oying rainforests, causing starvation in Third World countries, producing litter in cities, causing heart disease, cancer and food poisoning’ and several other assertions too. After threats by McDonald’s of libel, three of the five activists apologized but these two activists refused and subsequently McDonald’s filed a defamation case against them which resulted in a case that became the longest in English history (McLibel: Longest case in English history, 2005).
In English Law, lawsuits for libel are allowed to be brought in the courts for any published statement that are supposed to defame a named or identifiable individual(individuals) in a manner which causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of him, her or them.
The defenses that are allowed for libel are justification (the truth of the statement), fair comment (whether the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held), and privilege (whether the statements were made in Parliament or in court, or whether they were fair reports of allegations in the public interest). .
As the British Law puts the burden of proof on the defendants meaning the defendants have to prove their innocence meant that the case was made out to be a ‘David vs Goliath’ one as McDonald’s huge resources against Mr. Morris and Ms. Steel, former being an unemployed postal worker while the latter being a part time bartender. However, the two defendants did get a sufficient amount of help from volunteers and they were able to present a strong case for themselves and they were able to produce a significant amount of testimonies that were damaging and embarrassing for the company. Nonetheless, the limited resources due to no legal aid provided to the defendants in the case of libel according to British Law meant that they were not able to gather enough evidence to prove they were innocent.