In “Reframing Libel: Taking (All) Rights Seriously and Where It Leads”, LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 20/2010, Alastair Mullis and Andrew Scott (London School of Economics – Law Department) return to first principles and re-evaluate the purposes, substance and processes of libel law. The abstract reads in part:
“…Our thinking has been informed by, first, philosophical understandings of democracy and the public sphere and in particular the role of freedom of speech and of the media therein, and secondly, the social psychology of reputation and privacy. By doing so, we are able to ground some of the proposals for reform made previously by Index on Censorship, English PEN, Lord Lester, and others. We do so, however, not through the prism of an over-weaned emphasis on freedom of expression, but rather by triangulating the rights and interests of claimants, defendants, and the wider public. Ultimately, we recommend a coherent set of significant substantive and procedural reforms that if enacted would enhance access to justice and reduce costs for all but the most serious and/or most damaging libels. This involves the recommendation of the introduction of a two-track libel regime.”
The paper is available on SSRN for free download here.