The Local Authorities (Indemnities for Members and Officers) Order 2006 and the Welsh Government's accompanying guidelines are clear that Welsh councils may not use public funds to enable council officers and councillors to pursue libel claims through the courts, and there is a long-standing convention that councils themselves may not bring actions for defamation.
So when the chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council brought a counter-claim against blogger Jacqui Thompson and won punitive damages of £25,000 against her on the back of it, the question arises of whether he was doing this in a personal capacity or as an arm of the council.
While the trial was in progress, anyone up and about in Carmarthen in the early hours may have seen two shiny black Mercedes belonging to the council heading east. Comfortably ensconced in the black leather interior were the chief executive himself, his wife and various council functionaries, including the authority's Head of Law and, bizarrely, the manager of the council's press office.
The limos purred along the M4 to Swansea, where the worthies boarded a train with first class return tickets for London.
The press office was quick to issue a press release welcoming the judge's verdict on 15 March, and the chief executive gave interviews to local newspapers.
Clearly that was not enough. It is understood that some councillors are now being fed with extracts from the court transcript, although for what purpose it is not clear, and yesterday, 10 days after the verdict, an article appeared as the centrepiece on the council's web site giving links to the text of the judgement.
All of this is in stark contrast to the council's extreme reluctance to tell its councillors and the public whenever the Ombudsman for Public Services issues reports which show the authority in a less than flattering light.
It may be a coincidence, but Mr James told the Carmarthen Journal in his interview that county councillors would all be given training in defamation law to prepare them for the broadcasting of council meetings.
The training will no doubt emphasise the dire consequences that may await all those who speak out of turn, and Jacqui Thompson will almost certainly be held up as a warning.
This will not be a problem for those councillors who rarely if ever speak in council meetings, but it may well be enough to convince others that the best policy is to keep quiet as well and leave all the talking to Mr James.
Who knows, perhaps Mr James may next decide that to drive his message home, a parade of open topped buses around Carmarthen and Llanelli is appropriate. He can be sure of a warm welcome from council tax payers, that's for sure.