A bulletin from the UK’s Arc Legal Assistance Limited, an independent provider of legal expenses insurance products and related services, notes that the “increased awareness of social media abuse cases together with the recent publication of new CPS [Consumer Protection Service] guidelines on sentencing for online abuses, and the Defamation Bill currently going through Parliament, all provide an important impetus to increase access to online defamation cover.”
It cited a recent legal case in the UK involving Lord McAlpine, who was wrongfully accused of sexual abuses, and instituted legal actions, as a result of numerous social media posts, to restore his good name.
McAlpine is in the process of “dropping his legal action against certain Twitter users with under 500 followers for defamation,” the bulletin said; adding that the decision would “come as some relief to those concerned.” However, Arc Legal stressed that “there remain concerns about the risks associated with the misuse of social media.
“The attention such actions have attracted together with clear moves by legislators to tackle the growth in social media abuse will play an important role in creating more participation in this emerging market to help it grow and develop,” Arc Legal said.
In response to these opportunities, the insurer said it has “launched one of the first Social Media Defamation covers. The dedicated protection is being offered as part of its ID theft and personal legal expenses policies. It will provide cover for the costs of a solicitor to contact the author of online content, and the website hosting company demanding removal of the material.”
Richard Finan, Director of Arc Legal, said: “Very few individuals are in a position to pursue the sort of action Lord McAlpine has taken to address damaging allegations online. However, that should not prevent consumers from being able to seek redress for what is effectively online abuse. Our cover aims to address this gap by providing individuals with the means to tackle such abuse, and have it removed.”
The announcement added: “If an individual wishes to pursue damages as a result of online content, they will be able to do this using Arc Legal’s managed legal services offering called Total Legal which provides access to discounted lawyer’s fees for legal work.”
Source: Arc Legal Assistance Limited