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Defamation Law is the law governing the protection and vindication of citizens’ reputations. The area has been greatly altered by very recent legislation with the removal of the old split between slander (being a spoken, transient wrongful statement damaging to a person’s reputation) and libel (being the publication or wider broadcast of a wrongful statement damaging to a person’s reputation). The significant awards- and commensurately significant risks- in Defamation cases make them a particularly high profile form of litigation. However, the issue of Defamation law is frequently bound up in issues of freedom of speech and the balancing of society’s rights to discuss matters of importance with the individual’s rights to vindicate their personal good name. The posts in these categories explore these competing aims as they apply both to principles and individual cases.

Sir Cliff Richard

There are two matters (at least) worth noting in Sir Cliff Richard’s deserved win in the English High court. Firstly, it is heartening that a group of ordinary [women] citizens were sufficiently integrated as persons that they were immune to the effects of the smear attaching to Sir Cliff as a result of the disgraceful lynching of him by the BBC. Those citizens supported Sir Cliff by cheering for him outside the court on the delivery of the judgment. Secondly, […]


Air Travel Accidents

Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 (as amended by Regulation (EC) No 889/2002) requires air carriers in the EU to give the following summary of a passenger’s rights on the air ticket. “Air carrier liability for passengers and their baggage This information notice summarises the liability rules applied by Community air carriers as required by Community legislation and the Montreal Convention. Compensation in the case of death or injury There are no financial limits to the liability for passenger injury or death. […]


Lucinda Creighton’s legal bill

Why should anybody get legal aid in such a case? Because without some funding help, a person might not get justice. It is impractical to think that justice is possible for a lay litigant.


Secret(ive) Courts

Construction may be everything; if the object of criticism thinks the criticism may lower him/her in the estimation of right-thinking members of the community he/she may sue for defamation.


The Paper of Record

One of Ireland’s newspapers reputedly aspires to be the Paper of Record. To be serious on the point it ought to have this vainglorious claim beneath its masthead; it does’nt, correctly. It cannot be such, because of its necessarily accepted constraints. A true Paper of Record would explain. No Irish newspaper explains. They cannot, because to explain is to judge. To judge is, often, to defame. No average newspaper (in Britain or Ireland) can defame persistently and survive. What the […]


Willie O’Dea

But we should see him as he is, warts and all. We should not have to endure the consequence of more mythical thinking by the judiciary (and the Law Library). The Attorney General is down in the arena with everybody else. He fights for his clients. He represents their interests. He should not be accorded the deference he gets from the judiciary and the Law Library.


The Picture of Brian Cowen

One can imagine Mr. Cowen’s feelings when he learned of the hanging of two pictures of him in public, in which pictures he was shown, by implication only, as naked; firstly, possibly in the loo and secondly, holding his underpants.


Anglo Irish Bank Corporation (3)

Comment on the situation at Anglo Irish Bank is, if it is fair, privileged. The matter is one of public interest. This means it is open to people to speak about the situation freely without worrying that they might be the subject of legal proceedings for defamation.


Say nothing rather than something

Consequently, a reporter should not look for the “core” of his or her report in the pleadings or in the characterisation of the case by counsel or in some diatribe by the judge (unless he or she is working for a “red-top”; then, always go for the diatribe).


Business is Business

Under the Regulations, the plaintiff client will become liable for fees only if he/she:

a) fails to co-operate with the legal representative;

b) fails to attend any medical or expert examination or court hearing which the legal representative reasonably requests him to attend;

c) fails to give necessary instructions to the legal representative; or

d) withdraws instructions from the legal representative.