Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Scottish Law Commission Report on Defamation

The Scottish Law Commission recently published its final report on defamation.

From the press release:
"The Report includes draft legislation designed to modernise the law for the age of the internet and social media. The draft Bill is the most substantial proposed reform of defamation law in Scottish legal history (...)"

"The Report recommends that some old legal rules around defamation should be swept away; for example, it recommends that it should no longer be possible to sue where a defamatory statement is made only to the person who is the subject of it and no-one else – in that case there cannot realistically be any damage to reputation."

"The Report also proposes that where a statement has not caused serious harm to reputation there should be no right to sue. This is to prevent defamation actions being used as a weapon by the rich and powerful to try to silence unwelcome criticism."

"The Report recommends that Scots law should explicitly recognise a defence of publication on a matter of public interest. This is important for investigative journalism."

"Under the present law a person can allow three years to go by before suing for defamation. The Report concludes this is too long. Where there has been genuine damage to reputation this should become clear quickly. So the Report recommends that the three year time limit should be reduced to one year. This would be in line with best international practice."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:17 pm

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