News: Defamation Bill, Commons reject amendment to limit ability of corporations to sue

17 04 2013

Helen GrantThe House of Commons yesterday considered the Defamation Bill and rejected the Lords amendment limit the ability of corporations to sue for libel. Lords Amendment No.2 was entitled “Non-natural persons” and provided that companies could only sue for libel if they could “show that the publication of the words or matters complained of has caused, or is likely to cause, substantial financial loss to the claimant”. After a short debate the House approved a Government motion to disagree with Amendment No.2 by 298 votes to 230. Read the rest of this entry »





Defamation Bill: back in the Commons with a row about corporations

14 04 2013

house-of-commonsThe Defamation Bill is coming to the end of its long passage through parliament.  It received its “first reading” in the House of Commons on 12 May 2012 – presented by the then Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke.  On 16 April 2013 it will be back before the Commons on “ping pong” – the stage at which the Commons considers new amendments made by the House of Lords.  There were sixteen Lords Amendments. The Conservative MP and former Solicitor-General, Sir Edward Garnier, has been criticised for seeking to remove one of them – Amendment 2 “Non-Natural Persons”. Read the rest of this entry »





News: Scotland, and Northern Ireland and the Defamation Bill

18 03 2013

StormontThe Defamation Bill is presently in a twilight zone between the House of Lords and the House of Commons. It is being held up by the presence of the so-called “Puttnam Amendment” (clause 2). This problem is likely to be resolved today with cross-party agreement on the implementation of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations. Read the rest of this entry »





News: The Defamation Bill and Leveson Amendments and Cross Party Talks

12 03 2013

Oliver LetwinOn 25 February 2013 the Defamation Bill had its Third Reading in the House of Lords.  A number of amendments were made to the Bill.  These included the controversial “Puttnam amendments” which introduced a new clause 2, entitled “Arbitration Service for defamation and related civil claims against members of Independent Regulatory Board“.  This contains a slimmed down partial version of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations for media regulation. Read the rest of this entry »





News: Ireland, Jury award of €150,000 defamation damages against Irish Daily Mail

23 02 2013

Denis O'BrienOn 14 February 2013, a Irish High Court jury awarded defamation damages of €150,000 to billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien (pictured) in a claim against the Irish Daily Mail. The jury rejected the defence of honest opinion, finding that the article was not based on fact and was not in the public interest. Read the rest of this entry »





News: Defamation Bill as amended by the House of Lords – where are we now?

15 02 2013

House of LordsThe Defamation Bill had its “Report stage” in the House of Lords on 5 February 2012.  It is scheduled to be back before the House of Lords on 25 February 2012 for “Third Reading”.  It should then go back to the House of Commons. Read the rest of this entry »





Hanging By A Thread: Reportage and Clause 4 of the Defamation Bill – Sophie Walker and Jason Bosland

11 02 2013

hanging by a threadEarlier this week, the latest iteration of the draft defamation bill was debated at the report stage of the House of Lords.  One of the most controversial aspects of the bill is clause 4 – the Public Interest Defence. The original purpose of the clause was to codify, and therefore clarify and strengthen, the existing common law defence of Reynolds qualified privilege. A particular sticking point through the parliamentary debates is how to address the so-called ‘doctrine of reportage’. Read the rest of this entry »





News: House of Lords adds “Leveson” amendments to Defamation Bill, Government defeated by a substantial majority

5 02 2013

PuttnamAfter more than 2 hours of debate, the House of Lords today voted to accept Lord Puttnam’s amendments to the Defamation Bill to insert provisions for a statutory “Recognition Commission” into the Defamation Bill.  The Government was defeated by the surprisingly wider margin of 272 votes to 141. Read the rest of this entry »





News: Leading Lords Backbenchers put down “Leveson amendments” to Defamation Bill – Mark Thomson

2 02 2013

House-of-Lords_2253554bIn a dramatic move which reflects growing cross-party frustration with the slow pace of Leveson implementation, a cross-party group of leading backbenchers have moved some “Leveson amendments” to be taken at the Report Stage of the Defamation Bill on Tuesday 5 February 2013. The amendments – in the names of Lord Puttnam, former Conservative Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay, former Speaker Baroness Boothroyd and former Attorney-General Baroness Scotland – would insert some of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations on press regulation into a bill which has been strongly supported by the media. Read the rest of this entry »





ISPs and defamation law: hold fire, Robert Jay – Ashley Hurst

27 01 2013

Google--007Although online issues were not covered in great detail by the Leveson inquiry, Robert Jay QC’s comments to the Singapore Academy of Law concerning the liability of internet service providers (ISPs) earlier this week are startling. Read the rest of this entry »








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