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Tort Law: Text and Materials

Tort Law: Text and Materials (6th edn)

Mark Lunney, Donal Nolan, and Ken Oliphant
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date: 22 April 2024

p. 71613. Defamationlocked

p. 71613. Defamationlocked

  • Mark Lunney, Mark LunneyProfessor of Law, University of New England in New South Wales
  • Donal NolanDonal NolanProfessor of Private Law. Francis Reynolds and Clarendon Fellow and Tutor at Worcester College, University of Oxford
  •  and Ken OliphantKen OliphantDirector of the Institute for European Tort Law, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna


This chapter examines the law of defamation, which protects a claimant’s reputation. It explains the distinction between libel and slander, and outlines the elements of the cause of action for defamation: that the statement must be defamatory; must refer to the claimant; and must be published. The chapter then considers the general defences to liability for defamation: (1) truth, (2) honest opinion, (3) privilege (both absolute and qualified), (4) responsible publication on matter of public interest, (5) offer of amends and (6) innocent dissemination. The chapter concludes with a discussion of remedies for defamation.

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