Session 2012 - 13
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament


 
 

3

 

House of Commons

 
 

Notices of Amendments

 

given on

 

Thursday 14 June 2012

 

For other Amendment(s) see the following page(s):

 

Defamation Bill Committee 1

 

Public Bill Committee


 

Defamation Bill

 

Resolution of the Programming Sub-Committee

 

The Programming Sub-Committee appointed by the Speaker in respect of the Bill

 

agreed the following Resolution at its meeting on Thursday 14 June (Standing Order No.

 

83C):—

 

That—

 

(1)  

the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 10.30 am on Tuesday

 

19 June) meet—

 

(a)  

at 4.00 pm on Tuesday 19 June;

 

(b)  

at 9.00 am and 1.00 pm on Thursday 21 June;

 

(c)  

at 10.30 am and 4.00 pm on Tuesday 26 June;

 

(2)  

the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a

 

conclusion at 7.00 pm on Tuesday 26 June.

 

Mr Jonathan Djanogly has given notice of his intention to move a motion in the terms

 

of the Resolution of the Programming Sub-Committee [Standing Order No. 83C].

 

Mr Jonathan Djanogly

 

That, subject to the discretion of the Chair, any written evidence received by the

 

Committe shall be reported to the House for publication.

 

 

Mr Jonathan Djanogly

 

1

 

Clause  16,  page  10,  line  3,  leave out subsections (2) and (3).


 
 

Notices of Amendments: 14 June 2012                     

4

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

Mr Jonathan Djanogly

 

2

 

Clause  16,  page  10,  line  7,  at beginning insert ‘Subject to subsection (5),’.

 

Mr Jonathan Djanogly

 

3

 

Clause  16,  page  10,  line  7,  at end insert—

 

‘(5)    

The following provisions also extend to Scotland—

 

(a)    

section 6;

 

(b)    

section 7(9);

 

(c)    

section 14;

 

(d)    

section 15(5) (in so far as it relates to sections 6 and 7(9));

 

(e)    

this section.

 

(6)    

Subject to subsections (7) and (8), the provisions of this Act come into force on

 

such day as the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument

 

appoint.

 

(7)    

Sections 6 and 7(9) come into force in so far as they extend to Scotland on such

 

day as the Scottish Ministers may by order appoint.

 

(8)    

Section 14, subsections (4) to (8) of section 15 and this section come into force

 

on the day on which this Act is passed.’.

 

Helen Goodman

 

4

 

Clause  1,  page  1,  line  4,  at end add ‘or to the reputation of the claimant’s close

 

relative if that close relative died within the year prior to the defamatory statement being

 

published’.

 

Helen Goodman

 

5

 

Clause  1,  page  1,  line  4,  at end add—

 

‘(2)    

For the purposes of this section, “close relative” includes the claimant’s—

 

(a)    

spouse or partner;

 

(b)    

son or daughter;

 

(c)    

brother or sister; and

 

(d)    

father or mother.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

6

 

Clause  1,  page  1,  line  3,  after ‘unless’, insert ‘the extent of’.

 

Robert Flello

 

7

 

Clause  3,  page  2,  line  11,  leave out ‘did not hold the opinion’ and insert ‘acted out

 

of malice’.

 

Robert Flello

 

8

 

Clause  4,  page  3,  line  11,  leave out ‘this section’ and insert ‘subsection (3)’.


 
 

Notices of Amendments: 14 June 2012                     

5

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

Robert Flello

 

9

 

Clause  5,  page  3,  line  30,  leave out ‘any provision contained in regulations’ and

 

insert ‘subsection (3A)’.

 

Robert Flello

 

10

 

Clause  5,  page  3,  line  30,  at end insert—

 

‘(3A)    

Where a complaint is received by an operator under subsection (3), the operator

 

must publish a notice of complaint alongside the relevant statement and, if the

 

operator fails to do so within seven days of notice of the complaint, the operator

 

will only be entitled to rely on the standard defences available to a primary

 

publisher, if sued for defamation.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

11

 

Clause  8,  page  7,  line  17,  at end insert—

 

‘(c)    

the comparative quality and credibility of the source of the subsequent

 

publication, compared with the first publication.’.

 

Operators of websites: order for removal of defamatory statement

 

Robert Flello

 

nc2

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

This section applies where an action for defamation may be brought in respect of

 

a statement posted on a website, whether or not such an action is actually brought

 

and regardless of whether the action lies against the operator of the website, the

 

author of the statement or both.

