Acting for both claimants and defendants, defamation, libel and the related subjects of false arrest or imprisonment have always been areas of practice for us.

For that reason our attention was piqued by an article by Hugh O’Connell in the Sunday Independent of 13 February 2022 anticipating the report of a group set up to review the Defamation Act. According to the author the report will recommend:

  • The abolition of juries for High Court cases,
  • No cap on damages that a court can award,
  • No blanket ‘serious harm’ test to discourage so-called trivial libel claims,
  • An express power for defamation cases to be dismissed within two years of being filed if there has been no progress unless for specified reasons and
  • A new provision that the court must be satisfied Ireland is the appropriate place for a claim to be brought to deal with so-called “libel tourism”.

In addition, the report is expected to clarify issues around what represents fair and reasonable comment, the defence of innocent publication and the defence of honest opinion. The need to address online defamation, particularly via social media, is also highlighted. The group’s report is expected to inform a Defamation Amendment Bill to be bought to cabinet by Justice Minister, Helen McEntee.

We await further developments with interest. For more contact us HERE