1 Background |
|Date introduced to first House
Date introduced to second House
Current Bill Number
|10 May 2012
8 October 2012
HL Bill 41 2012-13
1. The Defamation Bill was introduced in the
House of Lords on 21 September 2012, having already completed
its passage through the Commons.
The Bill is intended to make a number of substantive changes to
the law of defamation, but is not designed to codify the law into
a single statute.
2. The Rt Hon Lord McNally, Minister of State
for Justice, has certified that in his view, the Bill is compatible
with Convention rights. The Bill received its Second Reading in
the House of Lords on 9 October 2012.
3. We wrote to the relevant Minister on 18 October
2012 asking for further information about a number of specific
human rights issues raised by the Bill. The Minister replied by
letter on 15 November 2012.
4. We identified the Bill as one of our priorities
for legislative scrutiny in this Session and called for evidence
in relation to it. We received written evidence in relation to
the Bill from JNT Association (trading as JANET), UCISA, Professor
Phillipson from the University of Durham Law School, and Professor
Mullis, University of East Anglia and Dr Scott, London School
of Economics. All of the written evidence we have received is
available on our website. We are grateful to all those who have
assisted with our scrutiny of the Bill's human rights implications.
5. This Report concentrates on the most significant
human rights issues likely to be debated during the remainder
of the Bill's passage, in light of the debates so far at the Second
Reading in the House of Lords.
The information provided by the
6. The Government published alongside the Bill
a detailed ECHR Memorandum prepared by the Ministry of Justice,
setting out the Government's views on the principal human rights
implications of the Bill. The memorandum provides a detailed account
of the Government's reasons for concluding either that particular
provisions do not interfere with human rights or that any interference
is justified. The detail and quality of most of the human rights
analysis in the memorandum shows that serious and careful consideration
has been given to the human rights implications of the Bill.
7. The relevant members of the Bill team also
made themselves available to meet our Legal Adviser and the Lords
Clerk to answer any questions about the Bill and to provide any
further information. The combination of the detailed ECHR memorandum,
the meeting with the Bill team, and the detailed response to our
questions in the response to our letter has made it possible to
focus this Report on the most significant human rights issues
raised by the Bill.
1 12, 19, 21 and 27 June 2012 Back