back to article Mumsnet settles with Gina Ford over defamation claims

As childcare author Gina Ford drops her defamation suit against parenting website Mumsnet as part of a settlement reached by the two parties this week, Mumsnet has launched a campaign for a thorough review of UK libel law to make it fit for purpose in the internet age. In a statement on the site, Mumsnet cofounder Justine …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Mumsnet apologises to Gina Ford for the comments made about her by some mumsnet users, and has made a contribution to Gina Ford's legal costs."

    I wonder if it would be possible to extort from a site by posting negative comments throughout its forums, and then taking it to court for defamation. I do not suggest this is the case here - I believe the commenters at Mumsnet were well-know to the site's operators - but it makes me wonder how the owners of a site with anonymous or pseudonymous commentators can sleep at night.

    Then again, a named and identified commentator could be nobbled, so I suppose there is no defence against this sort of hypothetical con game.

  2. Davin S. George

    Gina Ford BYTES

    Yeah that would be right, somebody can't take critism or discussion of their methods so you sue! So we're assuming that Gina Ford never said anything bad about somebody elses method of raising kids, would want to see her taken to court for defamation etc would we?

    Really does show the lengths some company/people will go to in these cases. And shame on Mumsnet for NOT letting this go through the courts, maybe the courts would have been a bit more 'REAL'

  3. Antony King

    Oh no not Gina Ford again

    There's nothing like Gina Ford to raise the ire of post-partum hormonally disturbed mums.

    From my understanding having actually /read/ some of her books, there are two principles of Gina Ford's childcare:

    1. Feed your child before it gets too hungry

    2. Put your child to bed before it gets too tired.

    Nothing even /remotely/ controversial there, yet people go completely and inexplicably nuts over it. Somewhat like the Salman Rushdie, she manages to raise fury even in people who haven't read the books or tried the methods.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The UK ends at Carlisle for El Reg... :-(

    For anyone, however, who has heard of the large bit of land that's stuck on to England just north of there, here is a useful URL that will help readers understand there's no such thing as "UK libel law", bearing in mind that Scotland has its own legal system... it's a useful comparison of the differences between Scots Law and English law (hello, Wales, yes, I know - it's not fair...) on the subject of defamation/libel:

  5. Simon Day

    Hosting in America....

    Ironic as it seems it might be one of those times where it is beneficial to host your site on a .com in the US, through a US registrar rather than host in the UK.

    At least they have certain protections for the sites themselves on content posted.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    beat this one !!

    I apparently libelled "mickey mouse" .Now the only way that someone could have found out exactly who "mickey mouse" was in this case was if a Court made an order that the ISP disclose the user name via the IP address. Anyway I was found guilty of libel against the guy behind "mickey mouse" even though that same mickey mouse had sent me email previously telling me to "F off "and the like.Strange but true, and shows you just what to expect from Courts.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Put up or shut up ?

    Moving on from the Mumsnet Vs Gina Ford situation Justine Roberts of Mumsnet and others have continued their campaign to (apparently) have the law changed.

    But when you dig into the posts by Justine, I've so far found she doesn't have any actuall suggestions. She just wants change.

    - or does she just want more Mumsnet publicity ?

    - Perhaps because the current UK law is not as easy as she'd like it to be as a journalist and Web site owner ?

    I hope that she (and other journalists) will either put up some sensible, practicle altnative suggestions to the current libel laws. Or that they will stop complaining that they have to check their facts before publishing information that could include lies that cause damage.

    For more information on this see

    Heck, if somebody can come up with a better system, fantastic.

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