On 31 January 2002, the Lord Chancellor’s Department asked the Law Commission to undertake a scoping study into perceived abuses of defamation procedure. In particular the Lord Chancellor’s Department was concerned to find out, first, whether “gagging” writs and letters cause a problem in practice, and secondly, whether claimants routinely target those secondary publishers of a
defamatory publication who are less able to establish a defence (so-called “tactical targeting”).
The purpose of this scoping study was to determine, by consulting organisations affected by this area of the law and defamation practitioners, whether any problems exist and, if so, their nature and extent.
We published our scoping report on 29 May 2002.