The Canadian Defamation Action: An Empirical Study

42 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2016 Last revised: 2 Jun 2017

See all articles by Hilary Young

Hilary Young

University of New Brunswick - Fredericton - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 30, 2016

Abstract

This article presents the results of a quantitative study of Canadian defamation law actions, focusing on reported decisions between 1973-1983 and between 2003-2013. It aims to contribute to debate about defamation law reform, to contribute to scholarly work in defamation law or in tort law and remedies more generally, and to inform lawyers who are involved in defamation litigation. Its findings include: that damages are almost double in the later period, when adjusted for inflation; that corporate defamation claims make up about a third of the total in Canada; that plaintiffs established liability much more often in 1973-83 than in 2003-2013; that punitive damages are awarded much more often to corporations than to human plaintiffs and in higher amounts; that punitive damages are awarded in about a quarter of cases between 2003-13; and that publications in new media (internet and email) result in liability more often than publications in other media.

Suggested Citation

Young, Hilary, The Canadian Defamation Action: An Empirical Study (June 30, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2802787 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2802787

Hilary Young (Contact Author)

University of New Brunswick - Fredericton - Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4400
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5A3
Canada

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