 

(2)    

A claimant may apply to the court for an order that the operator remove the

 

relevant statement from the website.

 

(3)    

Where an application for an order under this section is made—

 

(a)    

the operator shall inform the author, if identifiable, of the relevant

 

statement about the application;

 

(b)    

both the operator and the author, if known, may make written

 

submissions to the court in relation to the application, such written

 

submissions to be made available to the claimant, the operator and the

 

author, if known; and

 

(c)    

the judge shall take into account any such written submissions before

 

coming to a decision in relation to whether or not to grant the order.

 

(4)    

Any order under this section must be implemented by the operator no later than

 

seven days following notice of the order; and failure to comply with this time

 

limit will render the operator liable in an action for defamation as if the operator

 

were the author of the relevant statement.’.

 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

 

Robert Flello

 

nc3

 

To move the following Clause:—


 
 

Notices of Amendments: 14 June 2012                     

6

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

‘The civil legal aid provisions contained within the Legal Aid, Sentencing and

 

Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 shall not apply in relation to civil actions for

 

defamation.’.

 

Action for defamation brought by body corporate

 

Robert Flello

 

nc4

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Before bringing a claim for defamation, the body corporate shall obtain the

 

permission of the court.

 

(2)    

In determining whether to grant permission, the matters to which the court may

 

have regard include, but are not limited to—

 

(a)    

whether the body corporate can demonstrate an arguable case;

 

(b)    

whether it could pursue alternative means of redress;

 

(c)    

its size and area of operation;

 

(d)    

the proportionality of allowing the corporation to bring a claim by

 

reference to the likely costs of the proceedings, and the level of harm

 

suffered, or likely to be suffered, by the corporation.

 

(3)    

Subject to subsection (5), a body corporate which seeks to pursue an action for

 

defamation must show that the publication of the words or matters complained of

 

has caused, or is likely to cause, substantial financial loss to the body corporate.

 

(4)    

In determining for the purposes of this section whether substantial financial loss

 

has been incurred, a court shall have regard to the following—

 

(a)    

whether there has been, or is likely to be, a substantial loss of custom

 

directly caused by an alleged defamatory statement;

 

(b)    

whether the body corporate can prove likelihood of a general turndown

 

in business as a consequence of the alleged defamatory statement, even

 

if it cannot prove the loss of specific customers or contracts; this shall

 

suffice as a form of actual loss, and satisfy the test of substantial financial

 

loss;

 

(c)    

a fall in share price shall not suffice as the sole grounds to justify the

 

bringing of a claim;

 

(d)    

injury to goodwill or any expense incurred in mitigation of damage to

 

reputation shall not suffice as the sole ground to justify the bringing of a

 

claim for defamation.

 

(5)    

The test specified in subsection (3) applies solely to bodies corporate, or other

 

non-natural legal persons that are trading for profit, or trade associations

 

representing “for-profit” organisations; it does not extend to charities, non-

 

governmental organisations or other non-profit making bodies.’.

 

Civil procedure rules

 

Robert Flello

 

nc5

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘Strict enforcement of the Pre-Action Protocol governing defamation

 

proceedings shall be adhered to, and the following alternatives to court

 

proceedings should first be considered before a party is permitted to commence

 

court proceedings—


 
 

Notices of Amendments: 14 June 2012                     

7

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

(1)    

A presumption that mediation or neutral evaluation will be the default position

 

shall apply.

 

(2)    

In the event that mediation or neutral evaluation is deemed unsuccessful,

 

voluntary arbitration should be sought.

 

(3)    

If the claim has not been settled, court determination of key issues will be

 

permitted.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

12

 

Clause  2,  page  1,  line  14,  at end insert—

 

‘(3A)    

The defence under this section does not fail on the basis that one or more of the

 

imputations is not shown to be substantially true, if that imputation would not

 

materially injure the claimant’s reputation in the light of what the defendant has

 

otherwise shown to be substantially true.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

13

 

Clause  3,  page  2,  line  8,  at end insert ‘or’.

 

Robert Flello

 

14

 

Clause  3,  page  2,  line  27,  at end insert—

 

‘(e)    

a defence under common law qualified privilege.’.

 

Publication on matters of public interest

 

Robert Flello

 

NC6

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

The publication of a statement which is, or forms part of, a statement on a matter

 

of public interest is privileged unless the publication is shown to be made with

 

malice.

