6. Civil Liability and Commercial Law

6.1 Defamation and Court Reporting

In 2016 the Commission began work on a project to examine the law concerning court reports and the Defamation Act 2009. The project arose from a request to the Commission made in December 2015 by the Attorney General, in accordance with section 4(2)(c) of the Law Reform Commission Act 1975. Section 17 of the 2009 Act currently provides for absolute immunity from defamation claims for “fair and accurate” reports of court proceedings. The Attorney General’s request raises the question as to whether, if a court report does not meet the test of “fair and reasonable” because of some unintended minor error, the 2009 Act should provide that such a court report is actionable in defamation only on proof of malice, that the proposed plaintiff should be required to seek leave of the Court before instituting proceedings, and that some proof of malice be demonstrated on affidavit.