Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Defamation Act 2013 – the Explanatory Notes

Defamation Act 2013 – the Explanatory Notes | Inforrm's Blog: "The Explanatory Notes to the Defamation Act 2013 have now been published. It is important to understand the status and value of these notes in relation to the construction of the Act.  As the notes themselves make clear “They have been prepared by the Ministry of Justice in order to assist the reader in understanding the Act. They do not form part of the Act and have not been endorsed by Parliament” (para 1). Explanatory Notes are admissible aids to the construction of the statute insofar as they “cast light on the objective setting or contextual scene of the statute, and the mischief at which it is aimed” (Westminster City Council v National Asylym Support Service [2002] UKHL 38 [5])."
In relation to the new defences of “Truth” (Section 2) and “Honest Opinion” (Section 3) the paragraphs 13 and 19 of the Explanatory Notes suggest that these “broadly reflect the current law while simplifying and clarifying certain elements”. The Notes are clear that the new defence of “publication on a matter of public interest” (section 4) is not intended to be a new departure but is, rather: “based on the existing common law defence established in Reynolds v Times Newspapers and is intended to reflect the principles established in that case and in subsequent case law“.As indicated by the Minister in the House of Commons on 16 April 2013, the Notes say that The intention in this provision is to reflect the existing common law as most recently set out in Flood v Times NewspapersSo section 4 does not establish a “new public interest” defence but simply codifies the common law as developed by the Courts.
The notes to section 9 (Action against a person not domiciled in the UK or a Member State etc) indicate that the section “aims to address the issue of “libel tourism” (a term which is used to apply where cases with a tenuous link to England and Wales are brought in this jurisdiction)” but go on to point out that does not apply to a person domiciled in a EU Member state or a state which is party to the Lugano Convention. Section 9(2) says that a court does not have jurisdiction to determine an action against a person domiciled outside the countries mentioned unless the court is satisfied that, England and Wales is clearly the most appropriate place in which to bring an action in respect of the statement." 'via Blog this'

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