British Chiropractors' Association drops case against Simon Singh

By Grant Jacobs 15/04/2010

Simon Singh (Source: wikipedia)
Simon Singh (Source: wikipedia)

A few minutes ago I learnt from scibling Ken Perrott that the British Chiropractors’ Association (BCA) have served a Notice of Discontinuance, meaning that they are dropping their libel case against Simon Singh.

Great news!

For those wishing to follow events, the Jack of Kent blog is probably the best place to do this. They currently note there is no news on the costs front. (Libel suits are by all accounts expensive and Singh will no doubt want to recover his costs.)

It would be good to see this encourage chiropractors to move towards looking to at scientific evidence, rather than making claims and when challenged reacting by accusing those questioning their practices of defamation or the like. (I won’t be holding my breath though.)

Updated news as it comes in is in the Footnotes below.

HT: Ken Perrott.


(I am adding to these as news comes in.)

9:20pm: Nothing on Simon Singh’s twitter account about this news. (Probably busy with wild celebrations?!)

9:23pm: There is further comment at the Lay Scientist (via Allen Green’s (aka Jack of Kent) twitter.)

9:34pm: A good article on paragraphs 26 & 27 of the appeal ruling, which deal with is meant by evidence in the context of the case and some of the evidence presented, respectively, is offered by guest writer Stephen Curry on the Jack of Kent blog.

9:45pm: The BBC has ’finally’ caught up.

10:26pm: A press release is now available from the BCA (PDF file). I’ll leave you to your own judgement of what they’ve said…

10:55pm: Ben Goldacre is off to write his Guardian piece on the news. I’m looking forward to reading it. Give ’em ’ell.

I’m tossing up whether or not to write a word-by-word dissection of my thoughts on that BCA statement… it’s heading into the wee hours here.

11:23pm: Simon Singh tweets that it’s perhaps appropriate that the case ends during what may be Chiropractic Awareness Week. (If you think this is an oblique citation, you’re right: I’m struggling to find websites announcing it. It’s not a very ’aware’ awareness week. Also, the dates they offer on this web page are puzzling. Two days doesn’t constitute a week and why would someone announce support on the day the ’week’ ends?)

11:38pm: Simon Singh tweets: ’Hats off to the BCA for helping raise awareness of the need for radical #libelreform’.

11:50pm: The Guardian, the newspaper that Simon Singh wrote his comment piece in that the BCA objected to, has an article by Sarah Boseley (Health Editor). Towards the lower portion are remarks about recovery of costs. Singh’s solicitor remarks that Singh is likely to be 20,000 pounds and two year’s lost income out of pocket, even if they do well at recovering costs. Even the winner loses, it seems, at least financially. I find intriguing, though, the remark right at the end that the BCA never directed any complaint to the Guardian itself.

Midnight: I’m calling it quits for the night. Feel free to comment, or wander around sciblogs. We’ve ~30 bloggers here writing on all sorts of things! I’ve provided a few links to some of my earlier articles below.

8:15am (pre-work session…): Legal writer Allen Green’s Jack of Kent blog has ‘what does this mean’ article.

8:20am: The Quakometer notes, among other things, that the BCA statement puts it’s reputation ahead of the interests of it’s members and customers.  (My own reading of the BCA statement is similar: I suspect it’s intended to be ’sold’ to their members as a partial victory in an effort to justify issuing the law suit to it’s members. They’re trying to ’spin’ the outcome.)

8:25am: Forgot to earlier add that Simon Singh’s first tweet after the news when public was the he was tied up feeding is new son:

Just finished bottle feeding Hari with top quality expressed milk – just about to change him. I will properly twitter soon.#libelreform

Note also the footnote to the The Quackometer’s article on this subject. Singh tweets that he apologies for the lack of tweets, but he’s dashing between interviews. No need to apologise!

Singh original article, the one that sparked the BCA case, is now back up on the Guardian website.

Over on Nature Network, on Austin Elliott’s Not ranting… honestly blog, Austin Elliott has posted a better link to the Chiropractic Awareness Week has been posted.

Simon Singh has a blog article up on the Guardian website: A pivotal moment for free speech in Britain.

8:25pm: If you want to see a lovely photograph of Simon’s infant son (wearing libel reform T-shirt!) and read some further follow-on, head over to Open Parachute.

Allen Green of the Jack of Kent blog, recommends an illustrated story-book of the BCA case.

Other articles on the Simon Singh case on Code for life:

Breaking news: Singh wins appeal in chiropractic case

Simon Singh, leaving job to deal with chiropractic legal case

Chiropractic libel suit snagged by its own ruling body?

Other articles on Code for life (not about the libel case!):

Earthquake warning systems (and twitterers)

The iPad: a cat toy?

A plastic ocean

Aww, crap.

0 Responses to “British Chiropractors' Association drops case against Simon Singh”

  • Reaction from the UK, via the UK SMC: Roland Jackson, Chief Executive, British Science Association, said:

    “This is a great and deserved victory for Simon but a small step in changing the libel laws to ensure that disputes of scientific fact and opinion cannot be censored by bodies threatening libel action to stifle open debate.”

  • Thanks for that. Must remember to look at the other SMC’s when I’m scouting this sort of stuff.

    I think that in addition to open discussion (I prefer discussion to debate…), it’d be good to see stronger measures to ensure that those making claims for remedies make claims that are substantiated by proper evidence. Making unsubstantiated claims in offering remedies seems to be one of the common threads of many of pseudo-scientific “remedies” or various types of “natural health” “remedies”.

    Haven’t had time to write it, but there was an advert in the Otago Daily Times offering treatment by chiropractic for some of the treatments that Bonfort et al. indicated lacked support. (I’d have to confirm this later as I haven’t got the advert. at hand.)