A Critique of the Defamation Act 2013: Lessons for and from Australian Defamation Law Reform

Communication Law, Vol. 21, No. 4, 116-122, 2016

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 17/98

14 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2017

See all articles by David Rolph

David Rolph

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: December 18, 2017

Abstract

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

Rolph, David, A Critique of the Defamation Act 2013: Lessons for and from Australian Defamation Law Reform (December 18, 2017). Communication Law, Vol. 21, No. 4, 116-122, 2016, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 17/98, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3084400

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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