Defamation Act 2009


Number 31 of 2009


DEFAMATION ACT 2009

REVISED

Updated to 17 January 2020


This Revised Act is an administrative consolidation of the Defamation Act 2009. It is prepared by the Law Reform Commission in accordance with its function under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 (3/1975) to keep the law under review and to undertake revision and consolidation of statute law.

All Acts up to and including the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 (53/2019), enacted 26 December 2019, and all statutory instruments up to and including the Blasphemy (Abolition of Offences and Related Matters) Act 2019 (Commencement) Order 2020 (S.I. No. 13 of 2020), made 16 January 2020, were considered in the preparation of this Revised Act.

Disclaimer: While every care has been taken in the preparation of this Revised Act, the Law Reform Commission can assume no responsibility for and give no guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up to date nature of the information provided and does not accept any liability whatsoever arising from any errors or omissions. Please notify any errors, omissions and comments by email to

revisedacts@lawreform.ie.


Number 31 of 2009


DEFAMATION ACT 2009

REVISED

Updated to 17 January 2020


Introduction

This Revised Act presents the text of the Act as it has been amended since enactment, and preserves the format in which it was passed.

Related legislation

This Act is not collectively cited with any other Act.

Annotations

This Revised Act is annotated and includes textual and non-textual amendments, statutory instruments made pursuant to the Act and previous affecting provisions.

An explanation of how to read annotations is available at

www.lawreform.ie/annotations.

Material not updated in this revision

Where other legislation is amended by this Act, those amendments may have been superseded by other amendments in other legislation, or the amended legislation may have been repealed or revoked. This information is not represented in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the amended legislation if one is available.

Where legislation or a fragment of legislation is referred to in annotations, changes to this legislation or fragment may not be reflected in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the legislation referred to if one is available.

A list of legislative changes to any Act, and to statutory instruments from 1972, may be found linked from the page of the Act or statutory instrument at

www.irishstatutebook.ie.

Acts which affect or previously affected this revision

Blasphemy (Abolition of Offences and Related Matters) Act 2019 (43/2019)

Parole Act 2019 (28/2019)

Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (14/2014)

Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013 (33/2013)

All Acts up to and including Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 (53/2020), enacted 26 December 2019, were considered in the preparation of this revision.

Statutory instruments which affect or previously affected this revision

Defamation Act 2009 (Press Council) Order 2010 (S.I. No. 163 of 2010)

Defamation Act 2009 (Commencement) Order 2009 (S.I. No. 517 of 2009)

All statutory instruments up to and including Blasphemy (Abolition of Offences and Related Matters) Act 2019 (Commencement) Order 2020 (S.I. No. 13 of 2020), made 16 January 2020, were considered in the preparation of this revision.


Number 31 of 2009


DEFAMATION ACT 2009

REVISED

Updated to 17 January 2020


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART 1

Preliminary and General

Section

1. Short title and commencement.

2. Definitions.

3. Saver.

4. Repeal.

5. Review of operation of Act.

PART 2

Defamation

6. Defamation.

7. Amendment of certain enactments.

8. Verifying affidavit.

9. Imputation.

10. Defamation of class of persons.

11. Multiple publication.

12. Defamation of a body corporate.

13. Appeals in defamation actions.

14. Meaning.

PART 3

Defences

15. Abolition of certain defences.

16. Truth.

17. Absolute privilege.

18. Qualified privilege.

19. Loss of defence of qualified privilege.

20. Honest opinion.

21. Distinguishing between allegations of fact and opinion.

22. Offer to make amends.

23. Effect of offer to make amends.

24. Apology.

25. Consent to publish.

26. Fair and reasonable publication on a matter of public interest.

27. Innocent publication.

PART 4

Remedies

28. Declaratory order.

29. Lodgment of money in settlement of action.

30. Correction order.

31. Damages.

32. Aggravated and punitive damages.

33. Order prohibiting the publication of a defamatory statement.

34. Summary disposal of action.

PART 5

Criminal Liability

35. Abolition of certain common law offences.

36. Publication or utterance of blasphemous matter. (Repealed)

37. Seizure of copies of blasphemous statements. (Repealed)

PART 6

Miscellaneous

38. Limitation of actions.

39. Survival of cause of action on death.

40. Agreements for indemnity.

41. Jurisdiction of courts.

42. Malicious falsehood.

43. Evidence of acquittal or conviction.

44. Press Council.

SCHEDULE 1

Statements having Qualified Privilege

PART 1

Statements Privileged Without Explanation or Contradiction

PART 2

Statements Privileged Subject to Explanation or Contradiction

SCHEDULE 2

Minimum Requirements in Relation to Press Council


Acts Referred to

Civil Liability Act 1961

1961, No. 41

Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004

2004, No. 31

Commissions of Investigation Act 2004

2004, No. 23

Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Compellability, Privileges and Immunities of Witnesses) Act 1997

1997, No. 17

Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Privilege and Procedure) Act 1976

1976, No. 10

Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961

1961, No. 39

Courts Act 1991

1991, No. 20

Courts of Justice Act 1924

1924, No. 10

Defamation Act 1961

1961, No. 40

European Communities Act 1972

1972, No. 27

Irish Takeover Panel Act 1997

1997, No. 5

Statute of Limitations 1957

1957, No. 6

Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2004


Number 31 of 2009


DEFAMATION ACT 2009

REVISED

Updated to 17 January 2020


AN ACT TO REVISE IN PART THE LAW OF DEFAMATION; TO REPEAL THE DEFAMATION ACT 1961; AND TO PROVIDE FOR MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH.

[23 rd July, 2009]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS: