A new defamation law has been proposed by the Scottish Law Commission, following a three year investigation into possible reforms.
There are 49 recommendations in the report, some of which are particularly interesting to media organisations. These include:
An explicit ‘public interest’ defence of publication.
Reducing the amount of time that a defamation case can be bought from three years to one year after publication.
Removing the right to sue when there has been no serious harm to someone’s reputation.
A new “single publication rule” that prevents people from suing each time the same claim is downloaded from the internet. This could mean that re-tweeting something without comment, would not make the person liable for defamation - only the person who made the original tweet would be.
Earlier this year The Ferret joined forces with other media organisations, including The Herald and Commonspace to call for reform of Scotland’s outdated defamation rules.
The Scottish Government is now reportedly considering the proposals.
Full details of the Scottish Law Commission Report are available on their website.