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Discussion paper on defamation law 21/03/2016 The Scottish Law Commission has published a discussion paper on defamation law in the wake of changes to the law of England and Wales that took effect in 2013.

Discussion paper on defamation law

The Scottish Law Commission has published a discussion paper on defamation law in the wake of changes to the law of England and Wales that took effect in 2013.

The paper explains Scots law in key areas and examines possible improvements. It discusses, for example, whether there should be a new threshold test so that a claim can be brought only where a publication has caused a certain level of harm to a claimant’s reputation. This might help to filter out claims where very little is at stake. The paper also considers whether the defences of truth, fair comment and publication on a matter of public interest should be clarified and expressed in modern form.

A further issue considered is where responsibility for online publication should lie. The paper asks if the courts should be given power to order removal of a defamatory statement from a website. It also examines whether it should be possible for defamation claims to be brought where the reputation of a deceased person has been unfairly attacked after his or her death. At present this is not possible.

“Defamation law potentially affects everyone,” said Lord Pentland, leading the project. “It is at the cutting edge of freedom of expression and protection of reputation; two important human rights. The law in this area must be in tune with the values of modern society. We hope that as many people as possible will read our discussion paper and give us their views on the questions we ask. That will allow us to recommend changes to ensure that the law is up to date and in line with current thinking and practice.”

The Discussion Paper can be found here.

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