After much deliberation, the Court of Appeal has plumped for the country’s top judge, Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, to preside over the preliminary appeal hearing in the Simon Singh vs British Chiropractic Association (BCA) libel case (see story).
The panel was originally formed of Lord Justice Jackson, Lord Justice Sedley and Lord Justice Richards. This then changed to the Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, Lady Justice Arden and Sedley LJ.
Now we have the highly unusual situation of the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls sitting together on a preliminary hearing.
Why the big guns? Well, Singh’s being sued over an article he wrote for the Guardian in 2008 where he criticised the view that chiropractors can cure disease by manipulating the spine.
Amid mounting pressure to reform libel laws from cross-party campaigners such as the National Campaign for Libel Reform, Singh’s case has grown in importance to highlight what critics say is wrong with the UK’s libel laws (see opinion).
Whether Judge LCJ et al will overturn Mr Justice Eady’s original ruling in Singh’s case (again, it’s unusual to overturn single judges on findings of fact) will be fascinating.
We suggest you put 23 February in your diary.
In Monday’s issue of The Lawyer: As World Cup fever grips the world we take an in-depth look at host nation South Africa in our Africa Special Report; we take a look back at the past year and ask leading lawyers for their thoughts on the highs and lows of the last decade; and what are firms doing to prepare for an expected flood of applications for training contracts?
Also on TheLawyer.com: A&O, CC and Freshfields win roles on £2bn European private equity deal; Norton Rosechief executive optimistic about the remainder of 2009-10 despite flat first half ; and Sidley Londonreceives one new partner as firm promotes 15 to partnership.