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Defamation and the Internet

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 16 September 2009

On 16 September we are publishing a consultation paper on an issue concerning the civil law on defamation in relation to the internet.

This relates to the “multiple publication rule”, under which each publication of defamatory material can form the basis of a new defamation claim, and its effects in relation to online archives. The paper considers the arguments for and against the rule and the alternatives of a single publication rule (which would allow only one claim to be brought in this jurisdiction against particular defamatory material), or the possible extension of qualified privilege to material on online archives in certain circumstances. It also considers in that context what limitation period for defamation claims would be appropriate.

Copies of the consultation paper will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and can also be obtained free on the Department’s website at: The closing date for consultation is 16 December 2009.