Session 2012 - 13
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament


Public Bill Committee: 19 June 2012                     



Defamation Bill, continued


Robert Flello




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



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


against the author, editor or publisher; and



has made a determination that the statement complained of is




Paul Farrelly




Parliamentary Star    

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



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




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


Mr Jonathan Djanogly




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


Mr Jonathan Djanogly




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



The following provisions also extend to Scotland—



section 6;



section 7(9);



section 14;



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



this section.



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





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.



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                     



Defamation Bill, continued


New Clauses


Court orders restricting ability to make statements


John Hemming




To move the following Clause:—



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




To move the following Clause:—



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.



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


relevant statement from the website.



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



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


statement about the application;



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



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.



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                     



Defamation Bill, continued


Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012


Robert Flello




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





Action for defamation brought by body corporate


Robert Flello




To move the following Clause:—



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


permission of the court.



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


have regard include, but are not limited to—



whether the body corporate can demonstrate an arguable case;



whether it could pursue alternative means of redress;



its size and area of operation;



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.



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.



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


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



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


directly caused by an alleged defamatory statement;



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





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


bringing of a claim;



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.



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                     



Defamation Bill, continued


Civil procedure rules


Robert Flello




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—



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


shall apply.



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


voluntary arbitration should be sought.



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





Publication on matters of public interest


Robert Flello




To move the following Clause:—



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





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—



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


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



refused or neglected to do so.



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—



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


complained of,



the promptness of the publication of the response, and



where appropriate, the extent and promptness of the removal or


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



Nothing in this section shall be construed—



as protecting the publication of matter the publication of which is


prohibited by law, or



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



Public Bill Committee: 19 June 2012                     



Defamation Bill, continued




Robert Flello




Parliamentary Star    

To move the following Clause:—



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



that the publication was published with malice; or



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



Strike-out procedure


Robert Flello




Parliamentary Star    

To move the following Clause:—



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





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


reputation of the claimant; and



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



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.



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.



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.



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




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                     



Defamation Bill, continued





The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.


Proceedings in Public Bill Committee



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


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



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


which it meets.


Consideration and Third Reading



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.



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


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



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


proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.


Other proceedings



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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