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UK libel cases fall after change to law

The number of defamation cases in the UK fell by nearly 30 per cent last year following changes to the law.

According to Thomson Reuters research published by the Sunday Times, the number of reported defamation cases in the UK fell in the past year from 86 to 63, the lowest level for six years.

The one area of exception was social media-related defamation cases which rose to 11 last year, up from eight in 2013-14.

Legal analysts put the drop in libel cases down to the Defamation Act 2013 which requires claimants to demonstrate actual or probable “serious harm” caused by a written or spoken statement. Previously they only had to show that the statement was "false and defamatory".