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Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Act 2021

Section 15: Offer to make amends: multiple persons responsible for statement

96.Section 15 of the Act provides for what happens when there is an offer to make amends and there are multiple persons responsible for the allegedly defamatory statement.

97.Subsection (1) sets out the parameters of the section. It provides that the section applies where a person has a right to bring defamation proceedings against more than one person in respect of an allegedly defamatory statement and that person has accepted an offer of amends under section 13 made by one of those persons.

98.Subsection (2) provides that the acceptance of an offer of amends made by one of the people responsible for the statement does not affect the right of the person accepting the offer to bring defamation proceedings against another person.

99.Subsections (3) and (4) make provision as to the level of compensation payable by the person making the offer to make amends in a situation where several people are jointly responsible for the statement. Section 3(2) of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1940 is applied in relation to compensation paid under an offer to make amends. The effect of this is that a person (“A”) who has paid compensation under an offer of amends is entitled to recover from any other person against whom defamation proceedings could have been taken in respect of the statement, and who might also have been held liable to pay damages, such contribution, if any, as the court may deem just. Under subsection (4), where a person other than A is liable in respect of the same damage (whether jointly or otherwise), A is not required to pay to that person, by virtue of any contribution under section 3(2) of the 1940 Act, an amount greater than the amount of compensation payable under the offer made by A.

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