Judge Judge Judges Judgement

Today, 23 Feb 2010, a high court judge named Lord Judge has just judged the meanings of some terms used in a previous judgement in a lower court, during a pre-trial hearing.

Today is a day of hope for Simon Singh, for opponents of stupid laws, for champions of free speech and lovers of language.

Rt Hon The Lord Judge, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales has made some comments in the pre-trial hearing which give cause for hope to supporters of Simon Singh in his fight against stupid laws and worse science.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, was presiding at a pre-trial appeal on meaning in the case of BCA v Singh.
Judge ‘baffled’ by Simon Singh chiropractic case

The Lord Chief Justice expressed surprise today at the BCA’s libel suit against Simon Singh. Padraig Reidy reports

England’s most senior judge today said he was “baffled” by the British Chiropractic Association’s (BCA) defamation suit against science writer Simon Singh.

Presiding at the appeal court in London today in a pre-trial hearing on the meaning of words in a 2008 article by Singh criticising chiropractic treatments, Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said he was “troubled” by the “artificiality” of the case.

“The opportunities to put this right have not been taken,” Lord Judge said.

[judge Judge] went on to criticise the BCA’s reluctance to publish evidence to back up claims that chiropractic treatments could treat childhood asthma and other ailments.

“I’m just baffled. If there is reliable evidence, why hasn’t someone published it?”

However, Lord Judge stressed that his comments would not affect the judgment of the case before the Court of Appeal.


I do hope that the appeal court judges have the good sense to find in favor of a public freedom to comment on bad science.

If the court does not do this, then the reductio ad absurdum of British libel law will be this:

the first publisher of a "fact" can sue anybody who later claims that the "fact" is bogus.

The good news is that the Pope will be able to sue scientologists.

The bad news is that the Pope will be able to sue scientists.

As I said in a comment elsewhere:

At this point, there will be a mass exodus of the best brains in
Britain.  As the scientists and technicians leave, the infrastructure
will fall apart and the courts of law will need to resort to candles
for illumination to go with the quill pens that they never relinquished.

Related posts:
Simon Singh Wins - US Law To The Rescue!
UK Libel Law Reform - A First Step