Libel actions will be "improved and simplified" by Lord Mackay's Defamation Bill, introduced into the House of Lords last week. Improvements in the Defamation Bill include a new summary procedure, allowing judges to dispose quickly of simpler and less serious claims and avoid the need for a trial. Judges will be able to make awards of up to £10,000, while also dismissing weak claims. A new defence of 'offer of amends' will allow defendants to curtail proceedings by making an offer of damages to be assessed by a judge. The time limit for litigation will be cut from three years to one. The 'innocent dissemination' defence is also modernised to include hi-tech advances in communications. Separately, Lord Mackay also introduced his Damages Bill, implementing recommendations from the Law Commission's Structured Settlements report.