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BCA v. Singh: Making Legal History

Source The Jack of Kent

Previous articles relating to this case can be found here, here and here.

The case of British Chiropractic Association against Simon Singh is now likely to make legal history.

The news broke today that the Court of Appeal panel hearing the appeal of the preliminary hearing on meaning will be joined by the Lord Chief Justice.

The panel will now consist of England’s two most senior appeal judges – the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls – as well as the formidable Lord Justice Sedley.

This is exceptional and, as far as I am aware, unprecedented for an appeal on just a preliminary point, rather than on a full substantive appeal of a decided case.

This is the heavy artillery of the judiciary.

This panel means that any judgment of the Court of Appeal could have immense effect on the future approach of the High Court to the question of what constitutes fair comment or a factual statement, and it may give firm guidance the extent to which the High Court can again impose a meaning of dishonesty either generally or against corporations in particular.

The Court of Appeal may not take this opportunity to adopt a robust approach, but having the two very most senior appeal judges on one panel rather tells against this. The composition of the panel does not by itself tell us how the appeal will be decided, just the potential significance of the judgment on future cases.

It is thereby probable that this Court of Appeal hearing on BCA v Singh will become a landmark case.

Moreover, should such a panel choose to criticise either party, or indeed the High Court itself, the effect could be damning.

It is becoming very interesting.

8 comments to BCA v. Singh: Making Legal History

  • Without going through multiple back posts, can somebody give me the cliff notes version of what’s going on with this case?

  • I too would like to know. I have seen this on a few different Chiropractic boards and am always interested how the outcomes affect us as chiropractors

  • Dr. Kevin Smith,

    My understanding is it has to do with health/recovery claims used on websites of Chiropractors in the UK. I am unsure of what specific sites were targeted, but I think we can all agree that no profession should make egregious claims. In the majority of cases, it is my understanding that this including vitalistic nerve and nervous system function claims, which chiropractic is essentially founded on

    These accusations have led to a widespread panic and removal of all vital chiropractic information.

    This is a very important case, and chiropractic is being targeted by the medical establishment. In my opinion it has far less to do with public safety, and more to do with a continued monopoly on peoples sickness care.

  • Doctors,

    John left the link for the 2 other articles (and the heated comments). I think you’re both better off to read the materials and become familiar with the case. JMHO

  • @Dr Gibson

    While the case concerns us because the consequences of making unsubstantiated claims hurts our profession, it makes news because it addresses issues of free speech and the way libel is handled by the British legal system.

  • It always fascinates me at how much scrutiny is placed on the chiropractic profession for making unsubstantiated claims (as IF we have the exclusive rights to this practice). Anyone here seen the latest sales push for statin drugs? You can now have normal cholesterol levels – and you still need statins. Nice substantiated claim there. Let’s see…what else? The flu shot. That’s always a winner. We can go on and on. The point here is that the anti-chiropractic crowd seems to love to paint us as the quacks, and the ones making the unsubstantiated claims. And meanwhile, the medics have a LOT of work to do in cleaning up their own back yard.

  • Kevin, Scott, and others,

    This guy Singh is part of the scientific community as a well-known skeptic. Other blogs are up in arms about this case because they see it as an attack on science. The problem is, is that this article wasn’t a science paper. It was an opinion piece. It was an opinion piece that has libel in it. Like a true skeptic would have done, he should have done his homework.

    In the article, he called our treatments “bogus.” And in regard to some condition (I can’t remember which, I think it was infantile colic) he said that there is, “not one shred of evidence.” Well, the problem is that there IS a shred of evidence to support the claim that chiropractic care helps colicky babies (or whatever the condition was, I forget.) He should have looked into it a little deeper.

    Todd Lloyd, DC

  • Dr. Smith,

    You raise some very good points. It seems like the spin masters are really quick at pointing out our claims, but there is not much press about medicine/drugs being in the top 5 list of preventable deaths. the problem is the information they bring does NOT even have to be accurate, it just has to cause doubt and hurt the chiropractic profession.

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