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Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881

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E+W+N.I.

Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881

1881 CHAPTER 60 44 and 45 Vict

An Act to amend the Law of Newspaper Libel, and to provide for the Registration of Newspaper Proprietors.

[27th August 1881]

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Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1Functions of Board of Trade now exercisable concurrently by Secretary of State: S.I. 1970/1537, art. 2

C2Preamble omitted under authority of Statute Law Revision Act 1894 (c. 56)

C3This Act is not necessarily in the form in which it has effect in Northern Ireland

C4Act modified (E.W.) (3.1.1995) by 1994 c. 40, ss. 76, 82(2), Sch. 16 para. 1(2)

1 Interpretation. E+W+N.I.

In the construction of this Act, unless there is anything in the subject or context repugnant thereto, the several words and phrases herein-after mentioned shall have and include the meanings following; (that is to say,)

The word “registrar” shall mean in England the registrar for the time being of joint stock companies, or such person as the Board of Trade may for the time being authorise in that behalf, and in Ireland the assistant registrar for the time being of joint stock companies for Ireland, or such person as the Board of Trade may for the time being authorise in that behalf.

The phrase “registry office” shall mean the principal office for the time being of the registrar in England or Ireland, as the case may be, or such other office as the Board of Trade may from time to time appoint.

The word “newspaper” shall mean any paper containing public news, intelligence, or occurrences, or any remarks or observations therein printed for sale, and published in England or Ireland periodically, or in parts or numbers at intervals not exceeding twenty-six days between the publication of any two such papers, parts, or numbers.

Also any paper printed in order to be dispersed, and made public weekly or oftener, or at intervals not exceeding twenty-six days, containing only or principally advertisements.

The word “occupation” when applied to any person shall mean his trade or following, and if none, then his rank or usual title, as esquire, gentleman.

The phrase “place of residence” shall include the street, square or place where the person to whom it refers shall reside, and the number (if any) or other designation of the house in which he shall so reside.

The word “proprietor” shall mean and include as well the sole proprietor of any newspaper, as also in the case of a divided proprietorship the persons who, as partners or otherwise, represent and are responsible for any share or interest in the newspaper as between themselves and the persons in like manner representing or responsible for the other shares or interests therein, and no other person.

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Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C5References to Ireland to be construed as exclusive of Republic of Ireland: S.R. & O. 1923/405 (Rev. X, p. 298: 1923, p. 400), art. 2

2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F1E+W+N.I.

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Amendments (Textual)

3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F2E+W+N.I.

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Amendments (Textual)

4 Inquiry by court of summary jurisdiction as to libel being for public benefit or being true.E+W+N.I.

A court of summary jurisdiction, upon the hearing of a charge against a proprietor, publisher, or editor, or any person responsible for the publication of a newspaper, for a libel published therein, may receive evidence as to the publication being for the public benefit, and as to the matters charged in the libel being true, and as to the report being fair and accurate, and published without malice, and as to any matter which under this or any other Act, or otherwise, might be given in evidence by way of defence by the person charged on his trial on indictment, and the court, if of opinion after hearing such evidence that there is a strong or probable presumption that the jury on the trial would acquit the person charged, may dismiss the case.

5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F3E+W+N.I.

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Amendments (Textual)

6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F4E+W+N.I.

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Amendments (Textual)

7 Board of Trade may authorise registration of the names of only a portion of the proprietors of a newspaper.E+W+N.I.

Where, in the opinion of the Board of Trade, inconvenience would arise or be caused in any case from the registry of the names of all the proprietors of the newspaper (either owing to minority, coverture, absence from the United Kingdom, minute sub-division of shares, or other special circumstances), it shall be lawful for the Board of Trade to authorise the registration of such newspaper in the name or names of some one or more responsible “representative proprietors”.

8 Register of newspaper proprietors to be established.E+W+N.I.

A register of the proprietors of newspapers as defined by this Act shall be established under the superintendence of the registrar.

9 Annual returns to be made.E+W+N.I.

It shall be the duty of the printers and publishers for the time being of every newspaper to make or cause to be made to the Registry Office in the month of July in every year, a return of the following particulars according to the Schedule A. hereunto annexed; that is to say,

(a)The title of a newspaper:

(b)The names of all the proprietors of such newspaper together with their respective occupations, places of business (if any), and places of residence.

10 Penalty for omission to make annual returns.E+W+N.I.

If within the further period of one month after the time herein-before appointed for the making of any return as to any newspaper such return be not made, then each printer and publisher of such newspaper shall, on conviction thereof, be liable to a penalty not exceeding [F5level 2 on the standard scale], and also to be directed by a summary order to make a return within a specified time.

