The Defamation Act 2009 – A Submission to the Minister
On 14 January 2016 we made a submission to the Minister for Justice and Equality urging that in the context of the mandatory review of the Defamation Act 2009 she should bring clarity to the question of whether assessment of damages in High Court defamation cases (where an offer of amends is made and not accepted) should be by jury or non-jury cases. See here
An article in the Phoenix magazine of 12 February 2016 (reproduced below) underscores the point. In the case referred to the defendant, the Sunday World newspaper, has argued the assessment should be by Judge only. The High Court judge has ruled it should be by judge and jury and the matter is now under appeal.
For defamation lawyers this is a matter of significant practical importance as the approach of a party can be significantly tempered by the prospect of jury as opposed to judge sitting alone trial. The uncertainty and gap in expectations can contribute to cases capable of settlement being dragged out.
The outcome of the appeal is awaited with interest.
Author Bio: Thomas Barry is a Partner in Thomas Barry & Company, a legal practice based in Dublin. He has over 30 years experience. He regularly writes on legal issues.