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Worth the candle?: the government's draft Defamation Bill

By Alastair Mullis and Andrew Scott

Abstract

The Government has published a draft Defamation Bill and Consultation Paper which invites comment on the Bill itself and a number of other matters. This paper offers a critique of the Bill which in our view fails to take what is an historic opportunity to create a modern law that properly triangulates the rights and interests of claimants, defendants and the wider public. Several provisions of the Bill purport simply to restate the existing law, others are more radical but the radicalism is all in favour of increased freedom of expression. Insufficient account is taken of the article 8 right to reputation. The result is a Bill with a few sensible provisions, but overall the impression given is that there has been no serious contemplation of the breadth of interests at stake where one person publishes an untrue statement about another. If reform is to be effective and the rights of claimants, defendants, and the wider public are to be properly protected, such a fundamental re-examination is essential. It is to be hoped that during the consultation period that has now begun, this task can be properly recognised and undertaken

Topics: HE Transportation and Communications, J General legislative and executive papers
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.5235/175776311796471242
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:37636
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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