Note: All emboldening is highlights not included in the original document released by the Lord Chancellor's department


Reforming Defamation Law and Procedure

Consultation of Draft Bill

July 1995

[ Foreward | Draft of the Bill | The text of the Bill | Schedules ]

Foreward

It gives me great pleasure to bring forward a draft Defamation Bill which has been prepared to show in detail how the Government would implement the important reforms which we have proposed to improve this area of the law. This package of reforms is designed to bring defamation law up to date and to improve and simplify the procedures for litigants who are unfortunate enough to become involved in an action for libel or slander.

I am very grateful to Lord Justice Neill and the members of his working group, whose recommendations on practice and procedure in defamation greatly assisted me in considering what reforms were needed. Many of the reforms in the draft Bill are the result of their recommendations. I would also like to thank Lord Hoffmann and Lord Hooson, who suggested to me that some of the problems now facing litigants in defamation proceedings could be overcome by making a new and speedy remedy available to them. Thanks go too, to the many others whose constructive suggestions have helped us to produce the draft Bill.

By publishing the draft now, I hope to continue the process of perfecting the detailed provisions, and further contributions to this process will be warmly welcomed.

Mackay of Clashfern


INTRODUCTION

1.1 The Government has responded to dissatisfaction which has been expressed about some aspects of defamation law and procedure, by proposing reforms which will streamline and simplify the procedure, and bring the law up to date.

1.2 Most of these reforms follow recommendations which were made by a working group under the chairmanship of Lord Justice Neill in response to the Lord Chancellor's invitation to the Supreme Court Procedure Committee to investigate and propose changes to improve defamation procedure. The working group's report (known as "The Neill Report") was published in July 1991.

  • These proposals for reform include
    • a new offer of amends defence, enabling a defendant to curtail proceedings by making an offer where he recognises that the plaintiff has been defamed and is willing to pay damages assessed by a judge,
    • the reduction of the time within which defamation proceedings must be begun from three years to one,
    • and the revision of some technical rules of defamation law which can now lead to unjust results.
  • The design of a special new summary procedure, allowing judges to dispose quickly of straightforward and less serious defamation claims, grew from a suggestion made by Lord Hoffmann.
  • The modernisation of the defence of innocent dissemination follows recognition that nowadays there are many people who may have some hand in producing a publication which is defamatory, and could face liability, although it is unreasonable to expect them to be concerned with the content of the publication .

1.3 All the reforms have been decided following public consultation, during which they have been widely welcomed. Although each one has already had a public airing in outline, these reforms all require primary legislation to introduce them. A draft Defamation Bill has now been prepared setting out the detailed provisions needed to put the reforms in place. The legislation will be supplemented by new procedural rules.

1.4 The Lord Chancellor is very pleased to publish his draft Defamation Bill, with a short commentary explaining how the reforms will work. Publication in advance of introduction in Parliament allows consultation to take place on the details of drafting and on the clarity of structure and presentation. This helps to ensure that Bills will be introduced in the best possible form, with the benefit of all the expert scrutiny and constructive practical advice which may be offered. The Government is hoping to increase the number of draft bills which will published in this way.

1.5 The draft Defamation Bill will be circulated to the widest possible audience, including Members of Parliament, the judiciary and lawyers, as well as members of the public and businesses who are likely to be involved in defamation proceedings and are therefore the real consumers who will benefit from the reforms.

1.6 Comments should be sent, as soon as possible, but by 23 October at the latest, addressed to:

Adrian Compton-Cook 
Civil Policy Division 
Lord Chancellor's Department 
Trevelyan House 
30 Great Peter Street 
London 
SW1 P 2BY 
Fax: 0171-210-8559

1.7 The confidentiality of respondents will be respected if they so wish, but if no such request is made, it will be assumed that a response is not intended to be confidential.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR PUBLICATION

2.1 The cause of action in libel arises from the publication rather than the writing of defamatory matter. Those who are considered to have only a secondary role in the distribution of defamatory material may avoid liability if they did not know, and were not negligent in not knowing, about the defamatory content of the material they distributed. This answer to a libel claim is known as the "defence" of innocent dissemination. Those who have invoked the defence include carriers, newsagents, booksellers and libraries. It is probably not available to printers, or other technicians who may be involved at some stage in the production of the published material without being concerned with the substance of what is published.

2.2 The terms "publication" and "publisher" have very wide meanings in the context of defamation, and are used to refer to the transmission of defamatory material to a single individual, as well as in the more conventional sense of commercial publication. Modern technology has had a tremendous impact on the world of commercial publishing. The printing industry has already been revolutionised by new processes which can allow printers to produce a finished printed work without seeing one word of the author's material in written form. Similar processes have automated the production of other media which are equally capable of carrying defamatory material. Moreover, recent years have brought technology which is steadily reducing our dependence on the printed word for everyday communications. Information can be disseminated in a form which gives the recipient the option to convert it to a readable form, either presented on a VDU screen, or printed on the recipient's own printer. Progress is now so rapid, that tomorrow's technology may well make even these advances appear old fashioned.

2.3 None of these technologies was contemplated when the judges first considered that there were intermediaries who should not be liable in defamation despite having been instrumental in bringing defamatory material to an audience. Yet many of the technicians now involved in processing and transmitting the author's words to his public may be regarded as the modern equivalent of the "carriers" for whom the defence was created. Clause 1 modernises the defence to match the modern world of communications. It creates a new statutory defence which will be available to those who do not have primary responsibility for the publication. It will never be available to the author (unless the author did not intend the statement to be published) or to the editor or commercial publisher responsible for the publication. Sub-section (4) provides examples of contributors who will not be regarded as primarily responsible, and these examples should provide guidelines for deciding which activities would not carry primary responsibility, over a wide range of media, including those which may be developed in the future.

2.4 The defence of innocent dissemination has never provided an absolute immunity for distributors, however mechanical their contribution. It does not protect those who knew that the material they were handling was defamatory, or who ought to have known of its nature. Those safeguards are preserved, so that the defence is not available to a defendant who knew that his act involved or contributed to publication defamatory of the plaintiff. It is available only if, having taken all reasonable care, the defendant had no reason to suspect that his act had that effect. Sub-sections (5) and (6) describe factors which will be taken into account in determining whether the defendant took all reasonable care.

