Riley v Sivier libel appeal: the next steps

It may be some time before we hear from the Court of Appeal on whether my appeal against Rachel Riley’s libel victory will be allowed to proceed or not.

The relevant documents were submitted in advance of last Wednesday’s deadline and have been accepted by the court.

Rachel Riley now has until December 21 to serve a three-page paper explaining why she thinks the appeal should not be permitted – if she wants to. This is an optional document but one the Court of Appeal encourages respondents to file.

I will greet the arrival of any such information with great interest.

After that, I’m told not to expect a decision in 2022. The court term is practically over and an appeal submitted in December is hardly going to be first in line for consideration. Hopefully we’ll get a response after the new term begins in January.

Will the appeal be allowed?

Good question.

The Court of Appeal may permit appeals to proceed when the appeal has some real prospect of success or where there is some other compelling reason for the appeal to be heard.

“May” is the important word, because the court has discretion not to permit an appeal to proceed, even if it meets either of the two criteria – for example, if a judge decides it would not be a good use of the court’s resources.

With my appeal, I have tried to emphasise concerns about the way the law was applied and to flag up the need to clarify it in the future. Did the judge really give regard to “all the circumstances of the case” where factual information that might be expected to have a bearing on the judgment seems to have been ignored?

We also question the judge’s decision on the application of my editorial judgement.

If an appeal is granted on either or both of these bases, then we can have a hearing in the Court of Appeal that may change the overall outcome of this case.

So there is still a vital need for funding. I need to finish paying for the cost of my Counsel drafting the appeal, and I fear Ms Riley’s legal team are likely to try to throw as many spanners into the works as they possibly can. Responding to them costs money – and we all know how much they enjoy depleting my resources.

If you’ve been following the case this far – and I’m fairly sure you have – then you’ll know what comes next. I’ll state it anyway. Please:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

Use other social media in the same way.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

You may see comments from trolls on Twitter and other social media, who support Ms Riley and are attaching themselves to this case in order to discourage you from helping me. They will try to mislead you. Do not pay them any attention.

In fact, their nonsense postings have helped me out – but I’ll give you more on that in another update.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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