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09 July 2020

Reform of Defamation Law in Scotland

7 March 2019

Scottish PEN

Scottish PEN has been working to reform defamation law in Scotland. In January the Scottish Government announced a public consultation on reform that they are keen to get as many people as possible to respond to. If the Scottish Government sees a large number of responses in favour of reform then Scottish PEN believes we can get close to better protections for free expression in Scotland. To this end, they have produced a guide for responding to the reform to help walk people through the process.

The guide can be accessed here.

Scottish PEN hope this will encourage more people to get involved. To submit your views, go to the Scottish Government website: Defamation in Scots Law


About the Scottish Government Consultation

In December 2017 the Scottish Law Commission ("the Commission") published their Report on Defamation which aimed to reform Scots law on defamation. This consultation seeks views on some recommendations made by the Commission in the following areas:

  • The statutory threshold test of serious harm;
  • Proceedings against secondary publishers;
  • The defence of honest opinion;
  • Offers to make amends;
  • Malicious publications; and,
  • Limitation and the multiple publication rule. 

This consultation also seeks views on issues that were not raised as a part of the Commission's reform project including

  • Defining defamation; and
  • Making unjustified legal threats an actionable delict.

The closing date for submissions is 5 April 2019.

See the Scottish Government website: Defamation in Scots Law.