Defamation

Commissioner

Lord Pentland, Chairman

Team Members

Vacant, Project Manager

Susan Robb, Solicitor

The consultation period on our Discussion Paper on Defamation has now closed.  The Commission is very grateful to those who submitted responses.  Please see also the collated responses.  We have developed our policy on the basis of the responses and comments received.  We are now working towards producing a report and draft Bill.

Scope of the Discussion Paper

In the light of the significant changes made by the Defamation Act 2013 in England and Wales, the Discussion Paper covers key areas of defamation law, including the defences of public interest, fair comment and truth, whether there should be a mechanism for filtering out claims where little is at stake, and liability for publication of defamatory material online.

The Paper looks also at whether the courts should be given power to order that a summary of the court’s judgement should be printed by a newspaper or broadcaster which has been found to have defamed someone. It considers if Scottish courts should be given power to order removal of a defamatory statement from a website.

The Paper further examines the relationship of the law on verbal injury and defamation law. And it considers whether it should be possible for defamation claims to be brought where the reputation of a person has been unfairly attacked after his or her death. At present this is not possible.

Coverage of the Discussion Paper

http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/14348791.Lord_Pentland__the_options_for_reforming_Scotland_s_defamation_laws/

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/crime_courts/14351226.Law_watchdog_asks_if_rights_of_firms_to_sue_critics_should_be_restricted/

https://inforrm.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/news-scottish-law-commission-published-defamation-law-consultation/

Timing

The reform of defamation law is a medium term project which means we intend to publish our report with recommendations and draft legislation by the end of 2017, when the Commission's Ninth Programme of Law Reform comes to an end.

Contact

For further information or if there are matters you wish to raise with us, please contact Susan Robb

(susan.robb@scotlawcom.gsi.gov.uk).