Friday, 2 March 2012

libel laws - sue in England

I have not formulated my opinion on the English libel laws - writers I admire and tend to agree with, like Nick Cohen, whose book 'You Can't Read This Book' I am currently reading, seem to have taken the view that the English libel law is Bad because it only serves to protect Rich Men.  Well, he may have a point.  But the fact that the English libel law currently fails to protect people who are not rich (the nurse who was dubbed a poisoner, and Christopher Jefferies, who was dubbed a murderer) does not necessarily in my view mean that it should be abolished.  And I was a little perturbed that Cohen, when referring to the Roman Polanski case in which he sued in England, though he is not British (he is a French-born person of Polish parentage) for his character, wrote that Polanski's "lifestyle" (he likes women) is pertinent to any libel or defamation case, because Polanski is a "convicted sex offender" (he is) because it seems to me that such a view is wrong and possibly dangerous.  A person's lifestyle is neither here nor there, unless, for example, their frequenting of S and M clubs might lead one to believe that S and M activity used in the commission of a crime might lead the long arm of the law to suspect that person.  Being a "party girl" who does not much like her job does not lead to the belief that a person is thereby a poisoner of elderly people. Having slightly odd blue hair does not lead one to the belief that a person is a murderer.  I think the libel law debate, if debate there is, is becoming dangerously simplified.  Views?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am not unhappy with it as it stands, speaking as someone who has sued successfully on a number of occasions.

What I am extremely unhappy about is the removal of No Win No Fee.
Not being rich like Elton John - or even Nick Cohen,I would still remain a libelled person - as would Christopher without No Win No Fee. And we would remain entirely at the mercy of people like Nick Cohen who could use their columns to accuse us of whatever they pleased whenever they fancied doing so.