Aspects of Defamation Procedure: A scoping study

Current project status

  • Initiation: Could include discussing scope and terms of reference with lead Government Department
  • Pre-consultation: Could include approaching interest groups and specialists, producing scoping and issues papers, finalising terms of project
  • Consultation: Likely to include consultation events and paper, making provisional proposals for comment
  • Policy development: Will include analysis of consultation responses. Could include further issues papers and consultation on draft Bill
  • Reported: Usually recommendations for law reform but can be advice to government, scoping report or other recommendations

We published our final scoping report on 29 May 2002

On 31 January 2002, the Lord Chancellor’s Department asked the Law Commission to undertake a scoping study into perceived abuses of defamation procedure. In particular the Lord Chancellor’s Department was concerned to find out, first, whether “gagging” writs and letters cause a problem in practice, and secondly, whether claimants routinely target those secondary publishers of a
defamatory publication who are less able to establish a defence (so-called “tactical targeting”).

The purpose of this scoping study was to determine, by consulting organisations affected by this area of the law and defamation practitioners, whether any problems exist and, if so, their nature and extent.

We published our scoping report on 29 May 2002.

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Project details