(This article was co-written by Olivia Biggin, a paralegal in the Media Team)
When the Defamation Act was first introduced in 2013, it was feared that this could lead to a reduction in the number of claims brought. However, the 2018 Judicial Statistics show, quite conversely, that defamation claims are very much alive and kicking. Published on 6 June 2019, figures found in the Royal Courts of Justice Tables (see Table 3.20), show a substantial increase in the number of defamation claims issued in 2018. In 2017 there were 156 defamation claims issued in London and in 2018 this number increased to 265, marking a 70% increase in defamation claims being issued in one year.
Indeed this is the second year in a row that there has been an increase in the number of defamation claims being issued in London, as claims in 2017 were up by 28% in 2016. This is perhaps due to the fact that case law in defamation claims is ever evolving, and is largely fact specific. It is certainly encouraging to see that the introduction of the Defamation Act does not appear to have dissuaded Claimants from seeking to vindicate their reputation through the Court process. It is highly likely that privacy law and Data Protection claims are likewise thriving.