Defamation Act 2013 comes into force next Wednesday

  TopCat® 12:33 31 Dec 2013

"Claimants will have to show they have suffered "serious harm" before suing, under the Defamation Act 2013...." info here

I think this new Act is the right way to go in restricting some people from suing at the drop of a hat,as it were. It should certainly make them think twice before they act. Do you agree on this? TC.

1]: [click here

  TopCat® 12:56 04 Jan 2014

Closing this. TC.

  Forum Editor 13:12 04 Jan 2014

It's time the law was revised. The changes will mean that journalists, in particular, will be freed from the fear of spurious legal action.

It doesn't mean you can say what you like about someone and get away with it, but it will mean less waste of expensive court time.

  fourm member 13:16 04 Jan 2014

How odd. I didn't see this before.

I certainly hope the new act works even though it is not ideal.

The worry is that Northern Ireland hasn't updated its legislation. The sort of people and organisations who used the old law to try and suppress criticism are quite likely to try and find ways to bring actions in NI.

In one of those odd paradoxes of life, a lot of people are saying how grateful they are to some of those people because their attempts to use the law to stop people realising they were pushing dodgy science were so outrageous that they woke up MPs to the need for reform.

  Aitchbee 20:15 04 Jan 2014

Everything is Hunky Dory in Scotland [ although I can only speak for Glasgow on this matter, FE] ... down at my local, you can call anyone by all of the known curses of the day and night ... and those same 'defamed' persons will offer to buy you a drink for being so normal 'n' nice ... straight away!

  Aitchbee 20:23 04 Jan 2014

... oops! got slander and libel mixed-up again, :o[

  bumpkin 20:50 04 Jan 2014

Aitchbee, Tell it like it is and may we always be allowed to do so in my opinion.

  Forum Editor 17:20 06 Jan 2014

"Tell it like it is and may we always be allowed to do so in my opinion."

You are allowed to do so, provided that you are prepared and able to prove that what you say is true.

If you publish a statement that says: 'Mr (named individual) is fiddling his expenses' the person concerned might sue you for libel, and if it came to court you would have to prove he was on the fiddle. He wouldn't have to prove anything.

The changes to the law are designed to eliminate vexatious or frivolous libel actions.

  spuds 11:03 07 Jan 2014

I raise the question, as to how this will make any difference to the 'average' person on the street?.

I suppose if you have the resources or regard yourself as important, then it might make a big difference. But to the 'average' person, it would most likely be another case of shrugging one's shoulders, and just getting on with life?.

  fourm member 12:14 07 Jan 2014


Your comment shows that you have not followed the progress of this issue.

If you had you would know that the old libel law was used to try and prevent proper scientific discussion and to suppress the criticism of false claims about scientific and medical matters.

When scientists published their research showing that lie detectors don't detect lies the company making them tried to use the libel law to stop people being aware of the work.

Purveyors of unproven medical techniques tried to use the law to stop people being made aware that they were being asked to pay money for techniques that had no demonstrable efficacy.

Everyone will be better served by the new laws recognition that criticism is not necessarily libellous.

And, don't forget, people like Jimmy Savile and Robert Maxwell used the threat of legal action to prevent reporting of their activities.

  Forum Editor 18:03 07 Jan 2014


"I suppose if you have the resources or regard yourself as important, then it might make a big difference."

It has nothing to do with whether you consider yourself important or not.

The new Defamation Act includes substantial changes in several areas, one of which is designed to afford better protection for those who host web forums, or allow users to upload any form of site content.

It is also going to make it easier for newspapers and other print media to publish on matters of public interest without the threat of a libel action. It won't remove the need for responsible journalism, but it will redress the balance somewhat.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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