Session 2012 - 13
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament


 
 

Public Bill Committee: 19 June 2012                     

28

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

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.’.

 

Paul Farrelly

 

50

 

Parliamentary Star    

Clause  10,  page  8,  line  26,  at end add—

 

‘(3)    

Nothing in this section shall prevent a court from granting any injunction or order

 

requiring a person to cease publishing a defamatory statement.’.

 


 

Mr Jonathan Djanogly

 

1

 

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

 

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.’.

 



 
 

Public Bill Committee: 19 June 2012                     

29

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

New Clauses

 

Court orders restricting ability to make statements

 

John Hemming

 

NC1

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

In issuing any order restricting any individual’s freedom to make statements in

 

respect of any court action relating to defamation the court shall not include any

 

provision which prevents the individual concerned or any other individual from

 

passing information relevant to any regulatory requirements to any regulator

 

including the police, and the following statement shall be included in each such

 

court order—

 

  “Nothing in this order shall prevent any individual from making a

 

complaint to any regulatory body including the police or passing any

 

information to any regulatory body including the police.”.’.

 


 

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.’.

 



 
 

Public Bill Committee: 19 June 2012                     

30

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

 

Robert Flello

 

nc3

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘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.’.

 



 
 

Public Bill Committee: 19 June 2012                     

31

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

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—

 

(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.’.

 


 

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.’.

 



 
 

Public Bill Committee: 19 June 2012                     

32

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

Corporations

 

Robert Flello

 

NC7

 

Parliamentary Star    

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

A non-natural person will only have an action in defamation if they can show—

 

(a)    

that the publication was published with malice; or

 

(b)    

that they have suffered actual or likely financial harm.’.

 


 

Strike-out procedure

 

Robert Flello

 

NC8

 

Parliamentary Star    

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

The court must strike-out an action for defamation unless the claimant shows

 

that—

 

(a)    

its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the

 

reputation of the claimant; and

 

(b)    

there has been a real and substantial tort in the jurisdiction.

 

(2)    

For the purposes of subsection 1(b), no real and substantial tort is to be regarded

 

as having occurred in relation to the claimant unless the publication in the

 

jurisdiction can reasonably be regarded as having caused serious harm to the

 

claimant’s reputation having regard to the extent of publication elsewhere.

 

(3)    

Subsection (1) does not apply if, in exceptional circumstances, the court is

 

satisfied that it would be in the interests of justice not to strike out the action.

 

(4)    

A order under subsection (1) may be made by the court of its own motion or on

 

an application by any party to the action.

 

(5)    

Subsection (1) does not limit any power to strike-out proceedings which is

 

exercisable apart from this section.’.

 


 

Removal of allegedly defamatory material

 

Helen Goodman

 

NC9

 

Parliamentary Star    

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘The removal of allegedly defamatory material from a website and the publication

 

of apologies and corrections shall not prevent a claimant from bringing an action

 

for defamation.’.

 

 

Order of the House [12 JUNE 2012]

 

That the following provisions shall apply to the Defamation Bill—


 
 

Public Bill Committee: 19 June 2012                     

33

 

Defamation Bill, continued

 
 

Committal

 

1.    

The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

 

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

 

2.    

Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously

 

concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Tuesday 26 June 2012.

 

3.    

The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on

 

which it meets.

 

Consideration and Third Reading

 

4.    

Proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be

 

brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the

 

day on which those proceedings are commenced.

 

5.    

Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be

 

brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on that day.

 

6.    

Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to

 

proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.

 

Other proceedings

 

7.    

Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on

 

consideration of Lords Amendments or on any further messages from the

 

Lords) may be programmed.

 


 
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Revised 19 June 2012