Three Errors in the Defamation Act 2013
6 Journal of European Tort Law (2015), 1-25
19 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2014 Last revised: 28 Apr 2015
Date Written: November 14, 2014
This article considers three aspects of a recent British statute on the law of defamation, the Defamation Act 2013, disputing in each case their opportuneness. First, it argues that the new requirement of ‘serious harm’ under sec 1 runs against basic tenets of the law. Second, it expresses concern about the new drafting of the defence of responsible journalism (sec 4), which is in danger of losing touch with its original rationale. Third, it examines the revamped version of the defence of fair comment, now known as ‘honest opinion’ (sec 3), and suggests that comment should never be actionable because it cannot be defamatory in the first place.
Keywords: defamation, libel, Defamation Act 2013, serious harm, responsible journalism, publication on matter of public interest, fair comment, honest opinion
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