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EDM (Early Day Motion) 272: tabled on 17 July 1997

Tabled in the 1997-98 session.

This motion has been signed by 16 Members. It has received 1 amendment.

As this motion is using historical data, we may not have the record of the original ordering, in which case signatories are listed alphabetically.

Amendment to this motion

There has been an amendment submitted to this motion.

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Motion text

That this House, following the recent conclusion of McDonald's Corporation and McDonald's Restaurants Ltd vs Steel and Morris, the longest case in English legal history, notes with alarm the denial of legal aid and a jury trial for the unrepresented defendants, that the burden of proof rested on the defence who were presumed guilty until proven innocent, and Mr Justice Bell's finding that the defendants' counterclaim fell because, although McDonald's had issued defamatory, inaccurate and 'malicious' literature on the eve of trial to 'discredit' and to 'vent spite' on the defendants; further notes that United Kingdom anti-McDonald's campaigners have refused to recognise the verdict, distributing 400,000 leaflets on the Saturday after, and that the case has focused worldwide attention and condemnation of United Kingdom libel law; believes that interminable, complex, expensive, elitest, unfair and oppressive libel laws and procedures stacked in favour of rich and powerful plaintiffs have brought the courts into disrepute and are in need of urgent reform to safeguard public rights; and calls for multinationals to be treated in the same way as Government bodies which no longer have a right to sue for libel.

After a motion has been tabled, other Members can table amendments to it. Amendments to this motion are shown below.

leave out from 'history' to end and add 'notes with relief that huge sums of legal aid are not available to assist destitute defamers to tell lies about others with minimal risk to themselves but at enormous cost to the public purse.'.
Conservative, New Forest East
EDM 272A1: tabled on 24 July 1997