Book Reviews


Gatley on Libel and Slander

General Editors: Patrick Milmo QC & Horton Rogers

Price: 285.00

Edition: 11th Edition (December 2008)

ISBN: 978-1-847-03492-2

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Reputations are extremely important in modern society.  Many people place great emphasis on their reputation saying things like "my word is my bond."  It is therefore fundamental for such an important area of law like defamation that it has a heavyweight text like Gatley on Libel and Slander to guide the reader through the intricacies of this topical, fascinating and complex area of law.

Being edited by two lawyers from different backgrounds, Patrick Milmo QC from private practice and Horton Rogers from academia, means that Gatley on Libel and Slander has a rich mixtures of these two approaches.  Gatley on Libel and Slander is broken down into four parts and appendices: the defamatory statement; defences; other causes of action and related matters; and the action.  Appendices include precedent letters of claim, statements of case, statutes and damages awards.  This approach means that Gatley on Libel and Slander is an invaluable tool for anyone practising in or studying this area of law.

Gatley on Libel and Slander is superbly written and tackles the material in a readable and thorough way.  This is a real testament to contributors' expertise because if you do not understand the material fully, you cannot explain it.  The text is authoritative meaning that the reader can be sure that it accurately states the law.  The material is also wonderfully broken up into fairly short and manageable sections meaning the points raised in the paragraph are not lost on the reader.  Excellent use is also made of extracts from cases and examples showing the law in practice.

Unlike many texts of this type, Gatley on Libel and Slander includes a whole part devoted to defamation proceedings taking each stage step by step.  By doing so, it ensures the reader is fully aware of the issues which need to be tackled and tactical advantages of writing a letter of claim in a clear and succinct way.  The precedents are also excellent although, given the Court's jurisprudence that statements of case should be written in layman's language, I would have preferred them to be updated to remove legalese like "the said statements."

I have no hesitation in recommending Gatley on Libel and Slander to anyone practising in or studying this topical and fast-moving area of law.  It is comprehensive whilst, at the same time, readable meaning it can be used by practitioners and students alike.  The part on defamation proceedings and the appendices is worth the price on its own.  If you have a copy of Gatley on Libel and Slander, you are unlikely to need anything else!

Reviewed on 8 April 2009

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