Defamation bill

A major shake-up the UK's libel laws has been announced by the government.

The defamation bill, published yesterday, would protect the ability to express an 'honest opinion' and require claimants to demonstrate substantial harm before they can sue.

The bill is intended to protect freedom of speech, following growing concerns among all three major political parties that current libel laws are damaging the academic and scientific debate in the country.

The bill proposes a 'single publication rule' to limit the number of libel cases every time a publication is accessed on the internet.

The government also hopes to limit 'libel tourism', which has seen foreign cases being brought to British courts in recent years.

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