Good news for lovers of freedom of speech across the planet.
The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) this morning dropped its libel
claim against Dr Singh.
Thanks to the adoption by British judges of a principle of US Law, the BCA has finally realised that the legal maxim: 'when you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging' is a truth of universal application.
The principle of US Law which whipped the carpet out from underneath the BCA's collective feet is this: "Scientific controversies must be settled by the methods of science..."
"[Plaintiffs] cannot, by simply filing suit and crying 'character assassination!', silence those who hold divergent views, no matter how adverse those views may be to plaintiffs' interests. Scientific controversies must be settled by the methods of science rather than by the methods of litigation. … More papers, more discussion, better data, and more satisfactory models – not larger awards of damages – mark the path towards superior understanding of the world around us."
Underwager v Salter 22 Fed. 3d 730 (1994)
Dr Singh was sued for libel over a newspaper article in which he accused the BCA of “happily promoting bogus treatments”, such as the use of chiropractic for childhood asthma and infant colic.
Dr Singh told The Times today: “It’s a huge relief to suddenly have this whole thing disappear. I’m still getting my head around it. I’ve got stacks of paperwork here in my office, relating to chiropractic and legal documents, and I don’t have to look at it as of today. I don’t know whether I’ll stick it in the attic or burn it.”
He said he would be pursuing the BCA for his legal costs. “The issue of costs is still outstanding. I suppose it will cost the BCA upward of £300,000, and I want to make sure they end up paying my legal costs, which will be over £100,000. It could be that I don’t get that money back: that explains why people don’t fight libel cases.”
The case for libel reform in the U.K. remains. U.K. libel laws affect free speech for scientists across the planet. That is why, wherever you live, your signature is needed on the petition at
Don't delay, sign today!