More defamation claims were lodged at the High Court in London last year that any time since 1998, according to figures released by a top London law firm.
According to Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, some 298 High Court defamation writs were issued in London in 2009, up 15 per cent from 259 in 2008.
Jaron Lewis, media partner at RPC, said: “This is the third year in a row where the number of claims has increased, firmly putting to bed the notion that libel law is not a serious challenge for the media. There are now nearly 50 per cent more libel claims each year than there were three years ago.”
According to RPC, High Court claims are at their highest number since new court rules aiming to reduce the risk of costly disputes were introduced in 1999, known as the Woolf reforms. The number of cases reaching trial has ramained constant.