Tuesday 24 February 2009

Government proposals on capping libel costs

At long last the Government is trying to do something about the huge costs of libel cases faced by the media in the UK.
New proposals to control costs in defamation proceedings were announced by Justice Minister Bridget Prentice today.
Measures under consideration are:
• limiting recoverable hourly rates by setting either maximum or fixed recoverable rates
• mandatory cost capping or mandatory consideration of cost capping in every case
• requiring the proportionality of total costs to be considered on cost assessments conducted by the court.
Prentice said: "Excessive costs and their threat may force defendants to settle unwarranted claims. The aim of these proposals is to bring more effective cost control to litigation in defamation proceedings and to ensure that costs in this area are more proportionate and reasonable.
"We need to ensure that people's right to freedom of expression is not infringed, and media organisations continue to report on matters of public concern. I urge all those affected to comment on the proposals.'"
She said the consultation is aimed at, in particular, legal representatives who conduct litigation in the area of defamation, media organisations, insurers and those in England and Wales with an interest in, or views on, the proposals.

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