This page offers some indicators of awards and other data.
It covers -
Korieh Duodu commented of the UK in 2005 that
advantages to both claimants and defendants of settling
claims early has seen a gradual downturn in the number
of libel cases fought all the way to final judgment. However,
the media will continue to make mistakes, reputations
will continue to be threatened and cases will still be
pursued. If media groups still feel chilly, then they
might make better use of the warm clothing which recent
law reforms have offered.
Hale's 2002 The Impact of State Prohibitions of Punitive
Damages on Libel Litigation: An Empirical Analysis
asked whether US state prohibitions on punitive damages
influence the quantity and quality of media libel litigation,
concluding that there was no effect.
What is the price of a reputation ... or merely the damage
to an individual's honour and repute in a particular instance?
Substantial awards or pre-trial settlements have gained
attention along with famously derisory - or merely coolheaded
- awards such as the farthing awarded to the agrieved Whistler.
There is considerable dispute about whether awards by juries
(and decisions by appeal courts) are reflecting an 'inflation'
in damages awarded for physical injury. Unsurprisingly it
appears that some awards serve as a threshold. One example
is the 1995 decision in Hill v. Church of Scientology,
a Canadian case in which the appeal court upheld an award
of C$1.6 million. Prior to that time the highest damages
upheld on appeal in a Canadian defamation case was C$135,000.
By 2000 awards of C$500,000 were not uncommon.
The MLRC Report noted earlier
in this profile identifies a long-term increase in the average
and median initial awards after trial, with initial trial
awards rising from a 1980s average of US$1.5 million to
a 1990s average of just under US$3 million and an average
US$3.4 million since 2000. The 1980s median of US$200,000
rose to US$350,000 in the 1990s and US$724,500 since 2000.
What is the indicative cost of defamation action in Australia
The answer again is not clear, because instances where legal
costs were reported - typically by those boasting how much
they were happy to pay to defend their honour or by litigants
when costs were awarded to an opponent - may not be representative.
In the UK and Australia there have been cases (such as the
David Irving case)
where costs for barristers, associates and experts went
over the million dollar mark. Elsewhere this site notes
suggestions that government figures in Singapore, Malaysia,
Austria and elsewhere have consciously used defamation law
as a tool to silence criticism, including impoverishing
opponents through suits that exhaust the opponent's financial
resources and energy
In practice, apart from personal anguish, the major cost
of most defamation regimes may lie in the day to day handling
of complaints and queries. In 2002 the UK Internet Service
Providers Association (ISPA) for example claimed that responding
to defamation complaints - substantive or otherwise - about
online content costs between £50 and £1,000,
a concern broadly endorsed by the 2002 Law Commission report