- Latest available (Revised)
- Original (As enacted)
There are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk editorial team to Defamation Act 1996. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations.
Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. Changes and effects are recorded by our editorial team in lists which can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area. Where those effects have yet to be applied to the text of the legislation by the editorial team they are also listed alongside the legislation in the affected provisions. Use the ‘more’ link to open the changes and effects relevant to the provision you are viewing.
This section lists the changes and effects yet to be applied to the whole Act, associated Parts and Chapters where applicable. This includes any insertions of whole new Parts, Chapters or provisions yet to be inserted into this Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing.
This section lists the commencement orders yet to be applied to the whole Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing. Where applicable the commencement orders are listed under two headings, firstly those that bring some part of the Act you are viewing into force and secondly, those that bring into force legislation that affects some part of the legislation you are viewing. If you are viewing a prospective version or there is a prospective version available there may be commencement orders listed here that are relevant to the provision you are viewing.
(1)In defamation proceedings a person has a defence if he shows that—
(a)he was not the author, editor or publisher of the statement complained of,
(b)he took reasonable care in relation to its publication, and
(c)he did not know, and had no reason to believe, that what he did caused or contributed to the publication of a defamatory statement.
(2)For this purpose “editor” and “publisher” have the following meanings, which are further explained in subsection (3)— ”, “
“” means the originator of the statement, but does not include a person who did not intend that his statement be published at all;
“editor” means a person having editorial or equivalent responsibility for the content of the statement or the decision to publish it; and
“publisher” means a commercial publisher, that is, a person whose business is issuing material to the public, or a section of the public, who issues material containing the statement in the course of that business.
(3)A person shall not be considered the author, editor or publisher of a statement if he is only involved—
(a)in printing, producing, distributing or selling printed material containing the statement;
(b)in processing, making copies of, distributing, exhibiting or selling a film or sound recording (as defined in Part I of the M1Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) containing the statement;
(c)in processing, making copies of, distributing or selling any electronic medium in or on which the statement is recorded, or in operating or providing any equipment, system or service by means of which the statement is retrieved, copied, distributed or made available in electronic form;
(d)as the broadcaster of a live programme containing the statement in circumstances in which he has no effective control over the maker of the statement;
(e)as the operator of or provider of access to a communications system by means of which the statement is transmitted, or made available, by a person over whom he has no effective control.
In a case not within paragraphs (a) to (e) the court may have regard to those provisions by way of analogy in deciding whether a person is to be considered the author, editor or publisher of a statement.
(4)Employees or agents of an author, editor or publisher are in the same position as their employer or principal to the extent that they are responsible for the content of the statement or the decision to publish it.
(5)In determining for the purposes of this section whether a person took reasonable care, or had reason to believe that what he did caused or contributed to the publication of a defamatory statement, regard shall be had to—
(a)the extent of his responsibility for the content of the statement or the decision to publish it,
(b)the nature or circumstances of the publication, and
(c)the previous conduct or character of the author, editor or publisher.
(6)This section does not apply to any cause of action which arose before the section came into force.
Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.
Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.
Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including: