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Alternative Libel Project Final March 2012

Alternative Libel Project Final March 2012

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Published by: IndexOnCensorship on Mar 16, 2012
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12/04/2012

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A FINAL REPORT ON THE PROBLEMS CREATED BY DEFAMATIONPROCEDURE WITH RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGEMARCH 2012
 
CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYFOREWORDINTRODUCTIONTHE PROBLEMTHE PROPOSED SOLUTIONBIBLIOGRAPHYAPPENDICES
1. People who have assisted inthe course of the project2. The Alternative Libel Project3. Analysis of potential modelsfor defamation actions4. Notes to editors
123582223242532
 
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Alternative Libel Project demonstrates thatthere are alternative methods of dispute resolutionwhich can help parties resolve disputes in atimely, cost-effective and fair manner. Alongsidestrong encouragement to promote their use,there needs to be reform of the court processby which a claim for defamation can be made ordefended.
Defamation cases could be resolved early and at lower cost if parties used alternativemethods of dispute resolution (ADR):
 
•
Mediation has a success rate of more than90 per cent in libel actions. It enablesparties to establish the merits of their case
inanefcientandeffectivemanner,whilst
exploring practical solutions available
•
 Arbitration can succeed in resolving keyissues early. Parties obtain a bindingdecision from an experienced lawyer orretired judge on key issues, resolving themost contentious issues and enabling theparties to settle the case
•
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) has a highsuccess rate in family law and in theTechnology and Construction Court.It allows judges to give an opinion on themerits of a case on the basis of a shortand straightforward hearing. It permitsboth parties to argue their case and givesthem an early and frank assessment oftheir chances which may assist partiesin settling the case
The government must promote the routine useof ADR as well as ensuring the court processis accessible and the court takes actionto redress any inequality of arms betweenthe parties. To do this we recommend thegovernment:
•
 Amends the Pre-Action Protocol toencourage ADR
•
Requires courts to make orders that partiesconsider using ADR and, if they think it
isunsuitable,leawitnessstatement
explaining why. The parties’ approach to ADR and those witness statements mustthen be considered in making awards ofcosts: parties who refuse to use ADRunreasonably should be penalised
•
 Allows judges to carry out ENE
•
Creates a presumption that a judge invitesparties to ENE unless the parties haveattempted to mediate or have narrowedthe issues through arbitration, or it appearsto the judge that one party is trying to use
itsnancialweighttobullyanotherinthe
course of the case
•
Introduces an independent hearingon meaning
•
Requires judges to be more robust inmanaging cases that come before them
•
Makes costs rules which allow judgesto redress an inequality of arms betweenthe parties
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