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Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Act 2021

Section 34: Interruption of limitation period: media complaints and expert determination

153.Section 34 inserts a new section 19CC into the 1973 Act. It specifies, in subsection (1), that in any computation of the limitation period, any relevant period in relation to a relevant matter is to be disregarded. This is similar to provision in the 1973 Act in cases where the parties are engaged in arbitration or mediation.

154.Subsection (2) includes provision specifying the start and end point of any relevant matter. The approach adopted is based on section 19CA of the 1973 Act. In cases where parties are involved in an ongoing arbitration, the duration of the arbitration is disregarded when calculating the limitation period (i.e. the limitation period is effectively ‘frozen’ for the duration of the arbitration). This gives all sets of parties who engage in a relevant matter the benefit of an automatic interruption of the limitation period whenever parties engage in such a relevant matter, being a “complaints process” or “expert determination” as defined in subsection (4).

155.Subsection (5) grants Scottish Ministers power to amend those definitions by way of regulations which are to be subject to the affirmative procedure under subsection (6).

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