McNae author joins libel reform working party

Picture: David Banks

David Banks, co-author of the latest edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists is sitting on a Ministry of Justice working group looking at reforming libel law.

David is a senior lecturer in media law tutor on NCTJ-accredited courses at the University of Sunderland and a senior NCTJ examiner.

The terms of reference of the Ministry of Justice working group, which met for the second time today, are ‘to consider whether the law of libel, including the law relating to libel tourism in England and Wales needs reform, and if so to make recommendations as to solutions’.

David Banks said: “It was great to be asked to join the working party, but I believe it is more a recognition of McNae’s central position in law as it is practised by journalists and it is encouraging that central position has been recognised by the Government.

“The second meeting of the working party was today and we’ve been looking at libel tourism, the burden of proof on defendants and the extreme costs involved in libel cases.”

The 17-strong working group will sit two more times before March, then making a report to Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Justice.

McNae is published by Oxford University Press in partnership with the NCTJ and is known affectionately as “The Bible” to journalists and editors across the country.

Mark Hanna, chairman and chief examiner of the NCTJ media law board and senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Sheffield, is the other co-author of the 20th edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists.

The 20th edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists is available from the NCTJ eStore priced £14.99 plus post and packaging, along with a range of books vital to a career in journalism.