Claimants will have to prove harm

Major reforms of libel laws have been unveiled under which would-be claimants will have to demonstrates that they have suffered serious harm to their reputations, or are likely to do so, before they can take a defamation case forward.

The new Defamation Bill was promised in the Queen's Speech on Tuesday.

Critics argue that the current laws are weighted too heavily in favour of claimants and have a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

The Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, said the bill would "rebalance the law".