 

(2)    

In defamation proceedings in respect of a publication under subsection (1) there

 

is no defence under this section if the claimant shows that the defendant—

 

(a)    

was requested by him to publish in a suitable manner a reasonable letter

 

or statement by way of explanation or contradiction (the “response”), and

 

(b)    

refused or neglected to do so.

 

(3)    

For the purpose of subsection (2), “in a suitable manner” means in the same

 

manner as the publication complained of or in a manner that is adequate and

 

reasonable in the circumstances, having particular regard to—

 

(a)    

the need for the response to have equal prominence as the publication

 

complained of,

 

(b)    

the promptness of the publication of the response, and

 

(c)    

where appropriate, the extent and promptness of the removal or

 

clarification of, or correction to, the publication complained of.

 

(4)    

Nothing in this section shall be construed—

 

(a)    

as protecting the publication of matter the publication of which is

 

prohibited by law, or

 

(b)    

as limiting (or bridging) any privilege subsisting apart from this section.’.


 
 

Notices of Amendments: 14 June 2012                     

8

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

Robert Flello

 

15

 

Clause  7,  page  5,  line  22,  after ‘proceedings’, insert ‘, of the contents of a press

 

release circulated or published’.

 

Robert Flello

 

16

 

Clause  10,  page  8,  line  22,  leave out from ‘court’ to end of line 24 and insert—

 

‘(a)    

is satisfied that it is not reasonably practicable for an action to be brought

 

against the author, editor or publisher; and

 

(b)    

has made a determination that the statement complained of is

 

defamatory.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

17

 

Clause  5,  page  3,  line  23,  at end insert—

 

‘(2A)    

The defence provided in this section is not affected by the operator having a

 

policy of amending content (“moderation”) after it has been published provided

 

that any changes made as a result of the actions of the moderator—

 

(a)    

do not significantly increase the defamatory nature of the words

 

complained of;

 

(b)    

do not remove a relevant defence to an action for defamation in relation

 

to the words complained of; and

 

(c)    

do not significantly increase the extent of the publication of the words

 

complained of.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

18

 

Clause  5,  page  3,  line  25,  leave out from ‘possible’ to end of line 26 and insert—

 

‘(i)    

for the claimant to identify the person who posted the statement,

 

and

 

(ii)    

for the claimant to contact the person who posted the statement.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

19

 

Clause  5,  page  3,  line  27,  leave out ‘the claimant gave the operator’ and insert ‘the

 

operator was served with’.

 

Robert Flello

 

20

 

Clause  5,  page  3,  line  30,  at end insert—

 

‘(3A)    

The condition in sub-paragraph (3)(a)(ii) will be met if the claimant notified the

 

web operator and the web operator did not elicit a reply (for whatever reason)

 

from the author within a timescale provided for in regulations made under this

 

section.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

21

 

Clause  5,  page  3,  line  35,  leave out ‘was’ and insert ‘is’.


 
 

Notices of Amendments: 14 June 2012                     

9

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

Robert Flello

 

22

 

Clause  5,  page  3,  line  36,  at end insert—

 

‘(e)    

is authorised by a court, which is satisfied on the basis of the information

 

that it has before it, that—

 

(i)    

the statement concerned is capable of being defamatory

 

including having regard to section 1 (serious harm) and is

 

capable of representing a real and substantial tort in the

 

jurisdiction based on the extent of publication;

 

(ii)    

would not be likely to benefit from a defence to an action for

 

defamation;

 

(iii)    

that the terms of subsection (3)(a) have been met.

 

(f)    

may specify a time limit by which the statement complained of should be

 

removed in order to benefit from the defence in this section.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

23

 

Clause  5,  page  3,  line  37,  at end insert—

 

‘(aa)    

make provision as to the matters to be considered by the court when

 

considering an application to authorise the issue of a notice of complaint,

 

including the requirements needed to satisfy subsection (3A).’.

 

Robert Flello

 

24

 

Clause  5,  page  4,  line  4,  leave out from ‘section’ to end of line 5 and insert ‘shall

 

not come into force without the affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament.’.

 

Robert Flello

 

25

 

Clause  5,  page  4,  line  6,  at end insert—

 

‘(9)    

In paragraph 1(c) of the Defamation Act 1996, leave out “a defamatory” and

 

insert “an unlawful”.’.

 


 
contents
 

© Parliamentary copyright
Revised 15 June 2012