Defamation Bill (HL Bill 84)
Defamation BillPage 10
The wording of any summary and the time, manner, form and place of its
publication are to be for the parties to agree.
If the parties cannot agree on the wording, the wording is to be settled by the
If the parties cannot agree on the time, manner, form or place of publication,
the court may give such directions as to those matters as it considers reasonable
and practicable in the circumstances.
This section does not apply where the court gives judgment for the claimant
under section 8(3) of the Defamation Act 1996 (summary disposal of claims).
Removal, etc of statements
15 Order to remove statement or cease distribution etc
Where a court gives judgment for the claimant in an action for defamation the
court may order—
the operator of a website on which the defamatory statement is posted
to remove the statement, or
any person who was not the author, editor or publisher of the
defamatory statement to stop distributing, selling or exhibiting
material containing the statement.
In this section “author”, “editor” and “publisher” have the same meaning as in
section 1 of the Defamation Act 1996.
(3) Subsection (1) does not affect the power of the court apart from that subsection.
16 Special damage
(1) The Slander of Women Act 1891 is repealed.
The publication of a statement that conveys the imputation that a person has a
contagious or infectious disease does not give rise to a cause of action for
slander unless the publication causes the person special damage.
17 Meaning of “publish” and “statement”
In this Act—
“publish” and “publication”, in relation to a statement, have the meaning
they have for the purposes of the law of defamation generally;
“statement” means words, pictures, visual images, gestures or any other
method of signifying meaning.
18 Consequential amendments and savings etc
Section 8 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (defamation actions) is
amended in accordance with subsections (2) and (3).
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In subsection (3) for “of justification or fair comment or” substitute “under
section 4 or 5 of the Defamation Act 2013 which is available to him or any
In subsection (5) for “the defence of justification” substitute “a defence under
section 4 of the Defamation Act 2013”.
Nothing in section 1 or 16 affects any cause of action accrued before the
commencement of the section in question.
Nothing in sections 4 to 9 or 12 has effect in relation to an action for defamation
if the cause of action accrued before the commencement of the section in
In determining whether section 10 applies, no account is to be taken of any
publication made before the commencement of the section.
Nothing in section 11 or 13 has effect in relation to an action for defamation
begun before the commencement of the section in question.
In determining for the purposes of subsection (7)(a) of section 5 whether a
person would have a defence under section 6 to any action for defamation, the
operation of subsection (5) of this section is to be ignored.
19 Short title, extent and commencement
(1) This Act may be cited as the Defamation Act 2013.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), this Act extends to England and Wales only.
(3) The following provisions also extend to Scotland—
(a) section 8;
(b) section 9(9);
(c) section 17;
(d) section 18(5) (in so far as it relates to sections 8 and 9(9));
(e) this section.
Subject to subsections (5) and (6), the provisions of this Act come into force on
such day as the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument
Sections 8 and 9(9) come into force in so far as they extend to Scotland on such
day as the Scottish Ministers may by order appoint.
Section 17, subsections (4) to (8) of section 18 and this section come into force
on the day on which this Act is passed.
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SCHEDULE 1 Recognition Commission
This Schedule provides the method by which the Recognition Commission
may be constituted for the purposes of this Act.
Appointments to membership of the Recognition Commission will be made
by the Lord Chief Justice.
An individual may be appointed only if he or she has consented to act and
(a) a present or former Civil Service Commissioner;
a present or former holder of high judicial office (within the meaning
of Part 3 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005); or
a person who in the opinion of the Lord Chief Justice is suitable for
appointment having regard to their reputation and experience and is
independent of all political parties and all media organisations.
The Recognition Commission must consider whether an Independent
Regulatory Board body has—
sufficient guarantees of independence, including suitable
independent, fair and transparent procedures for appointments and
suitable functions, powers, personnel and resources to ensure that it
can fulfil its principal objectives effectively,
(c) an appropriate standards code,
an arbitration service able to deal with defamation and related civil
claims, effective processes for upholding standards,
(e) an efficient procedure for handling complaints,
and is open to all news publishers.
The Recognition Commission must review a recognised regulator at least
once during the period of two years beginning with the date of certification,
and at intervals of not more than three years after that.
If having reviewed a body the Recognition Commission is no longer
satisfied that it complies with paragraph 4, the Recognition Commission
must consult the body and give directions designed to ensure that the body
complies with paragraph 4 within a reasonable time.
If the body fails to comply with directions given under paragraph 6 the
Recognition Commission must revoke the body’s certification.
The Recognition Commission shall not be involved in the regulation of any
subscriber to an Independent Regulatory Board.
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SCHEDULE 2 Specialist arbitration service
An Independent Regulatory Board must provide an arbitration service in
relation to defamation and related civil legal claims drawing on
independent legal experts on a cost-only basis to the subscribing member.
The arbitration rules must provide for a fair, quick and inexpensive process,
which is inquisitorial and free for complainants to use (save for a power to
make an adverse order for the costs of the arbitrator if proceedings are
frivolous or vexatious).
The arbitrator shall have the powers set out in section 48(3) to (5) of the
Arbitration Act 1996.
The arbitrator must be able to hold hearings where necessary or dispense
with them where not necessary.
The process must include provision for frivolous or vexatious claims to be
struck out at an early stage.