Saturday, 28 July 2012

Carmarthenshire Council - a brief mention in Private Eye

As I have reported, Carmarthenshire Council's latest escapades into the sordid world of press censorship and blackmail have brought them back in the spotlight again over recent days.
I also noticed another brief mention of our Council, in passing, in this week's edition of Private Eye.
Here it is;

"Alarming news from the libel courts, where a university is being allowed to bring a claim against a sacked lecturer over the contents of his blog - despite a long standing rule that public bodies cannot sue for defamation.
The principle that public bodies must take criticism on the chin was laid down in 1993 by Lord Keith in Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers, in which he dismissed the authority's attempts to use public funds to sue for defamation. While councils such as South Tyneside and Carmarthenshire may have appeared forgetful on this point (Eyes passim), the parliamentary bill committee working on libel reform has discussed making the 'Derbyshire principle' statutory.
However, the University of Salford is trying to sue former staff member Gary Duke over allegedly defamatory comments, posted online which criticised the university, it's vice-chancellor and registrar. An interim decision by Mr Justice Hickinbottom in the Royal Courts of Justice says the district court acted properly in allowing the university's claim to stand. Unless the parties settle, the case will now go to the high court for judges to decide on the vital Derbyshire principle."

1 comment:

Cneifiwr said...

If they do get round to legislating, let's hope they also stop the practice of suing for libel by proxy (i.e. paying the court costs of senior officers, councillors, etc.) as a way of getting round incovenient legal restrictions.