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Amendments (Textual)

F5Words substituted (E.W.) by virtue of Criminal Justice Act 1982 (c. 48, SIF 39:1), s. 46

11 Power to party to make return.E+W+N.I.

Any party to a transfer or transmission of or dealing with any share of or interest in any newspaper whereby any person ceases to be a proprietor or any new proprietor is introduced may at any time make or cause to be made to the Registry Office a return according to the Schedule B. hereunto annexed and containing the particulars therein set forth.

12 Penalty for wilful mis-representation in or omission from return.E+W+N.I.

If any person shall knowingly and wilfully make or cause to be made any return by this Act required or permitted to be made in which shall be inserted or set forth the name of any person as a proprietor of a newspaper who shall not be a proprietor thereof, or in which there shall be any misrepresentation, or from which there shall be any omission in respect of any of the particulars by this Act required to be contained therein whereby such return shall be misleading, or if any proprietor of a newspaper shall knowingly and wilfully permit any such return to be made which shall be misleading as to any of the particulars with reference to his own name, occupation, place of business (if any), or place of residence, then and in every such case every such offender being convicted thereof shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding [F6level 3 on the standard scale].

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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.

Amendments (Textual)

13 Registrar to enter returns in register.E+W+N.I.

It shall be the duty of the registrar and he is hereby required forthwith to register every return made in conformity with the provisions of this Act in a book to be kept for that purpose at the Registry Office and called “the register of newspaper proprietors,” and all persons shall be at liberty to search and inspect the said book from time to time during the hours of business at the Registry Office, and any person may require a copy of any entry in or an extract from the book to be certified by the registrar or his deputy for the time being or under the official seal of the registrar.

14 Fees payable for registrar’s services.E+W+N.I.

There shall be paid in respect of the receipt and entry of returns made in conformity with the provisions of this Act, and for the inspection of the register of newspaper proprietors, and for certified copies of any entry therein, and in respect of any other services to be performed by the registrar, such fees (if any) as the Board of Trade with the approval of the Treasury may direct and as they shall deem requisite to defray as well the additional expenses of the Registry Office caused by the provisions of this Act, as also the further remunerations and salaries (if any) of the registrar, and of any other persons employed under him in the execution of this Act, and such fees shall be dealt with as the Treasury may direct.

15 Copies of entries in and extracts from register to be evidence.E+W+N.I.

Every copy of an entry in or extract from the register of newspaper proprietors, purporting to be certified by the registrar or his deputy for the time being, or under the official seal of the registrar, shall be received as conclusive evidence of the contents of the said register of newspaper proprietors, so far as the same appear in such copy or extract without proof of the signature thereto or of the seal of office affixed thereto, and every such certified copy or extract shall in all proceedings, civil or criminal, be accepted as sufficient primâ facie evidence of all the matters and things thereby appearing, unless and until the contrary thereof be shown.

16 Recovery of penalties and enforcement of orders.E+W+N.I.

All penalties under this Act may be recovered before a court of summary jurisdiction in manner provided by the Summary Jurisdiction Acts.

Summary orders under this Act may be made by a court of summary jurisdiction, . . . F7

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Amendments (Textual)

17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F8E+W+N.I.

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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.

Amendments (Textual)

18 Provisions as to registration of newspaper proprietors not to apply to newspaper belonging to joint stock company.E+W+N.I.

The provisions as to the registration of newspaper proprietors contained in this Act shall not apply to the case of any newspaper which belongs to a joint stock company duly incorporated under and subject to the provisions of the Companies Acts 1862 to 1879.

19 Act not to extend to Scotland.E+W+N.I.

This Act shall not extend to Scotland.

20 Short title.E+W+N.I.

This Act may for all purposes be cited as the Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881.

THE SCHEDULES to which this Act refers

Section 9.

SCHEDULE AE+W+N.I. Return made pursuant to the Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881

Title of the NewspaperNames of the ProprietorsOccupations of the ProprietorsPlaces of business (if any) of the ProprietorsPlaces of Residence of the Proprietors

Section 11.

SCHEDULE BE+W+N.I. Return made pursuant to the Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881

Title of NewspaperNames of Persons who cease to be ProprietorsNames of Persons who become ProprietorsOccupation of new ProprietorsPlaces of business (if any) of new ProprietorsPlaces of Residence of new Proprtietors

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