Scottish libel law reform

THE SCOTTISH Law Commission recently published its 161-page report on libel law reform.

Its recommendations include a specific public interest defence. It also recommends the power to strike down "worthless or trivial" libel actions early. It proposes the current three-year limit on libel actions be dropped to one year, with "first publication" being updated for the internet age to mean when it was actually published online for the first time, not the last time it was downloaded.

A further recommendation is the requirement for a plaintiff to show that the libel causes "serious harm".The proposals in the Scottish Law Commission report also looks at "remedies".

The report has gone to the Scottish Parliament for its consideration.

For our most recent coverage of the Defamation Act 2013, covering the jurisdiction of England and Wales, see here. The introduction to the Scottish Law Commission report acknowledges the influence of the reforms made to England and Wales libel law in the 2013 Act. The report is partly an attempt to adopt Scottish into Scottish law many of those reforms, although some proposals go even further.