The Stormont Committee for finance and personnel has been told that reform of the antiquated libel laws is unnecessary by a high-profile libel lawyer reported the Belfast Telegraph.
The Defamation Act has been implemented into England and Wales (April 25 2013) to stop the UK becoming a hotspot for libel 'tourists', removing the presumption in favour of a trial by jury in defamation cases. Libel lawyer Paul Tweed expressed his opposition to the introduction of the new law into Northern Ireland, saying it was not required.
The Belfast Telegraph continued:
Another lawyer, Brian Garrett, said he did not favour rubber-stamping all Westminster legislation, but there were areas where it should apply and defamation was one of those.
Sinn Fein's Daithi McKay said he was open to the question of whether or not there should be a presumption for trial by jury, and to the possibility of a no-win, no-fee arrangement in defamation cases.A final note from myself that recently came to me: the conditioning of journalism by power is a real and ongoing problem. It’s something Orwell absolutely understood in his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language. So we need to be very wary.
Read the full Belfast Telegraph article, published June 27 2013 here.