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Defamation

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In my opinion

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

The UK’s Court of Appeal has once again overturned a High Court ruling that a publication was stating fact, not opinion. The guidance that the courts give on this elusive distinction is so useless that it seems that often the only way to tell whether something is a statement of fact or opinion is to […]

Are host ISPs liable for bloggers’ defamation?

Monday, February 18th, 2013

The answer now appears to be: “yes, after they’ve been notified”. The English CA has just delivered judgment in the appeal against Eady J’s decision in Tamiz v Google. In that case, Eady J had continued a movement away from what seemed to be the first-principles position: that ISPs hosting blogs are publishers at common […]

We don’t need no stinking press regulation

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The Herald’s lawyer, Alan Ringwood, argues that we don’t need any statutory press regulation in NZ. Don’t listen to Levenson, he says. We don’t need to go there. (Full article here). I guess it’s not a news flash that the Herald’s lawyer would oppose statutory restrictions on the Herald. But I’m interested in his argument. […]

Settling down

Friday, November 16th, 2012

So Judith Collins has sensibly settled her lawsuit against Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little.  Here’s the agreed statement: The parties agree the leak of the email Ms Boag sent to the Minister and forwarded on her instructions, as the responsible minister, to the chairman and chief executive of ACC, raised an issue of serious public […]

Law Commission’s new media paper

Monday, December 12th, 2011

The Law Commission has issued an issues paper on reform of news media and new media regulation. This isn’t a final report; they’re looking for feedback on their proposals. I think it’s a thougthful and well-researched paper. It’s very much alive to the problems of online regulation and the importance of free speech and the […]

SST sends blogger a defamation nastrygram

Friday, February 11th, 2011

The Sunday Star-Times has sent a legal letter warning Brian Edwards about his post about its reporting on Amanda Hotchin. The SST quoted her saying: We don’t have to justify where we get our money from or what it is spent on to anyone. I don’t care what anyone says. Brian Edwards weighed in with a blog criticising Hotchin. But […]

Erin Leigh succeeds in defamation appeal

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

The Court of Appeal’s decision is pretty much exactly what I predicted here. The briefing paper and the oral briefing about PR staffer Erin Leigh’s departure from the Minstry of the Environment are – contrary to Dobson J’s ruling last year – capable of defaming her. But her negligence claim is a loser. The real […]

The case against the case against Robin Bain

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

So, now that TVNZ has broadcast its special edition of Bryan Bruce’s The Investigator: The case against Robin Bain, compellingly arguing that Robin Bain couldn’t have committed the Bain family murders, can David Bain and his team do anything about it? They argue that it’s “unadulterated rubbish”, contains “mischievous misrepresentations of facts”, “perpetuates a fraud”, […]

UK defamation reform bill on the way

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Lib-Dem peer, Reynolds lawyer and free speech thinker Lord Antony Lester has drawn up a Defamation Bill to try to even the balance between speech and reputation in the UK. Details are sketchy at the moment, but the proposals seem to include a requirement that plaintiffs prove some sort of “real harm” and corporate plaintiffs […]

Jones wins defamation damages of $104,000

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Bob Jones won $104,000 in his defamation case against Chris Lee. I don’t know much about the case, but on this report it illustrates some good lessons: an apology in time can avert an expensive and risky court battle; both sides’ costs probably exceeded the damages award (though such actions are cheap compared with costs […]

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