 2015
Root

One might infer that the number of defamation actions launched as a result of online publication is increasing quite sharply. It is at least in my submission a workable hypothesis.

14 06 2015
Root

Incidentally the supposition by commentators that the Defamation Act would lead to a reduction in claims appears to be based on an assumption that many new claims would not past the new threshold and definition of defamatory as causing serious harm. There is no evidence that those cases appeared historically in any statistically significant numbers in any event. The Act is a shockingly casually drafted piece of legislation in that respect which has added a burden to the claimant which has in effect served very little practical purpose save for a hugely welcome boost in lawyers fees (welcome to lawyers that is !).

22 07 2015
Are reports of defamation’s death greatly exaggerated? | LSE Media Policy Project

[…] marked spike in defamation claims for 2014 seems to have surprised some people, given recent developments around defamation law and […]

2 03 2016
Are reports of defamation’s death greatly exaggerated? – Gazette of Law & Journalism

[…] marked spike in defamation claims for 2014 seems to have surprised some people, given recent developments around defamation law and […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: