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Simple Questions, Difficult Juries: Perversity in Australian Defamation Trials after John Fairfax Publications Pty Ltd v Rivkin

Commercial Law Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 9-20, 2004

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/02

19 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2009 Last revised: 23 Jan 2009

David Rolph

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: January 13, 2009

Abstract

This article examines the recent trend in "perverse" or unreasonable jury verdicts in New South Wales defamation trials and the resulting, increased level of appellate intervention. It does so particularly in light of the High Court of Australia's decision in John Fairfax Publications Pty Ltd v Rivkin (2003) 201 ALR 77; (2003) 77 ALJR 1577; (2003) Aust Torts Reports para.81-711. It canvasses the applicable test for appellate interference with a jury verdict and analyses the decisive shift away from a discourse based on "perversity" to one based on unreasonableness. It analyses the implications of Fairfax v Rivkin for future challenges to jury verdicts.

Keywords: Defamation, Australia, New South Wales, Juries, Verdicts, Trials, Unreasonableness, Perversity

JEL Classification: K10, K13, K30

Suggested Citation

Rolph, David, Simple Questions, Difficult Juries: Perversity in Australian Defamation Trials after John Fairfax Publications Pty Ltd v Rivkin (January 13, 2009). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/02; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1327503

David Rolph (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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