Libel appeal won by Science writer Simon Singh

The science writer Simon Singh has won the ability to rely on the defence of fair comment in his defence of a libel action.

The Appeal Court has allowed Simon Singh's appeal against the ruling of the High court last May to the effect that Mr Singh's comments were factual and not opinion.  This meant that Mr Singh was unable to pursue the defence of fair comment in the libel action brought against him by the British Chiropractic Association regarding an article that he wrote for the Guardian which was published in April 2008.

The decision may well be seen as an important one in view of the growing concern over libel tourism with growing numbers of actions being commenced in this country with consequent problems for individual defendants.

In the article in question Mr Singh raised the question of whether there was any evidence for claims made over the treatment of certain childhood conditions.  This resulted in allegations by the British Chiropractic Association that Simon Singh had in effect accused the organisations' management of supporting bogus treatments.

Simon Singh himself has contributed to the growing debate and call for the law of defamation to be reformed in view of the very real financial and personal difficulties that can arise when faced with fighting such actions.

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