2.5 Although it has been suggested that the defence should always apply unless the plaintiff is able to show that the defendant did indeed have the disqualifying knowledge or cause for suspicion, only the defendant knows exactly what care he has taken. Accordingly, as in most defences, it is for the defendant to show that the defence applies to him.

2.6 The new defence to replace and modernise innocent dissemination takes account of the rapid advances which have been made in the technology of communications. Most recently the extraordinary expansion of computer network systems has focused attention on the possibility of defamatory material appearing or being available at an almost infinite number of widely dispersed outlets. We invite comments as to whether it would be considered helpful if there were legislation to clarify any doubts as to when and where publication has taken place.

OFFER OF AMENDS

3.1 Since 1952, a statutory defence (under section 4 of the Defamation Act 1952) has been available to any defendant who has published defamatory matter, but who can prove that he did not intend to do so, and is prepared to offer a correction and apology by way of amends. The defence has been little used, partly because the procedure to be followed is cumbersome and demanding, imposing on the defendant the difficult task of acting, and proving his innocence positively at a very early stage.

3.2 Following a recommendation in the Neill Report, clauses 2-4 substitute a more straightforward and usable defence. The new defence will be available to any defendant who is prepared to offer amends, including compensatory damages to be assessed by a judge, provided he is not shown to have known about or been indifferent to the possibility of defaming the plaintiff. It will be presumed, until the contrary is shown, that he did not publish the defamatory statement knowingly.

3.3 The defendant may, but need not, make his offer even before a writ is issued against him, but in any event, it must be made before any defence is served. However, an offer is not compatible with any other defence, and cannot succeed if the defendant seeks to defend on any other ground. If it is made before the plaintiff starts any proceedings, future proceedings can only be to follow up the offer. Similarly, if the plaintiff had already begun proceedings, his acceptance of the offer operates as a bar to any further step in the proceedings, except for determining and carrying out the offer.

3.4 Once an offer has been accepted, the parties will normally attempt to reach agreement on the details of what the defendant must do to fulfil his offer to the satisfaction of the plaintiff, with further recourse to the court only if they cannot reach agreement on any of those details.

3.5 Assessment of damages will be a matter for the judge who will always determine them without a jury. The damages will be assessed on the normal principles for defamation damages, but the assessment will reflect all the other steps which the defendant has taken to make amends. A defendant who has made amends cannot be asked to contribute to any damages awarded against another defendant.

3.6 If the plaintiff's case is that the defendant was acting with knowledge, or recklessly, or that the offer is defective in some other way, that will be the deciding issue. If the offer is found to be defective, the defendant will have no defence and cannot raise any other. If the offer is found to be good, the defendant has an absolute defence to the plaintiff's claim.

THE LIMITATION PERIOD

4.1 A limitation period is a period prescribed by statute within which a plaintiff must commence proceedings to enforce a right. If proceedings are commenced after that period has expired, the defendant may raise a defence of limitation, which will be a complete answer to the plaintiff's claim. The claim is then said to be "statute-barred". Limitation rules protect defendants by bringing certainty to legal proceedings and preventing old and stale claims from being resurrected.

4.2 Since 1984 the limitation period for defamation claims has been three years from when the cause of action accrued, which will usually be the date of publication. If, however, the plaintiff was not aware of relevant facts until after the period has expired, the court may allow his claim to proceed provided it is brought within a year from the time when he first knew the relevant facts. He will in fact be better off than a plaintiff who found out about the publication just before the three years expired, and must nevertheless act before it actually does expire.

4.3 The main purpose of a defamation claim is to repair the damage done to the plaintiff's reputation, and that should be done quickly if it is to be effective. In most cases, the plaintiff can be expected to start proceedings very soon after the publication, and certainly within twelve months. Clause 5 accordingly reduces the limitation period from three years to one, but the court will have a discretion to allow actions begun later to proceed if in all the circumstances that would be fair.

4.4 The most obvious reason for failing to act within the year is that the plaintiff did not know about the publication in time. But there may be other reasonable grounds for delay, including where the plaintiff has tried to avoid litigation by seeking a remedy under an alternative form of dispute resolution, or where the viability of his claim depended on the outcome of other pending proceedings, such as a criminal prosecution or disciplinary proceedings affecting the reputation which the plaintiff is seeking to protect. The court is therefore directed to have regard to the reasons for the delay, whatever they are.

4.5 There are other specific factors which may need to be taken into account, such as whether the defendant has contributed to the delay, and whether the plaintiff has got on with his claim as promptly as he could, as well as possible deterioration of the evidence with the passage of time, but the overriding test will be whether it is equitable to allow the particular claim to proceed.

4.6 The reduction in the limitation period will also apply to actions for malicious falsehood. In many cases, the same facts could give rise to actions both for malicious falsehood and for defamation, and although the matters which the plaintiff must prove are not quite the same, the torts are so closely related that the same limitation period should apply to both. One difference between them, however, is that while the cause of action in defamation dies with either of the parties, that in malicious falsehood survives the death of one or both of them, so that the conduct of their personal representatives could be relevant in deciding whether or not it is equitable to allow an out of time action to proceed. This is taken into account in describing the matters to which the court will have regard.

THE MEANING OF WORDS

5.1 Where an action for defamation is tried with a jury, it is for the jury to decide the meaning of the words complained of. But the decision as to whether the words are capable of bearing a particular defamatory meaning is reserved to the judge, and he will withdraw from the jury any meaning, contended by the plaintiff, which in the judge's opinion a reasonable man could not understand the words to bear. There used to be no special interlocutory procedure for early disposal of that issue, which was usually left to the trial, but the defendant could apply to strike out the claim on the basis that it was not arguable (note: their italics) that the words complained of were capable of bearing a meaning defamatory of the plaintiff.

5.2 Following a recommendation in the Neill Report, the Rules of the Supreme Court have been amended so that, under Order 82 rule 3A, either party can now apply for an order determining whether or not the words complained of are capable of bearing a particular meaning or meanings attributed to them in the pleadings (i.e. whether the words can have that meaning, as opposed to whether that meaning could be defamatory). The judge may dismiss the claim if it appears to him that the words are not capable of bearing those meanings.

