According to legal information provider Sweet & Maxwell, the number of defamation lawsuits has risen dramatically in the last two years. It also said that the increase has been led by celebrities suing the press for libel.
The latest figures by Sweet & Maxwell reveal that the number of defamation cases reported in UK courts rose from 57 in 2007/08 to 78 in 2008/09. This rise of 36 per cent was then followed by another rise of six per cent in 2009/10.
The Sweet & Maxwell study attributes the rise to a number of factors, the main one being celebrities – sports and showbusiness stars – making defamation claims against the media.
Researchers claim that the working relationships between celebrity agents, managers and the law firms who specialise in these kinds of libel cases has become much closer in the last few years. Sweet & Maxwell believe that this, along with the new digital media technologies designed to monitor mentions of celebrities and potentially defamatory material in the press, has led to the rise.
What Does This Mean For Publishing And Media Businesses?
The threat of a lawsuit is always present for modern businesses, and this is especially true for industries printing material on wealthy celebrities with the money to spend pursuing libel lawsuits. The best advice for publishing and media businesses is to take out professional indemnity insurance, which will cover the costs of fighting a libel suit.