Reynolds Privilege, Common Law Defamation and Malaysia
26 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2011
Date Written: April 4, 2011
The defence of qualified privilege has developed in the defamation law of many countries that share English legal heritage. Malaysian cases have applied, in particular, English or Australian developments in qualified privilege. However, Malaysian judgments have not engaged in a close analysis of how the foreign changes arise under Malaysian law. This article explains how the Australian developments appear difficult to apply within the Malaysian context, while the English developments offer a clear avenue for Malaysian defamation law’s modernisation. The key reason for this is the way in which the English Reynolds privilege can be seen to have its origins, at least in part, within the common law as well as within European human rights standards. The common law aspects of Reynolds, apparent from a wide range of English judicial statements, offer a doctrinal basis for the existing and future application of the Reynolds defence in Malaysian defamation law.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation