Stifling debate: libel laws and the price of free speech

English libel law, and the use of ‘super-injunctions’, are becoming a global disgrace, with a profoundly negative impact on freedom of expression, both in the UK and abroad. Human rights campaigners are often forced to edit and retract articles in the face of potential libel action. Robert Dougans acted for the science writer Simon Singh in the libel case brought against him by the British Chiropractic Association. In a landmark ruling from the Court of Appeal, England’s most senior judges held that Singh had the right to use the defence of “fair comment”, which they renamed “honest opinion”. After the ruling, the chiropractic association dropped the case and Robert won Assistant Solicitor of the Year for his conduct of the case. David Allen Green is a lawyer and writer living in London. His blog Jack of Kent became well-known for its detailed and accessible coverage of the Simon Singh case.

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