Protecting the “Responsible” Journalist? Investigative Reporting and the English Judiciary

Richard Caddell (Swansea University, UK)

In 2001, the House of Lords revolutionised the law of defamation in the seminal case of Reynolds v. Times Newspapers, where a defence to a libel action was established in respect of “responsible” journalism conducted in the public interest. Defamation law in the UK has long been notorious for its limited protection for investigative reporting, with London historically viewed as the “libel capital of the world” due to the difficulties faced by media defendants. The Reynolds defence has, for the first time in modern media law, adjusted the balance of power in favour of the defendant and has sought to thaw the “chilling effect” upon investigative journalism traditionally invoked by a libel writ. This paper will provide a critical overview and appraisal of the Reynolds defence – with a non-legal audience specifically in mind – and will demonstrate that despite the crusading intentions of the House of Lords, the subsequent Reynolds cases have demonstrated that the English judiciary has not proved as media-friendly as had initially been hoped.

Timing - Friday - Panel Session C2



Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License