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Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Act 2021


Section 35: Consequential modifications

156.Section 35 makes amendments to other enactments in consequence of provisions made in the Act.

157.Subsection (1) provides for the repeal of a number of provisions of the 1952 Act, to reflect the placing on a statutory footing of the common law defences of veritas and fair comment, along with such equivalents of verbal injury as are to be provided for.

158.Subsection (2) makes consequential amendments to section 8 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This reflects the new statutory defences of truth and honest opinion. Section 8 of the 1974 Act applies to actions for defamation brought by rehabilitated persons based on statements made about offences which are the subject of a spent conviction.

159.Subsections (3) and (4) provide for repeal of the provisions relating to privilege which are re-enacted by sections 9 to 11 and the schedule of the Act, together with other minor consequential repeals.

Section 36: Interpretation

160.Section 36 provides definitions for key terms used throughout the Act.

Section 37: Regulations

161.Section 37 allows regulations under the Act to include the ancillary provision listed, and to make different provision for different purposes.

Section 38: Ancillary provision

162.Section 38 allows the Scottish Ministers, by regulations, to make standalone ancillary provision in relation to the Act, once enacted, or any provision made under it. Any ancillary provision amending primary legislation will be subject to the affirmative procedure; otherwise ancillary provision will be subject to the negative procedure.

Section 39: Commencement

163.Section 39 makes provision in relation to the commencement of the Act. The sections on interpretation, regulations, commencement and the short title came into force automatically on 22 April 2021, being the day after the Act received Royal Assent. The other substantive provisions will come into force in accordance with regulations made by the Scottish Ministers.

164.Section 32(5) provides for the insertion of new subsection (3A) into section 18A of the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973, which makes saving provision in relation to existing rights of action. Section 39(4) would allow this provision to be clarified at the point of commencement so that, rather than a general reference to the day on which section 32 of this Act comes into the force, section 18A(3A) would contain a reference to a specific calendar date.

Section 40: Short title

165.Section 40 provides that the Act may be referred to as the Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Act 2021.

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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.


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