Agog at the gag

A growing group of campaigners are demanding an overhaul of England’s libel laws to make them less favourable to claimants and to promote free speech. But is it really a battle worth fighting?

When Peter Carter-Ruck, Britain’s most famous libel lawyer, died in 2003, it was as if an era had ended. He "had a chilling effect on the media”, David Hooper, a former partner in his firm, wrote in The Guardian. "He was a chancer, out for the maximum fee. And he did for freedom of speech what the Boston Strangler did for door-to-door salesmen.”

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