The Scottish Law Commission’s project on reform of defamation law is approaching its final stages. We developed and decided on policy in light of responses to the Discussion Paper on Defamation. Please see also the collated responses. We recently consulted on a working draft of a Defamation and Malicious Publications (Scotland) Bill based on our policy intentions (consultation closed 31 August 2017). The papers relating to that consultation are the following:
The responses to that consultation can be found here.
We are currently adjusting the draft Bill in light of those responses and aim to publish the finalised draft Bill along with a report and recommendations around the end of the year.
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.
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.
For further information or if there are matters you wish to raise with us, please contact Graham McGlashan