Saturday, 29 January 2011

Libel Court Costs are Too High, European Court Judgment Concludes

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that excessive legal fees charged by claimants’ lawyers in libel and privacy cases violate freedom of expression. The decision, entitled  MGN Ltd. v. United Kingdom  results from a lawsuit filed by Naomi Campbell, who is a familiar name on these pages, against a British tabloid, the Daily Mirror. Her lawyers operated on a 'no win, no fee' agreement. Although the English court only awarded £3,500 for publishing details and photographs of Ms. Campbell leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, it also hit the newspaper with costs of £850,000, of which £365,000 was a 'success fee'. A chamber of the  European Court of Human Rights said the 'bizarre and expensive' costs scheme breached freedom of the press, which is enshrined in article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

1 comment:

nevereven said...

Is this the ruling that was alluded to in a statement, today, from the attorney representing Christopher Jefferies in libel case against tabloids England? He said, "These newspapers have now apologised to him and paid substantial damages but they do so knowing that once the conditional fee agreement rules are changed next year victims of tabloid witch hunts will no longer have the same access to justice."