Libel law reforms due this month

Newspapers will be able to avoid expensive defamation trials by making an offer of amends, involving a published apology and an appropriate costs./ damages settlement.

If the offer is refused, papers can use the offer as a defence when a case goes ahead, and to use to argue for a lower damages pay out.

Judges will be allowed to dispose of cases without the expense of a jury if there is no real prospect of success, or no defence to the claim. They may also award up to £10,000 in damages and order a defendant to publish a summary of the judgment