5.3 It is therefore quite pointless for the court to go through the additional stage of considering whether those words are arguably, as opposed to actually, capable of bearing particular meanings. The old "arguably capable" test is no longer needed, but clause 6 expressly provides that the court shall not be asked to rule on it. This recognises that the old test has been superseded, and may not be used as a delaying or other tactic.

SUMMARY PROCEDURE

6.1 The introduction of a new summary procedure for defamation claims is, undoubtedly, one the most innovative parts in this package of reforms. Hitherto, defamation proceedings have been exceptional, because it has been impossible for a plaintiff to apply for summary judgement on the basis that there is no arguable defence to his claim, even in the clearest possible case. Clause 7 therefore brings defamation into line with most other proceedings, but it goes much further than that in several ways. It creates an entirely new regime, under which every defamation action must come before the judge at an early stage, so that he can decide if the claim is suitable for summary disposal, whether or not the parties have asked him to do so. Moreover, the judge's powers of summary disposal will enable him to dismiss weak claims, and in the case of strong claims, to make a modest award in the plaintiff's favour, including damages up to a fixed ceiling, if he considers that the plaintiff would be adequately compensated.

6.2 Clauses 7 and 8 set out the powers which the judge will have on summary disposal of the claim, and clause 9 lays the framework for the new procedure, the details of which will be contained in new rules. It will not be possible for any claim to go to trial until there has been a hearing at which the judge has considered whether he should dispose of it summarily. The rules will allow either of the parties to apply for that hearing after the statement of claim has been served, but if neither does so, the rules will convert any other application made in the proceedings (with some exceptions) into an application for such a hearing. The rules will also lay down the procedure to be followed, including the form of the evidence to be considered at the hearing, to ensure that the issues are clearly defined, and the strength of the case on each side can be assessed.

6.3 If the judge is satisfied that the claim has no reasonable prospect of success, and that there is no reason for a trial, the claim will be dismissed. Otherwise, the outcome of the hearing will depend both on the strength of any defence which has been raised, and whether the relief which the judge has power to grant could provide the plaintiff with adequate compensation for any wrong suffered. He will have power to award damages, up to a ceiling which will initially be fixed at 10,000, although a different amount may be prescribed from time to time. He will also have power to grant an injunction restraining the defendant from publishing the material complained of, and to order the defendant to publish material reflecting that the plaintiff's claim against him has been upheld. The form of that publication will depend on whether the defendant is willing to publish a correction or apology which is satisfactory to the plaintiff. If not, the defendant will be obliged to publish the outcome of the case, probably in a special format summarising the judgement. If the judge considers that there is no arguable defence but that the exercise of his summary powers could not provide adequate compensation for the wrong suffered, the claim must go for trial in the usual way.

6.4 The judge will not dispose of the claim summarily if he concludes:

  • that there is an arguable defence:
    • on either of the traditional grounds of justification, or fair comment; or
    • under either of the two new statutory defences, namely that the defendant has made an offer of amends under clause 2 (see Chapter 3) or that the defendant is not responsible for the publication, under clause 1 (see Chapter 2); or
  • that there is another defence which has a reasonable prospect of success;
  • or that there is some other reason why there should be a trial.

This reflects the tests already established in other proceedings where summary judgment is available, recognising that there may be compelling reasons, other than the strength of the defence, which would justify a full trial of the claim. Examples are given, but other equally compellinq reasons could influence the judge.

6.5 The defendant must decide in advance of the hearing whether he wishes to offer amends. If he does so and the plaintiff accepts the offer, any further proceedings will be under clause 3 (see Chapter 3). If, however, the plaintiff challenges the offer of amends defence either by alleging knowledge or recklessness on the defendant's part, or in any other way, the judge may conclude that the claim has no realistic prospect of success and should be dismissed. Otherwise he may conclude that there is no arguable defence, and give judgment, or that there is an arguable defence so that the claim should go for trial.

6.6 Summary disposal of a claim will be a final determination of the plaintiff's claim against that defendant. If there are other defendants, he will not be affected by any judgment against them.

6.7 This early clarification of the issues, and testing the strength of both claim and defences, should encourage more parties to settle before trial, and even before the special hearing. For those claims which cannot be settled, it offers a streamlined disposal procedure where the claim is straightforward and less serious. Even if the issues are so complex, or the allegations so grave, that summary disposal cannot be appropriate, the cards will be on the table much sooner than is now the case.

6.8 At present, virtually all defamation proceedings are heard in the High Court, as county court jurisdiction is almost non-existent. The new procedure will filter out the less complex cases and those which, even if not trivial, are not weighty, and would probably be suitable for disposal in the county court. The Lord Chancellor will consider whether it would be appropriate to confer jurisdiction on the county court to hear such cases once the new procedure has been set up. He has power to do so under section 1 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.

EVIDENCE OF CONVICTIONS

7.1 Before 1968, a person's conviction of a criminal offence was not admissible in defamation or any other civil actions. The curious result in one case was that a plaintiff who had been convicted of robbery succeeded in an action for libel against a defendant who had published a statement that he was guilty of the robbery. After 11 years, the defendant was unable to prove justification, on the balance of probabilities, despite the previous conviction. The rules were changed following recommendations of the Law Reform Committee so that:

  • in a defamation action, proof that a person has been convicted of an offence is, where relevant, conclusive evidence that he committed the offence (Civil Evidence Act 1968, s. 13); and
  • in other civil proceedings, the fact of a person's conviction is admissible, but not conclusive, evidence that he committed the offence, (ibid, s. 1 1 ).

7.2 It is sometimes necessary to prove the guilt of a person who was not a party to the civil proceedings, e.g. in a claim against an employer who is vicariously liable for the acts of a convicted employee. However, the effect of making proof of a person's conviction conclusive in defamation proceedings to which he is not a party appears not to have been fully considered. As the Neill working group pointed out, this rule can operate unfairly when it prevents a party from challenging the correctness of some other person's conviction. It can inhibit a defendant, such as an investigative journalist, from justifying defamatory allegations about the conduct of police officers and others who were involved in the prosecution.

7.3 Clause 10 narrows the application of the rule which makes conviction evidence conclusive, to those cases where the convicted person is the plaintiff, or one of several plaintiffs. Proof of the conviction of any other person will still be admissible evidence, under section 11, but it will no longer be conclusive.

THE PLAINTIFF'S ENTITLEMENT TO DAMAGES

8.1 The essential purpose of the award of damages in a defamation action is to compensate the plaintiff for the harm done to his reputation. A previously unblemished reputation will be assumed, unless the defendant can show otherwise. He may produce evidence in mitigation of damages, to show that the plaintiff had a general bad reputation prior to the publication of the defamation complained of. But the plaintiff may have escaped acquiring a bad reputation, even though the defendant could prove that his conduct has been so appalling that he undoubtedly deserves one. In such cases, it is often difficult for the defendant to produce witnesses who will testify to the plaintiff's bad reputation, as opposed to particular acts of misconduct. Nevertheless, the rule known as the rule in Scott v Sampson [1882] 8 QBD 491 prevents the defendant from proving and relying on those acts of misconduct.

8.2 The Neill working group pointed out that the rule often caused a plaintiff to be over-vindicated and unfairly compensated, because he would recover what seemed to be an unduly generous award from a jury kept in ignorance of his misdemeanours and (which might be more serious from the public point of view) he was actually given a positively misleading vindication.

8.3 Clause 11 limits the plaintiff's right to damages so that he is not entitled to damages for injury to his reputation beyond what he would be entitled to if everything likely to affect his reputation were public knowledge. The defendant will be entitled to rely on particular discreditable acts and other matters which, if they were generally known, would affect the plaintiff's reputation at the time when the damages are assessed. This may include examples of the plaintiff's behaviour after the defamatory publication, but the defendant will not be able to rely on things which happened so long ago that they ought not to affect the plaintiff's present reputation in the eyes of reasonable people. The behaviour must relate to the plaintiff's reputation in the relevant sector of his life, for instance his business probity, or his conduct towards his family.

STATUTORY PRIVILEGE

9.1 By sections 7 and 9 of the Defamation Act 1952, specified categories of reports, published in newspapers, or broadcast, were given qualified privilege as a defence to an action for libel. Broadly these relate to reports of specified legislative and judicial proceedings, and proceedings at public meetings. A qualified privilege provides a defence, even where the defendant has published a statement which was defamatory and untrue, provided that he did not have an improper motive (such as ill-will or spite) for publishing it. In some cases, copies of official documents, or extracts, rather than reports of them attract the privilege.

9.2 The specified categories are set out in the Schedule to the Act, in a list which is divided into two parts. The first part broadly covers reports of legislative and judicial proceedings and proceedings of public inquiries and international organisations. Those listed in the second part relate to a range of public meetings and proceedings of associations. Reports in the second part are "subject to explanation or contradiction", which means that the defence is not available if it is proved that, although the defendant has been asked to publish a reasonable letter or statement by way of explanation or contradiction, he has not done so.

9.3 Clause 13 brings the privilege up to date in two ways. Firstly, it extends the privilege to all forms of publication. The 1952 privilege excluded many media - including free newspapers - which might now reasonably be expected to carry such reports as part of the service they provide. It also excluded one-off or occasional publications, and periodicals which appeared less than monthly. Since the privilege has always applied to historical reports, as well as to contemporaneous ones, it is difficult to see any justification for restricting it to publications which appear frequently, and broadcasts.

9.4 Secondly, it greatly extends the categories of reports and copies to which this privilege applies, by substituting a new Schedule. The universal requirement is that the report or copy should be fair and accurate. As recommended by the Neill working group, the new Schedule recognises that it is no longer appropriate to confine the privilege to reports of parliamentary and other proceedings in this country, and therefore extends the privilege to cover reports of legislative, court and other public proceedings, and official publications on a world wide basis. These reports will have the same privilege as reports of UK proceedings already have under the 1952 Act. The categories of report which are privileged, subject to explanation or contradiction, are also enlarged and modernised. This is broadly in line with the recommendations of the Faulks Committee, as indorsed by the Neill Report, with a capacity for further modernisation as it becomes necessary. This likely need is illustrated by the fact that the Faulks Committee recommended, in 1975, that the privilege should apply to reports of the adjudications, statements etc issued by several bodies, such as the Press Council, which have now ceased to exist but been superseded by new bodies.

9.5 Clause 12 confirms and clarifies the existing statutory privilege of contemporaneous reports of judicial proceedings. The privilege is absolute, which means that it will not be displaced even in the unlikely event of the report being published maliciously. The privilege will no longer be limited to reports appearing in newspapers, or on television or radio. Sub-section (2) makes allowance for those cases where truly contemporaneous reporting is prohibited by law, but a report appears soon after the restriction ceases to apply.

Defamation Bill

Arrangement of Clauses

    Responsibility for publication

  1. Responsibility for publication.

    Offer of amends

  2. Offer of amends.
  3. Effect of accepting offer of amends.
  4. Effect of not accepting offer of amends.

    Limitation

  5. Time limit for actions for defamation or malicious falsehood.

    The meaning of words

  6. Rulings on the meaning of words.

    Summary procedure

  7. Summary disposal of claim.
  8. Meaning of summary relief.
  9. Summary disposal: rules of court.

    Evidence of convictions

  10. Evidence of convictions

    The plaintiff's entitlement to damages

  11. The plaintiff's entitlement to damages

    Statutory privilege

  12. Reports of court proceedings absolutely privileged.
  13. Reports and statements protected by qualified privilege.

    Supplementary provisions

  14. Consequential amendments and repeals.
  15. Corresponding provision for Northern Ireland.
  16. Commencement.
  17. Extent.
  18. Short title and saving.

Schedules

  • Schedule 1 - Qualified Privilege.
    • Part I - Statements having Qualified Privilege without Explanation or Contradiction.
    • Part II - Statements Privileged Subject to Explanation or Contradiction.
    • Part III - Interpretation.
  • Schedule 2 - Consequential amendments.
  • Schedule 3 - Repeals.

DRAFT


OF A


BILL


INTITULED

An Act to amend the law of defamation and to amend the law of limitation with respect to actions for defamation and malicious falsehood. A.D. 1995.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

Responsibility for publication

1.
(1) In proceedings for defamation it is a defence for a person to show that he was not primarily responsible for the publication of the statement complained of and that he did not know, and having taken all reasonable care had no reason to suspect, that his acts involved or contributed to the publication of a statement defamatory of the plaintiff.

(2) For the purposes of this section the persons primarily responsible for the publication of a defamatory statement are the author, the editor and the publisher.

For this purpose -

  • "author" does not include a person who does not intend that his statement be published;
  • "editor" means any person having editorial or equivalent responsibility for the content of the statement or the decision to publish it; and
  • "publisher" means any person whose business is issuing material to the public, or a section of the public, and who publishes the statement in the course of that business.

(3) Employees or agents of a person primarily responsible for the publication of a defamatory statement are themselves primarily responsible if or to the extent that they are in fact responsible for the content of the statement or the decision to publish it, but not otherwise.

(4) The following shall not be regarded for the purposes of this section as primarily responsible for the publication of a defamatory statement -

(a) in the case of a defamatory statement contained in printed material, a person involved only in printing, producing, distributing or selling that in which the statement is contained;
(b)in the case of a defamatory statement contained in a film or sound recording, a person involved only in processing, making copies of, distributing, exhibiting or selling that in which the statement is contained;
(c) in the case of a defamatory statement published by electronic means, a person involved only -

(i) in processing, making copies of, distributing or selling any electronic medium in or on which the statement is recorded, or

(ii) in operating any equipment by means of which the statement is retrieved, copied or distributed;

(d) the broadcaster of an unrecorded defamatory statement made by a person for whose acts the broadcaster is not responsible;

(e) the operator of a communications system by means of which a defamatory statement is transmitted, or made available, by a person for whose acts the operator is not responsible.

The above provisions of this subsection are not an exhaustive statement of the persons who are or are not primarily responsible for the publication of a defamatory statement; but in cases to which the provisions do not apply the court shall have regard to them by way of analogy.

(5) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) whether a person took all reasonable care, regard shall be had to the extent (if any) to which he is in fact responsible for the content of the statement or the decision to publish it.

(6) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) whether a person had reason to suspect that his acts involved or contributed to the publication of a statement defamatory of the plaintiff, regard shall be had to whether the nature or circumstances of the publication, or the previous conduct or character of those primarily responsible, were such as to give cause for suspicion that his acts might involve or contribute to the publication of a defamatory statement.

(7) Subsections (5) and (6) are not an exhaustive statement of the matters to be taken into account for the purposes mentioned.

(8) In this section -

  • "film" and "sound recording" have the same meaning as in Part I of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988;
  • "plaintiff', in relation to proceedings in Scotland, means pursuer; and
  • "statement" includes pictures, visual images, gestures and other methods of signifying meaning.

(9) The provisions of this section do not affect any cause of action arising before this section comes into force.

Offer of amends

2.
(1) A person who has published a statement alleged to be defamatory of another may, if he claims that he did not do so intentionally, make an offer of amends under this section.

For this purpose it shall be presumed until the contrary is shown that a person publishing a statement defamatory of another did so unintentionally.

(2) A person shall be regarded for the purposes of this section as publishing a defamatory statement intentionally if he knew that the statement

(a) referred to the party aggrieved or was likely to be understood as referring to him, and

(b) was both false and defamatory of that party, or if he was reckless as to those matters.

(3) An offer of amends under this section must be in writing and must be expressed to be an offer of amends under this section.

(4) An offer of amends under this section shall be understood to mean an offer

(a) to publish or join in the publication of a suitable correction of the statement complained of and a sufficient apology to the party aggrieved;

(b) where copies of the statement have been distributed by or with the knowledge of the person making the offer, to take such steps as are reasonably practicable on his part for notifying persons to whom copies have been so distributed that the statement is alleged to be defamatory of the party aggrieved; and

(c) to pay compensation to the party aggrieved.

(5) An offer of amends under this section may not be made by a person after serving a defence in proceedings for defamation brought against him by the party aggrieved in respect of the publication in question.

(6) An offer of amends under this section may be withdrawn at any time 2s before it is accepted, and a renewal of an offer which has been withdrawn shall be treated as a new offer.

3.
(1) If an offer of amends duly made under section 2 is accepted by the party aggrieved, no proceedings for defamation in respect of the publication offerofamends. concerned may be brought or continued by him against the person making the offer, but he is entitled to enforce the offer of amends as follows.

(2) Any question as to what is to be done in fulfilment of the offer, including the amount of compensation to be paid, shall in default of agreement between the parties be referred to and determined by the court, whose decision shall be final.

(3) The amount to be paid by way of compensation shall be determined on the same principles as damages for defamation, due allowance being made for the correction and apology made and any other steps taken in fulfilment of the offer.

(4) The party aggrieved may apply to the court -

(a) for an order that the other party comply with the terms of the offer, as agreed or determined by the court, with respect to the correction and apology and any other steps to be taken in fulfilment of the offer; and

(b) for judgment for the amount of the compensation agreed or determined by the court to be payable.

(5) The power of the court to make orders as to costs in defamation proceedings by the party aggrieved against the person making the offer, or in proceedings under this section, includes power to order the payment by the person making the offer to the party aggrieved of costs on an indemnity basis and of any expenses reasonably incurred or to be incurred by that party in consequence of the publication in question.

If no such proceedings are taken, the court may, on application by the party aggrieved, make any such order for the payment of such costs and expenses as could be made in such proceedings.

(6) The acceptance of an offer of amends made by one person does not affect any cause of action of the party aggrieved against any other person in respect of the same publication.

But for the purposes of the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978

(a) the amount of compensation payable in pursuance of the offer shall be treated as if it were payable in bona fide settlement or compromise of the claim; and

(b) where any other person is liable in respect of the same damage (whether jointly or otherwise), the person whose offer of amends was accepted shall not by virtue of any contribution under section 1 of that Act be required to pay a greater amount than the amount of the compensation payable in pursuance of the offer.

(7) Proceedings under this section shall be heard and determined without a jury

4.
(1) If an offer of amends is duly made under section 2 and is not accepted by the party aggrieved, the fact that the offer has been made is a defence to any proceedings for defamation in respect of the publication in question brought or continued by that party against the person making the

(2) A defendant in proceedings for defamation may not rely on an offer of amends by way of defence in addition or in the alternative to any other defence; but he is not bound to rely on any offer of amends that he has made.

(3) A defendant in proceedings for defamation may rely in mitigation of damages on an offer of amends not relied on, or not successfully relied on, as a defence.

Limitation

5.
(1) The Limitation Act 1980 is amended as follows.

(2) For section 4A (time limit for action for libel or slander) substitute -
"4A. The time limit under section 2 of this Act shall not apply to an action for

(a) libel or slander, or

(b) slander of title, slander of goods or other malicious falsehood,

but no such action shall be brought after the expiration of one year from the date on which the cause of action accrued."

(3) In section 28 (extension of limitation period in case of disability), for subsection (4A) substitute -
"(4A) If the action is one to which section 4A of this Act applies, subsection (1) above shall have effect -

(a) in the case of an action for libel or slander, as if for the words from "at any time" to "occurred)" there were substituted the words "by him at any time before the expiration of one year from the date on which he ceased to be under a disability"; and

(b) in the case of an action for slander of title, slander of goods or other malicious falsehood, as if for the words "six years" there were substituted the words "one year"."

(4) For section 32A substitute -
"Discretionary exclusion of time limit for actions for defamation or malicious falsehood

32A. (1) If it appears to the court that it would be equitable to allow an action to proceed having regard to the degree to which

(a) the operation of section 4A of this Act prejudices the plaintiff or any person whom he represents, and

(b) any decision of the court under this subsection would prejudice the defendant or any person whom he represents,

the court may direct that that section shall not apply to the action or shall not apply to any specified cause of action to which the action relates.

(2) In acting under this section the court shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case and in particular to -

(a) the length of, and the reasons for, the delay on the part of the plaintiff;

(b) in a case where the reason or one of the reasons for the delay was that all or any of the facts relevant to the cause of action did not become known to the plaintiff until after the expiration of the period mentioned in section 4A, the date on which any such facts did become known to him;

(c) the extent to which, having regard to the delay, the evidence adduced or likely to be adduced by the plaintiff is or is likely to be less cogent than if the action had been brought within the period mentioned in section 4A;

(d) the conduct of the defendant after the cause of action arose, including the extent (if any) to which he responded to requests reasonably made by the plaintiff for information or inspection for the purpose of ascertaining facts which were or might be relevant to the plaintiff's cause of action against the defendant;

(e) the duration of any disability of the plaintiff arising after the date of accrual of the cause of action;

(f) the extent to which the plaintiff acted promptly and reasonably once he knew whether or not the facts in question might be capable at that time of giving 5 rise to an action for libel or slander or, as the case may be, an action for slander of title, slander of goods or other malicious falsehood;

(g) the steps, if any, taken by the plaintiff to obtain legal advice and the nature of any such advice he may have received.

(3) In the case of an action for slander of title, slander of goods or other malicious falsehood brought by or against a personal representative -

(a) the references in subsection (2) above to the plaintiff or defendant shall be construed as including -

(i) the deceased person to or against whom the cause of action accrued, and

(ii) any previous personal representative of that person; and

(b) nothing in section 28(3) of this Act shall be construed as affecting the court's discretion under this section.

(4) In this section "the court" means the court in which the action has been brought.".

(5) In section 36(1) (expiry of time limit no bar to equitable relief), in paragraph (aa) after "slander" insert ", or for slander of title, slander of goods or other malicious falsehood,".

(6) The amendments made by this section apply only to causes of action arising after this section comes into force.

The meaning of words

6.
In proceedings for defamation the court shall not be asked to rule whether words are arguably capable, as opposed to capable, of bearing particular meaning or meanings attributed to them.

Summary procedure

7.
(1) In proceedings for defamation the court may dispose summarily of the plaintiff's claim in accordance with the following provisions.

(2) The court may dismiss the claim if it appears to the court that it has no realistic prospect of success and there is no reason why it should be tried.

(3) The court may give judgment for the plaintiff and grant him summary relief if it appears to the court -

(a) that there is no arguable defence to the claim on the ground of justification or fair comment or under section 1 (responsibility for publication) or section 3 or 4 (effect of offer of amends),

(b) that there is no other defence which has a reasonable prospect of success, and

(c) that there is no other reason why the claim should be tried, and the court is satisfied that summary relief would adequately compensate the plaintiff for the wrong he has suffered.

(4) In considering whether the claim should be tried the court shall have regard to the following factors -

(a) whether all the persons who are or may be defendants to proceedings for defamation in respect of the publication complained of are before the court;

(b) whether summary disposal of the claim against another defendant would be inappropriate;

(c) the extent to which there is a conflict of evidence;

(d) the seriousness of the alleged wrong; and

(e) whether it is justifiable in the circumstances to incur further costs.

This is not an exhaustive list of the matters which may be considered.

(5) Proceedings for the summary disposal of a claim under this section shall be heard and determined without a jury.

8.
(1) In section 7 "summary relief~' means such of the following as may be appropriate -

(a) an order that the defendant publish or cause to be published a suitable correction and apology;

(b) damages not exceeding 10,000 or such other amount as may be prescribed;

(c) an order restraining the defendant from publishing or further publishing the matter complained of.

(2) The content of the correction and apology referred to in subsection (l)(a), and the time, manner, form and place of publication, shall be such as the parties may agree.

(3) In default of agreement on the content of a correction and apology, the court may direct that the defendant publish or cause to be published the full text of the court's judgment or a summary of the judgment agreed by the parties or settled by the court in accordance with rules of court.

(4) In default of agreement on the time, manner, form or place of publication, the court may give such directions as it thinks fit.

(5) In subsection (l)(b) (limit on damages awardable by way of summary relief) "prescribed" means prescribed by order of the Lord Chancellor.

(6) Any such order shall be made by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament. summary relief.
9.
(1) Provision may be made by rules of court with respect to the summary disposal of a claim under section 7.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of that power, provision may be made -

(a) authorising any party to apply for summary disposal at any stage of the proceedings;

(b) authorising the court at any stage of the proceedings -

(i) to treat any application, pleading or other step in the proceedings as an application for summary disposal, or

(ii) to make an order for summary disposal without any such application;

(c) with respect to the time for serving pleadings or taking any other step in the proceedings in a case where there are proceedings for summary disposal;

(d) requiring the parties to identify any question of law or construction which the court is to be asked to determine in the proceedings;

(e) as to the nature of any hearing on the question of summary disposal, and in particular

(i) authorising the court to order affidavits or witness statements to be prepared for use as evidence at the hearing, and

(ii) requiring the leave of the court for the calling of oral evidence, or the introduction of new evidence, at the hearing;

(f) authorising the court to require a defendant to elect, at or before the hearing, whether or not to make an offer of amends under section 2.

Evidence of convictions

10.
(1) Section 13 of the Civil Evidence Act 1968 (conclusiveness of convictions. convictions for purposes of defamation actions) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsections (1) and (2) for "a person" substitute "the plaintiff" and for "that person" substitute "he".

(3) After subsection (2) insert -
"(2A) In the case of an action for libel or slander in which there is more than one plaintiff

(a) the references in subsections (1) and (2) above to the plaintiff shall be construed as references to any of the plaintiffs, and

(b) proof that any of the plaintiffs stands convicted of an offence shall be conclusive evidence that he committed that offence so far as that fact is relevant to any issue arising in relation to his cause of action or that of any other plaintiff.".

(4) The amendments made by this section apply only where the trial of the action begins after this section comes into force.

The plaintiff's entitlement to damages

11.
(1) In an action for defamation the plaintiff is not entitled to damages for injury to his reputation beyond what he would be entitled to if all facts affecting or liable to affect his reputation (at the time that damages fall to be assessed), in relation to the sector of his life to which the defamatory statement relates, were matters of public notoriety.

(2) The defendant may, accordingly, in mitigation of damages, lead evidence as to the plaintiff's general reputation at that time and as to specific facts which if they were then generally known would affect the plaintiff's reputation in relation to the relevant sector of his life.

(3) The court may exclude any such evidence of specific facts if it appears to the court -

(a) that the matters in question occurred so long ago that they ought not to affect the plaintiff's present reputation in the eyes of reasonable people; or

(b) that the defendant raised, or ought to have raised, the matters in question in contesting liability and it would be inconsistent with the decision on liability for the matters to be raised again.

(4) The provisions of this section do not apply where the cause of action arose before this section came into force.

Statutory privilege

12.
(1) A fair and accurate report of proceedings in public before a court in the United Kingdom, if published contemporaneously with the proceedings, is absolutely privileged.

For this purpose "court" includes any tribunal or body exercising the judicial power of the State.

(2) For the purposes of this section a report of proceedings shall be treated as published contemporaneously if it is published -

(a) in the case of a report of which publication is by order of the court required to be postponed so as to avoid a risk of prejudice to other legal proceedings, as soon as practicable after the order expires;

(b) in the case of a report of committal proceedings of which publication is permitted only after completion of the proceedings for the offence, as soon as practicable after publication is so permitted.
13.
(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, the publication of any such report or other matter as is mentioned in Schedule 1 to this Act is privileged unless the publication is shown to be made with qualified privilege. .

(2) In an action for defamation in respect of the publication of any such report or other matter as is mentioned in Part II of that Schedule, this section shall not afford a defence if it is shown -

(a) that the defendant has been requested by the plaintiff to publish in a suitable manner a reasonable letter or statement by way of explanation or contradiction, and

(b) that he has refused or neglected to do so. For this purpose "in a suitable manner" means in the same manner as the publication complained of or in a manner that is adequate and reasonable in the circumstances having regard to the manner of that publication.

(3) This section does not apply to the publication to the public, or a section of the public, of any matter which is not of public concern and the publication of which is not for the public benefit.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed -

(a) as protecting the publication of any matter the publication of which is prohibited by law, or

(b) as limiting or abridging any privilege subsisting apart from this section.

Supplementary provisions

14.
(1) The enactments specified in Schedule 2 are amended in accordance with that Schedule, the amendments being consequential on the provisions of this Act.

(2) The enactments specified in Schedule 3 are repealed to the extent specified.

15.
An Order in Council under paragraph l(l)(b) of Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Act 1974 (legislation for Northern Ireland in the interim period) which states that it is made only for purposes corresponding to those of section 1 of this Act (responsibility for publication) -

(a) shall not be subject to paragraph 1(4) and (5) of that Schedule (affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament), but

(b) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

16.
(1) Sections 15 to 18 of this Act (corresponding provision for Northern Ireland; and other supplementary provisions) come into force on Royal Assent.

(2) The following provisions of this Act come into force at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed -

  • section 1 (responsibility for publication),
  • section 5 (time limit for actions for defamation or malicious falsehood),
  • section 10 (evidence of convictions),
  • section 11 (basis of plaintiff's entitlement to damages)
(3) The other provisions of this Act come into force on such day as the Lord Chancellor may appoint by order made by statutory instrument

Any such order may contain such transitional provisions as appear to the Lord Chancellor to be appropriate.

17.
(1) The provisions of this Act, except section 15 (corresponding provision for Northern Ireland), extend to England and Wales.

(2) Section I (responsibility for publication), and the provisions of sections 16 (commencement) and this section so far as they relate to that section, also extend to Scotland.

(3) Section 15 (corresponding provision for Northern Ireland), and the provisions of sections 16 (commencement) and this section so far as they relate to that section, extend to Northern Ireland.

(4) The amendments and repeals in Schedules 2 and 3 have the same extent as the enactments to which they refer.

18.
(1) This Act may be cited as the Defamation Act 1995.

(2) Nothing in this Act affects the law relating to criminal libel.

Schedules

SCHEDULE 1

QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE

PART I

STATEMENTS HAVING QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE WITHOUT EXPLANATION OR CONTRADICTION

1. A fair and accurate report of proceedings in public of a legislature anywhere in the world

2. A fair and accurate report of proceedings in public before a court anywhere in the world.

3. A fair and accurate report of proceedings in public of a person appointed to hold public inquiry by a government or legislature anywhere in the word.

4. A fair and accurate report of proceedings in public anywhere in the world of an international organisation or an international conference.

5. A fair and accurate copy of or extract from

(a) a register kept in pursuance of an Act of Parliament which is open to inspection by the public, or
(b) any other document required by the law of any part of the United Kingdom to be open to inspection by the public.

6. A notice or advertisement published anywhere in the world by or on the authority of a court, or of a judge or officer of a court.

7. A fair and accurate copy of or extract from matter published anywhere in the world by or on the authority of a government or legislature.

