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British Chiropractic Association

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British Chiropractic Association
Foundation 1925
Location London, England UK
Country Flag of United Kingdom.gif United Kingdom
President Dr. Richard Brown,DC Flag of United Kingdom.gif United Kingdom
Website College Web Site

The British Chiropractic Association was founded in 1925 and claims to represent over 50% of UK chiropractors.[1] It claims to be the largest and longest established association for chiropractors in the United Kingdom.[2] The BCA have implemented campaigns regarding supposed dangers of many modern technologies and that injuries that can result from them, such as 'Repetitive Surf Injury',[3] text messaging,[4] iPod thumb[5] and using a Wii.[6]

Legislative authority

In 1993, HRH Diana, [7] visited the Anglo-European Chiropractic College, and became its "Patron", thereby granting Royal impetus to the then growing support for legislation to prevent unqualified individuals from practising Chiropractic in the UK. [7] In 1994, Parliament passed legislation regulating the practice of Chiropractic, like other health care professions, and creating the General Chiropractic Council as the regulatory board. Since that time, it is illegal to practice Chiropractic in the UK without a license. [8]

Libel case against Simon Singh

In July 2008, the BCA issued English defamation law (libel) proceedings against Mr. Simon Singh, who has specialised in writing about mathematical and scientific topics, for writing in The Guardian newspaper and website that the association was promoting 'bogus treatments'.[9] The BCA asked Singh to retract his allegations because they were "factually wrong, defamatory and damaging to the BCA’s reputation".[10] After the BCA won a preliminary court ruling in May 2009, Dr Singh announced in June 2009 that he intended to appeal against the ruling,[11] and on 14 October 2009 Singh was granted leave to appeal.[12] On 29 October 2009, Times Higher Education reported that Singh had won the right to appeal against the preliminary ruling on "meaning" in the case. Singh responded to the judgement that it was the "best possible result" but warned that he would try not to get his hopes up. "We have only won leave to appeal. Now we must convince the Court of Appeal on the issue of meaning. There is a long battle ahead."[13] UPDATE: Ultimately a court reversed the prior wins of the BCA and they were forced to withdraw their suit. So, despite libelling the entire profession in the UK and elsewhere, Singh won, based on free speech rights.

An editorial in Nature (journal) commented on the case, and stated that although the BCA has said that it believes in open discussions about the evidence base for chiropractic treatments and beliefs, it instead appears to many observers that the association is trying to use libel laws to suppress debate.[14] "Sense About Science" has been a major supporter of Singh during this case[15] and editorials in BMJ argued that the lawsuit highlights the chilling effects of English libel law on scientific discourse and free speech.[16]

The backlash to the BCA's libel case has resulted in a lot of coverage in both skeptical and mainstream media,[17] and as such is considered by some to be an example of the "Streisand Effect".[18]


  1. "About Chiropractic". British Chiropractic Association. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  2. "History of chiropractic". British Chiropractic Association. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  3. "The latest RSI risk is revealed by Yahoo! and the British Chiropractic Association". Publicasity. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  4. "Practice ‘safe texting’ with The British Chiropractic Association" (PDF). Britich Chiropractic Association. 
  5. Victor Mihailescu (2005-11-14). "iPod Thumb, the new occupational hazard". Softpedia. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  6. Andy Merrett (2006-12-19). "British Chiropractic Association gives advice for avoiding Wii-injuries". Tech Digest. Retrieved 2009-06-04. }
  7. 7.0 7.1 Staff (June 18, 1993). "Chiropractic Report Calls for Registry of DCs in United Kingdom". Dynamic Chiropractic 11 (13). 
  8. "Regulation of chiropractic". Retrieved 12/02/2009. 
  9. Richard Eden (2008-08-16). "Doctors take Simon Singh to court". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  10. "UPDATE ON BCA v SIMON SINGH" (PDF). British Chiropractic Association. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  11. Steve Connor (2009-06-04). "Silenced, the writer who dared to say chiropractice is bogus". Independent. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  12. Cressey, Daniel (Wednesday 14 October 2009). "Simon Singh vs the British Chiropractic Association, redux". Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  13. "News in brief: Singh wins leave to appeal". Times Higher Education. 29th October 2009. 
  14. "Unjust burdens of proof". Nature 459 (7248): 751. June 2009. doi:10.1038/459751a. PMID 19516290. 
  15. Sense About Science: keep the libel laws out of science
  16. BMJ 2009;338:b2254 doi:10.1136/bmj.b2254
    BMJ 2009;339:b4429 doi:10.1136/bmj.b4429
    BMJ 2009;339:b2783 doi:10.1136/bmj.b2783
  17. Ben Goldacre (2009-07-29). "An intrepid, ragged band of bloggers". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  18. "Chiropocalypse". Richard Dawkins.,3940,Chiropocalypse,Phil-Plait---BadAstronomy. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 

See Also

Royal College of Chiropractors

External links