Abolition of Seditious Libel and Criminal Defamation

English PEN worked with Index on Censorship and Lord Anthony Lester of Herne Hill QC on a Campaign to abolish the dead-letter laws of seditious libel and criminal defamation.

You can read the briefing we produced for the campaign here.  The laws were abolished as part of the Coroners & Justice Act 2009, specifically in Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 73:

Abolition of common law libel offences etc

The following offences under the common law of England and Wales and the common law of Northern Ireland are abolished—

(a) the offences of sedition and seditious libel;
(b) the offence of defamatory libel;
(c) the offence of obscene libel.

The campaign followed a PEN International focus on Defamation and Insult in 2006 and 2007.  You can read Writers in Prison Committee reports on defamation and insult legislation in Africa, Europe, Mexico and Turkey on the PEN International website.

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