Defenses for Defamation

Topics: Defamation, Tort, Fair comment Pages: 3 (1019 words) Published: November 19, 2008
There are four major defenses which can be relied upon defamation, justification, fair comment, absolute privilege; and qualified privilege. (Discuss) Qualified privilege, this exists for the same fundamental purpose as absolute privilege which is to protect those who say defamatory statements in circumstances where the common convenience and welfare of society demand such protection. If we compare absolute privilege and qualified privilege we can see that absolute privilege is limited to some defined occasions. On the other hand, qualified privilege applies to the protection of a wider variety of situations whereby it is in the public interest that individuals are able to comment freely on what they honestly believe to be true in their eyes, without being afraid of legal liability. Absolute privilege main aim is to protect the interest of the defendant while qualified privilege is to protect the interest of the plaintiff. In order for the plaintiff to be protected he/she would have to show proof that the defendant maliciously said something that caused harm to him/her. Qualified privilege deals with statements which are done in circumstances dealing with, self defence, legal moral and social duty, and also with parties having a common interest. Under social duty let’s say Kriston stole Noel’s bike and I am witness of that, so I run to call noel and tell him that Kriston is a thief because I saw when he stole his bike, in this case Noel will be unable to sue me for slander because I am saying the truth and I will be protected under this defense because it isn’t an untrue statement. Statements under self defense are statements made against a person who is trying to defame someone. The plaintiff is trying to protect his/her reputation. A case that falls under self defense is the case Osborn v Boulter. The principle in this case is that the defendant in this case, is not entitled to make unnecessary imputations of his attacker especially with statements that...
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