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Tort Law Directions

Tort Law Directions (8th edn)

Carol Brennan
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date: 29 May 2024

p. 36315. Defences to defamationlocked

p. 36315. Defences to defamationlocked

  • Carol BrennanCarol BrennanTeaching Fellow on the Undergraduate Laws Programme, University of London


Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. Defences to defamation protect freedom of speech in English law. Some of the defences are ‘absolute’ while others are ‘qualified’. Absolute defence means that regardless of how careless the defendant has been in publishing the statement or whether he has been motivated by malice, he is completely protected. Qualified defence applies to a wider range of situations, but fails if the claimant can show that the statement was made ‘maliciously’. This chapter looks at the amendments to the existing defences to defamation contained in the Defamation Act 2013, and the introduction of new defences to protect operators of websites that host user-generated content are also examined.

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