Reform of Defamation Law in Scotland
7 March 2019
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
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.