Belfast and Dublin to be new centres for libel after Act in England and Wales
It’s all very well for the new Defamation Act to be enforced in England and Wales with its new stronger defences. But libel is always a race to the bottom: where can the claimant/plaintiff sue and have a higher chance of winning? The answer now is in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
The Northern Ireland Executive has decided not to implement the new Act in Ulster. And the Irish government has shown little interest in changing its law on libel which is like the old law in the UK.
The focus for libel tourism will therefore shift to Belfast and Dublin.
The implications for all publishers are:
- Don’t just rely on the new Act but realise that your material is published in Ulster and the Republic as well;
- Keep your guard up on libel because the old provisions which have been abolished in England and Wales are still operating throughout Ireland, north and south.
I explain the highlights of the news act in my post: Libel: out with the old and in the new in Defamation Act 2103