A Critique of the Defamation Act 2013: Lessons for and from Australian Defamation Law Reform
Communication Law, Vol. 21, No. 4, 116-122, 2016
14 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 18, 2017
The last major reform of Australian defamation law occurred over a decade ago, in the mid-2000s. That process was directed towards securing uniformity across Australia’s eight diverse defamation jurisdictions – a vitally important goal which had eluded legislators for over three decades – rather than more fundamental, substantive reform. There remains further scope for reform of Australian defamation law. This article analyses the recent defamation law reform process in England and Wales, which culminated in the passage of the Defamation Act 2013. It seeks to identify aspects of the Defamation Act 2013 which could be influential in the reform of Australian defamation law. In turn, it also critiques the Defamation Act 2013 in light of developments in Australian defamation law. The article focuses on three principal areas: the requirement of ‘serious harm’; the restriction of the right of bodies for profit to sue for defamation; and the statutory defence of publication on a matter of public interest.
Keywords: Defamation, Tort, Law reform, Australia, United Kingdom, Serious harm, Corporations, Qualified privilege, Public interest
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation