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Defamation Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 7: Trial to be without a jury

This section removes the presumption in favour of jury trial in defamation cases.

Currently section 62 (1) of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 provides for a right to trial with a jury in certain civil proceedings (namely libel, slander, malicious prosecution, and false imprisonment) on the application of any party unless the court considers that the trial requires any “protracted examination of documents or accounts or any technical, scientific or local investigation which cannot conveniently be made with a jury”.

Section 7 removes libel and slander from the list of proceedings where a right to jury trial exists. The result will be that defamation cases will be tried without a jury unless a court orders otherwise.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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