Martin Bright

What Should We Do About Carter-Ruck?

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I am delighted to add my voice to those congratulating The Guardian's David Leigh and parliament's Paul Farrelly MP for fighting off lawyers Carter-Ruck over their absurd but spine-chilling injunction over the reporting of the activities of Trafigura in Ivory Coast. 

For once the over-used phrase "a great day for freedom of speech" actually means something.

Perhaps now the British journalistic community will take heart and stand up to this firm of lawyers that specialises in closing down discussion of the ultra-rich and downright disreputable. It is difficult to imagine an episode more damaging for the reputation of this firm. Hurray. 

However, let's take a step back here. The journalistic profession had become so cowed and the libel laws of this country so abused that Carter-Ruck seriously believed it could close down legitimate debate in parliament itself. What's more, for several hours they actually succeeded.

This is beyond arrogance. 

Paul Farrelly served on the select committee that investigated our disgraceful libel laws in the last session of parliament. I only hope his work, that of the committee and the lessons drawn from this disgraceful episode lead to genuine reform.