1st Edition

Wicked, Wicked Libels

Edited By Michael Rubinstein Copyright 1972
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    ‘The law of libel is the instrument of censorship by which dignity—too often pseudo-dignity—is to be upheld.’ That is Michael Rubinstein’s definition in his introduction to this lively and authoritative account Wicked, Wicked Libels (originally published in 1972) of the libel situation in Britain.

    The contributors are all actively concerned about libel as a living issue. Michael Rubinstein writes first about ‘the popular appetite for scandal’, and the other contributors view libel from various angles. H. Montgomery Hyde looks at the law of libel itself, Louis Blom-Cooper writes about the conflicts between freer speech and privacy, and Anthony Lincoln discusses the problems facing legal advisers to the press. William Kimber, Richard Ingrams and Cecil H. King look at the subject from the publisher’s point of view. Eugene Gros writes as a successful plaintiff, Louis A. Abraham looks at defamation as contempt of Parliament, and Michael Rubinstein contributes a chapter on book publishing and the law of libel. There are also two important appendices of particular interest: one an account by Harold Laski of a day in court, and the other a Press comment on the PQ 17 case after the hearing in the Court of Appeal.

    Introduction: The Popular Appetite for Scandal
    Michael Rubinstein

    1. A Look at the Law
    H. Montgomery Hyde

    2. Freer Speech – and Privacy
    Louis Blom-Cooper, Q.C.

    3. Reading between the Lines – The Lawyers and the News Desk
    Anthony Lincoln, Q.C.

    4. Libel – A Book Publisher’s View
    William Kimber

    5. Eye Witness
    Richard Ingrams

    6. News and Abuse
    Cecil H. King

    7. A Libel Case as seen by a Successful Plaintiff
    Eugene Gros

    8. The Writer and the Writ
    Michael Rubinstein

    9. Defamation as Contempt of Parliament
    Louis A. Abraham, C.B., C.B.E.

    Appendix I: May Day in Court
    Harold Laski

    Appendix II: Punitive Damages and the PQ 17 Libel Case


    Michael Rubinstein was a solicitor who specialized in representing publishers and authors including Chatto & Windus, Sidgwick & Jackson, Hodder & Stoughton, Jonathan Cape, Victor Gollancz, and Penguin Books. He served the Society for the Promotion of New Music as trustee, chairman, and then vice-president.

    Review of the first publication:

    '…the merit of this book lies in its emphasis on libel practice.'

    Renn Wortley, Melbourne University Law Review