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Joint Committee on the Draft Defamation Bill - First Report Draft Defamation Bill

Joint Committee on the Draft Defamation Bill - First Report Draft Defamation Bill

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HL Paper 203HC 930–I
Published on 19 October 2011by authority of the House of CommonsLondon: The Stationery Office Limited£0.00
House of LordsHouse of CommonsJoint Committee on the DraftDefamation Bill
Draft Defamation Bill
Session 2010–12
Report, together with formal minutes
Ordered by the House of Lordsto be printed 12 October 2011Ordered by the House of Commonsto be printed 12 October 2011
 
 
The Joint Committee on the Draft Defamation Bill
The Joint Committee on the Draft Defamation Bill was appointed by the Houseof Commons and the House of Lords on 31 March 2011 to examine the DraftDefamation Bill and report to both Houses by 31 October 2011. It has nowcompleted its work.
Membership
HOUSE OF LORDSLord Bew (
Crossbench
)Lord Grade of Yarmouth CBE (
Conservative
)Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town (
Labour 
)Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames QC (
Liberal Democrat 
)Rt Hon Lord Mawhinney (
Conservative
)(
Chairman
)Rt Hon Lord Morris of Aberavon KG QC (
Labour 
)HOUSE OF COMMONSSir Peter Bottomley MP (
Conservative, Worthing West 
)Rehman Chishti MP (
Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham
)Christopher Evans MP (
Labour/Co-operative, Islwyn
)Dr Julian Huppert MP (
Liberal Democrat, Cambridge
)Rt Hon Mr David Lammy MP (
Labour, Tottenham
)Stephen Phillips MP (
Conservative, Sleaford and NorthHykeham
)
Powers
The Committee has the power to require the submission of written evidence anddocuments, to examine witnesses, to meet at any time (except when Parliamentis prorogued or dissolved), to adjourn from place to place, to appoint specialistadvisers, and to make Reports to both Houses. The Lords Committee has powerto agree with the Commons in the appointment of a Chairman.
Publications
The Report and evidence of the Joint Committee is published by The StationeryOffice by Order of the two Houses. All publications of the Committee (includingpress notices) are on the internet athttp://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/joint-select/draft-defamation-bill1/ 
Committee staff
The current staff of the Committee are: Chris Shaw (Commons Clerk), KateMeanwell (Lords Clerk), Simon Fuller (Legal Specialist), and Rob Dinsdale(Committee Assistant).
Contacts
All correspondence should be addressed to the Clerk of the Joint Committee onthe Draft Defamation Bill, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.The telephone number for general enquiries is 020 7219 8363; the Committee’semail address is defamationbill@parliament.uk
 
Joint Committee on the Draft Defamation Bill
1
 
Contents
Report
Page
 
Summary 3
Conclusions and recommendations 5
1
Introduction 15
Policy Background 15
The law governing defamation 15
Origins of the current draft bill 15
The draft Bill 16
Our approach to the draft Bill 17
Themes emerging from the evidence 17
Core principles 20
Parliament and freedom of expression 20
2
Substance of the draft Bill 22
Improving clarity of the law 22
Trial by jury 23
Improving protection of freedom of speech 25
Responsible journalism in the public interest 27
Protecting the truth 29
Freedom to express opinions 30
Absolute and qualified privilege 31
Academic and scientific debate 32
Protecting the democratic process 34
Reporting court proceedings 36
Libel tourism 36
Further protection for publishers 37
Single publication rule 37
Innocent dissemination 38
Recommended changes to the draft Bill 39
Clause 1: Substantial harm 39
Clause 2: Responsible publication on matter of public interest 39
Clause 3: Truth 40
Clause 4: Honest Opinion 41
Clause 5: Privilege 43
Clause 6: Single publication rule 43
Clause 7: Action against a person not domiciled in the UK or a Member Stateetc 43
Clause 8: Trial to be without a jury unless the court orders otherwise 43
3
Consultation issues 44
Early resolution and cost control 44
Introduction 44
The scale of the problem 44

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