The next round in Simon Singh's ongoing and heroic defence against the misconceived libel case brought by the (now discredited) British Chiropractic Association takes place on Wednesday next week (14 October 2009).
So this is as good a time as any for a round-up.
To start with I will explain just why I describe the BCA as discredited.
They are "discredited" - in my opinion - by reason of the great claims for their "plethora" of supposed evidence for the efficacy of chiropractic for the children's ailments.
For,when the plethora was placed it into the public domain, it turned out to be the most humiliating dud.
In effect, the BCA defamed itself and had no one to sue.
Even the British Medical Journal concluded in an editorial that all the references were "demolished completely".
And, of course, if something is demolished completely, not a jot remains.
(I now understand that the BMJ editorial had to go through several lengthy rounds of "lawyering" because of fears that the BCA would sue that august journal - or just the editorial writer personally. Such is the real effect of libel chill.)
And as for "misconceived", and insofar this really needs to be explained, see perhaps here - and, in picture terms, see here.
Whilst the BCA labour on with their case, Simon Singh, on the other hand, is receiving international acclaim for his steadfast and inspiring defence.
And, more widely, the support for Simon's predicament and the interest in this case have spawned two particular movements, both of which are becoming increasingly effective over time.
First, there is the important campaign to reform England's libel laws so as to allow free discussion on scientific topics.
This is being coordinated by the awesomely competent Tracey Brown and Síle Lane at Sense About Science.
Sense About Science deserve the greatest credit for all their work on this and for the achievements so far.
One recent highlight of this campaign, amongst many, was the address by Richard Dawkins at the Liberal Democrat party conference. And more useful activity is on the way.
Thanks to Sense About Science, practical libel reform to protect science discourse is now entirely possible.
Second, there is the tireless enterprise of skeptic and science activists to hold chiropractors to account and to ensure chiropractors comply properly with all their legal and regulatory obligations.
The most prominent of these are Simon Perry and Zeno.
Their success in this quest has so far been astonishing.
In particular, they - and others - have triggered interventions of the Advertising Standards Authority and local Trading Standards officials who are quite rightly ensuring that hundreds of misleading advertisements and communications are pulled or modified, including - astoundingly - information put out by the UK chiropractic regulator itself, the General Chiropractic Council.
These activists are forcing through nothing less than a thorough reformation of how British chiropractors are presenting themselves to the public.
Against this background comes the next hearing of the libel case.
This hearing will deal with Simon Singh's attempt to appeal the ruling on meaning by the High Court.
This will not, however, be a full appeal.
To appeal a High Court ruling on meaning requires permission: it is not an entitlement.
Here Simon Singh has already lost twice. At the High Court hearing, he applied for permission immediately, but this was refused and the judge remarked that it was a straightforward case.
There was then a paper application to the Court of Appeal - and this turned down. The reasons given by the Lord Justice of Appeal were:
"Despite the length of the applicant’s skeleton, the judge seems to me to have been right in both his decisions. His approach as a matter of principle to the two questions was in accordance with authority, and the absence of any express reference to certain matters of context does not mean that he did not take them into account. Just because it may be difficult to prove a negative such as there not being a “jot of evidence” for a proposition does not mean that it is not an assertion of fact. All in all, I cannot see any realistic prospect of a successful appeal."
The reference to "skeleton" is not of course to the subject matter of chiropractic treatment, but to Simon's skeleton argument; and the reference to "context" is to the point that later in the Guardian article the use of the word "bogus" is explained.
Following such a refusal an applicant can make an "oral renewal" of the application, to be heard in open court. This what Simon has opted to do.
Will Simon succeed in this application? The fact that this is his third bite of this cherry suggests, in general terms, that he will not. The Court of Appeal does not lightly reverse rulings by the High Court in preliminary hearings in any case.
Nonetheless there is some chance of success here, though in my view less than 50:50.
More importantly, for Simon to take this case to the European Court of Human Rights for a ruling on whether in his case the UK government has - by allowing libel law to exist in this illiberal state - failed to afford protection to his right of free expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, he has to exhaust every domestic remedy.
If you happen to be in London on Wednesday, do come along to the Royal Courts of Justice to show support and solidarity. There is no steer on timings yet, but I will provide updates on Twitter (though from safely outside the court room).
And, given what has happened already, one does wonder what will happen in this case...
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