Lord Neuberger to lead appeal panel over Channel Four libel jury case

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  • This is yet another ridiculous attack on what was once considered a fundamental right under English law. How, under the circumstances of this case, can Fiddes expect to have a fair hearing when a single judge decides not only the questions of law, but also the questions of fact - any judge is bound to feel compelled by modern arguments concerning Art.10 in English law and therefore the claimant is at a prima facie disadvantage - especially given the current politically ephemeral nature of these legal principles it should be seen as obviously essential that only a jury of peers can be allowed to decide, not what a strict interpretation of law, but what actual human justice demands in this case.

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  • How can Fiddes expect to have a fair hearing? In the same way as every other claimant for a 20 day commercial dispute does - by an unbiased judge.
    The question is why, when damages will surely not be into six figures, does this warrant 20 days of Court time? A hundred k contractual dispute would be case managed into less than half that.
    Libel is too much a legal cash cow. 95% of all libel claims could be compressed into a week or less - and mostly should be on the fast track. It is obscene that costs are often ten times the damages.

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  • Ah but this is NOT a commercial contract case - it is a libel case. What is at risk is not Fiddes profit margin, it is his reputation, a part of himself, his persona and potentially his health - telling malicious or otherwise negligent mistruths about a person can be very damaging to that person for the rest of their lives and therefore Fiddes deserves to have a trial by jury, fairly constituted by his peers. The costs of these actions are not Fiddes fault and his right of access to justice which is fair, public and transparent should not be hampered by financial pragmatists who, put succinctly, can't see the woods for the trees...

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