The trial, now being heard before Mr Justice Bell in Court 35 at the Royal Courts of Justice, is officially listed as Case number 93/NJ/1436. McDonald's Corporation & Another v Steel & Another, Part Heard.
After 270 days, it has a strong claim to being called the most expensive and most disastrous public-relations exercise ever mounted by a multinational company.
When the case was first listed, it was expected to last about three weeks. But 124 witnesses have been called so far, and another 10 are waiting for their turn on the stand. The trial is likely to cost the hamburger chain more than £10 million.
McDonald's is a $26 billion-a-year corporation. The alleged libel-mongers - Helen Steel, 30, and Dave Morris, 42 - are unemployed environmental protesters, who claim that their joint incomes amount to less than £7,000-a-year.
McDonald's is represented by Richard Rampton QC, and a team of the most expensive libel lawyers in the profession. Ms Steel, a former barmaid and gardener, and Mr Morris, an ex-postman and single parent, are representing themselves.
The action began after London Greenpeace, to which Ms Steel and Mr Morris are said to have belonged, was alleged to have published and distributed a leaflet in the mid-1980's, called "What's Wrong With McDonald's. Everything They Don't Want You to Know."
It said that McDonald's sold the sort of food that was linked to cancer and heart disease, that the company caused litter, and that it exploited children, the Third World and its own staff.
McDonald's was also said to have conspired in the destruction of rainforests. The embarrassment for McDonald's is that, instead of capitulating under its might, Ms Steel and Mr Morris chose to try to justify every one of the allegations in the leaflet.
It must surely be fair to guess that McDonald's is longing for the trial to end. Meanwhile, six or seven hours a day, five days a week, the case continues..."
Dave Morris, 42, and Helen Steel, 30, cut up the pink iced cake atop a giant papier mache hamburger outside London's Royal Courts of Justice and offered them to passers-by in the Strand.
Ms Steel, a former barmaid and gardener, and Mr Morris, an ex-postman, have become seasoned advocates during their time defending the action and began today by telling the patient Mr Justice Bell that they were now seeking leave to issue proceedings against enquiry agents employed by McDonald's to investigate them.
The first witness today was Frances Tiller, a legal secretary of an investigation bureau which infiltrated London Greenpeace, the organisation which published the alleged libels, which is not connected with Greenpeace International. She is not involved in the intended new proceedings and told the court that she was paid to infiltrate London Greenpeace meetings but "felt very uncomfortable doing that job" and "didn't like the deception and interfering with other people's lives".
Mrs Tiller said she was told to report the names of people involved in London Greenpeace and collect any brochures from meetings, particularly those connected with the anti-McDonald's campaign.
"But McDonald's was not the central issue at any of the meetings I attended. I didn't think there was anything wrong with what the group was doing."
The near-defunct state corporation, now selling off its property portfolio following coal privatisation, claimed it had been libelled over an article published 4 years ago in the NUM journal 'Yorkshire Miner', which accused it of stealing 450 million pounds from the miners' pension fund.
Mr Justice French struck out the case on the fifth day of a jury trial and ordered BC to pay NUM's legal bill.
The judge accepted the argument of NUM's counsel, Geoffrey Robertson QC, that BC was an arm of government and could not sue for libel without compromising citizens' freedom of expression. Mr Robertson described the action as "one last kick in the direction of the NUM by a corporation in its death throes".
Arthur Scargill, the NUM president, said afterwards that the result was a "victory for the right of individuals to say what they think without being threatened by a multi-millionaire monopoly of the state".
The article had compared BC's decision to take 450 million pounds out of a 1.5 billion pound pension fund surplus with Robert Maxwell's raid on the Mirror Group pension fund.
Patrick Milmo QC, for BC, called it a "nasty libel" and a "scandalous and horrible" accusation. But the judge said yesterday that, although "offensive", there was nothing to suggest the words had caused the corporation any damage.
Philip Hutchinson, legal director at BC - which was given leave to appeal - believed the ruling represented an extension of the law."
Lawyers say the ruling meant that the Government, its departments and other public bodies would now be unable to sue. Cabinet ministers would be prevented from suing for libel when they were criticised in the course of their official duties.
Geoffrey Robertson QC, for the defendants (the National Union of Mineworkers), said that the submission that was upheld was that no arm of government was entitled to bring an action for libel against a citizen because it would mean using taxpayers' money oppressively and it would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech."
[McSpotlight comment: WHAT ABOUT MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES?]