8. A fair and accurate copy of or extract from matter published anywhere in the world by an international organisation or an international conference.

PART II

STATEMENTS PRIVILEGED SUBJECT TO EXPLANATION OR CONTRADICTION

9. A fair and accurate copy of or extract from a notice or other matter issued for the information of the public by or on behalf of

(a) the legislature of any member State or the European Parliament,
(b) a government department or Minister of the Crown,
(c) a local authority or chief officer of police,
(d) a serving officer of Her Majesty's Armed Forces,
(e) Tynwald, the States of Jersey or the States of Guernsey,
(f) an international organisation or international conference.

10. A fair and accurate copy of or extract from a document made available by the court, or a judge or officer of the court, in connection with criminal proceedings or service disciplinary proceedings.

11. A fair and accurate report of proceedings at any public meeting or sitting in the United Kingdom of

(a) a local authority or local authority committee;
(b) a justice or justices of the peace acting otherwise than as a court;
(c) a commission, tribunal, committee or person appointed for the purposes of any inquiry by Act of Parliament, by Her Majesty or by a Minister of the Crown;
(d) a person appointed by a local authority to hold a local inquiry in pursuance of an Act of Parliament;
(e) any other tribunal, board, committee or body constituted by or under, and exercising functions under, an Act of Parliament.

12. (1) A fair and accurate report of proceedings at any public meeting held in the United Kingdom.

(2) In this paragraph a "public meeting" means a meeting bona fide and lawfully held for a lawful purpose and for the furtherance or discussion of a matter of public concern, whether admission to the meeting is general or restricted.

13. (1) A fair and accurate report of proceedings at a general meeting of a UK public company.

(2) A fair and accurate copy of or extract from any document circulated to members of a UK public company

(a) by or with the authority of the board of directors of the company, or
(b) by the auditors of the company.

(3) A fair and accurate copy of or extract from any document circulated to members of a UK public company which relates to the appointment, resignation, retirement or dismissal of directors of the company.

14. A fair and accurate report of any finding or decision of any of the following descriptions of association, formed in the United Kingdom, or of any committee or 25 governing body of such an association

(a) an association formed for the purpose of promoting or encouraging the exercise of or interest in any art, science, religion or learning, and empowered by its constitution to exercise control over or adjudicate on matters of interest or concern to the association, or the actions or conduct of any person subject to such control or adjudication;
(b) an association formed for the purpose of promoting or safeguarding the interests of any trade, business, industry or profession, or of the persons carrying on or engaged in any trade, business, industry or profession, and empowered by its constitution to exercise control over or adjudicate upon matters connected with trade, business, industry or profession, or the actions or conduct of those persons;
(c) an association formed for the purpose of promoting or safeguarding the interests of a game, sport or pastime to the playing or exercise of which members of the public are invited or admitted, and empowered by its constitution to exercise control over or adjudication upon persons connected with or taking part in the game, sport or pastime;
(d) an association formed for the purpose of promoting charitable objects or other objects beneficial to the community and empowered by its constitution to exercise control over or to adjudicate on matters of interest or concern to the association, or the actions or conduct of any person subject to such control or adjudication.

15. (1) A fair and accurate copy of or extract from any adjudication, report, statement or notice issued by a body, officer or other person in the United Kingdom designated by the Lord Chancellor for the purposes of this paragraph.

(2) An order under this paragraph shall be made by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

PART III

INTERPRETATION

16. In this Schedule

  • "Act of Parliament" includes an Act of the Parliament of Northern Ireland;
  • "court"
    (a) includes any tribunal or body exercising the judicial power of the State, and
    (b) for the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 6, includes the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the Court of Auditors, the European Court of Human Rights, and the International Court of Justice and any other judicial or arbitral tribunal deciding matters in dispute between States;
  • "international conference" means a conference attended by representatives of two or more governments;
  • "international organisation" means an organisation of which two or more governments are members, and includes any committee or other subordinate body of such an organisation;
  • "legislature"
    (a) includes a local legislature, and
    (b) for the purposes of paragraphs 1, 3 and 7, includes the European Parliament;
  • "local authority" means
    (a) a principal council within the meaning of the Local Government Act 1972,
    (b) any body falling within any paragraph of section 100J(1) of that Act,
    (c) a council constituted under section 2 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994,
    (d) any authority or body to which the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 applies, or
    (e) any authority or body to which sections 23 to 27 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 apply;
  • "local authority committee" means any committee of a local authority or of local authorities, and includes
    (a) any committee or sub-committee in relation to which sections 100A to 100D of the Local Government Act 1972 apply by virtue of section 100E of that Act (whether or not also by virtue of section 100J of that Act); and
    (b) any committee or sub-committee in relation to which sections 50A to 50D of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 apply by virtue of section 50E of that Act;
  • "UK public company" means
    (a) a public company within the meaning of section 1(3) of the Companies Act 1985 or Article 12(3) of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, or
    (b) a body corporate incorporated by or registered under any other enactment or formed in pursuance of letters patent.

SCHEDULE 2

Consequential Amendments

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c.53)

1. In section 8(6) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 for "section 3 of the Law of Libel Amendment Act 1888" substitute "section 12 of the Defamation Act 1995".

Broadcasting Act 1990 (c.42)

2. In section 166(3) of the Broadcasting Act 1990 for "each of those Acts" substitute "the Defamation Act (Northern Ireland) 1955".

Schedule 3

Repeals

Chapter Short Title Extent of Repeal
1888 c. 64. Law of Libel Amendment Act 1888. Section 3.
1952 c. 66. Defamation Act 1952. Section 4. Sections 7, 8 and 9(2) and (3). Section 16(2) and (3). The Schedule.
1955 c. 20. Revision of the Army and Air Force Acts (Transitional Provisions) Act 1955. In Schedule 2, the entry relating to the Defamation Act 1952.
1981 c. 49. Contempt of Court Act 1981. In section 4(3), the words "and of section 3 of the Law of Libel Amendment Act 1888 (privilege)".
1981 c. 6l. British Nationality Act 1981. In Schedule 7, the entry relating to the Defamation Act 1952.
1985 c. 43. Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985. In Schedule 2, paragraph 2.
1990 c. 42. Broadcasting Act 1990. In Schedule 20, paragraph 2.