Sunday, July 24, 2022

Action to stop the use of UK libel laws to muzzle legitimate free speech

This week the Justice Secretary announced reforms to crack down on corrupt elites abusing the UK legal system to silence critics, upholding freedom of speech. 

  • For too long, corrupt elites have used the threat of endless legal action to muzzle their opponents by abusing defamation and privacy law.  This problem goes back a long way - the late Robert Maxwell was showing how to abuse our libel laws to suppress the truth decades ago and it's only been possible to write this without risking bankruptcy after he committed suicide.
  • You can find some very concerning examples of the problem in Nick Cohen's book "You can't read this."
  • So I was pleased that the government has now announced a package of measures allowing courts to throw out baseless claims quicker and a cap on costs to prevent the mega-rich, such as Russian oligarchs, from using expensive litigation as a weapon to silence their critics. 
  • The government is determined to put an end to this bullying and protect the UK’s free press and will legislate at the earliest opportunity to uphold freedom of speech and defend those shining a light on corruption. 

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