Carter Ruck defends Hardeep Singh on CFA

Freelance journalist Hardeep Singh is being defended in his high-profile libel fight against an Indian holy man by Carter Ruck acting on a no-win, no fee deal.

Carter Ruck is more widely known for its claimant work acting against publishers, but in this case it is acting on a conditional fee agreement for Singh.

The move comes as Singh faces a fresh claim for libel from religious sect leader Sant Baba Jeet Singh Ji Maharaj over an online article he has written about his libel fight.

The original libel claim stems from an article Singh wrote for The Sikh Times in August 2007 which, according to the writ, suggested Maharaj was the leader of a cult and an imposter.

In May this year, Mr Justice Eady threw out the case but the Court of Appeal is due to hear a challenge to his ruling in February or March next year.

Singh has so far borne the financial risk of fighting the case himself. This financial cost will now have been significantly mitigated by the fact Carter Ruck is acting for him on a CFA.

The case has been highlighted by the Libel Reform Campaign as an example of libel tourism. Press Gazette understands that his holiness does not read or speak English himself and lives in India with limited connections to the UK.

Singh’s lawyer Nigel Tait said of the fresh libel claim: ‘Hardeep wrote a piece about the decision by Mr Justice Eady which we thought was very fair and accurate and he has been threatened with a further round of libel proceedings which we are dealing with.

‘Contrary to popular belief Carter Ruck do a great deal of defendant work and we are very pleased to be representing Hardeep on appeal.”

He said that an application has been made for the claimant to make a payment into court as a surety against paying for Singh’s costs in case he loses.

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