Search Legislation

Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Act 2002

Section 17 – Protection from actions of defamation

95.Subsection (1) at paragraph (a) provides the Commissioner with absolute privilege for all reports, statements and communications on a complaint whether with the complainer, a witness or the member of the Parliament complained about. The provision of absolute privilege effectively places a bar on a person’s right to pursue an action of defamation in respect of statements made by the Commissioner. This allows the Commissioner to carry out investigations without being fettered in relation to the repetition of any defamatory material received.

96.Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) provides individuals who make complaints or members or witnesses who respond to complaints with qualified privilege. Under qualified privilege individuals can make complaints and can assist in the investigation of complaints without fear of an action for defamation provided statements are not motivated by malice or intent to injure. “Statement” has the same meaning as in the Defamation Act 1996 and therefore includes words, pictures, visual images, gestures or any other method of signifying meaning.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources