Simon Singh wins his appeal: hurrah

The judgment of the Court of Appeal is here.   It is excellent and contains a very clear explanation of the current rules and what has happened so far.

Something I hadn’t been aware of was that the BCA chose to sue Dr Singh, but not the Guardian.  This is very unusual for the extremely practical reason that it is usually the publisher rather than the author who has the cash.  The decision to sue Simon Singh alone creates, as the C of A say, the “unhappy impression” that the BCA was trying to “silence one its critics.”  It also makes the litigation even more of a personal attack than litigation usually is.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment is about the specific meaning of Dr Singh’s article.  As they say themselves, they are not commenting on the wider issues which are the principal subject of the libel reform campaign (like the extent of the Reynolds defence).  This is simply reflective of the fact that Simon Singh’s case is not in itself an example of bad libel law.  It is just an example of a wrong decision by the judge.  This has now been put right by the Court of Appeal.

The BCA’s official reaction is here.

Rather amusingly they say they are contemplating an appeal to the Supreme Court (what the House of Lords is now called).  That is hopeless, because you can only appeal to the Supreme Court on a point of law of general public interest.  There is no such point in Dr Singh’s case.  The BCA also say they are “considering their position.”  Now that is a bit more realistic.   I imagine it will settle soon.

Hope they have to agree to pay lots of costs.  Including Dr Singh’s lawyers’ CFA fees.