Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Analyzing the Defamation Act 2013

Alastair Mullis, University of Leeds, School of Law, and Andrew Scott, London Business School, Department of Economics, have published Tilting at Windmills: The Defamation Act 2013 at 77 The Modern Law Review 87 (2014). Here is the abstract.

In April 2013, the Defamation Act was passed, the culmination of a four‐year political campaign. The legislation is intended to ameliorate the ‘chilling effect’ of libel law on scientists, online commentators, NGOs, and others. This paper considers the main changes wrought: reform of the main common law defences, changes relevant to scientific discourse and online speech, and revisions that will impact on process. It identifies areas where there will be problems of interpretation for courts, and suggests that the Act will fail to provide clarity for publishers keen to assess the legality of their actions. The paper also contends that more attention should have been paid to remedies (in particular, the desirability of discursive remedies such as the right of reply). The question is posed whether the Act addresses the core problem with libel law: the juridification and over‐complication of public sphere disputes, and the attendant cost of embroilment in legal proceedings.

The full text is not available from SSRN.

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