Defamation Act 2009

17.

Absolute privilege.

17.— (1) It shall be a defence to a defamation action for the defendant to prove that the statement in respect of which the action was brought would, if it had been made immediately before the commencement of this section, have been considered under the law in force immediately before such commencement as having been made on an occasion of absolute privilege.

(2) Subject to F1 [ section 18 (3) or 78 (2) of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013 ], and without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), it shall be a defence to a defamation action for the defendant to prove that the statement in respect of which the action was brought was—

( a) made in either House of the Oireachtas by a member of either House of the Oireachtas,

( b) contained in a report of a statement, to which paragraph (a) applies, produced by or on the authority of either such House,

( c) made in the European Parliament by a member of that Parliament,

( d) contained in a report of a statement, to which paragraph (c) applies, produced by or on the authority of the European Parliament,

( e) contained in a judgment of a court established by law in the State,

( f) made by a judge, or other person, performing a judicial function,

( g) made by a party, witness, legal representative or juror in the course of proceedings presided over by a judge, or other person, performing a judicial function,

( h) made in the course of proceedings involving the exercise of limited functions and powers of a judicial nature in accordance with Article 37 of the Constitution, where the statement is connected with those proceedings,

( i) a fair and accurate report of proceedings publicly heard before, or decision made public by, any court—

(i) established by law in the State, or

(ii) established under the law of Northern Ireland,

( j) a fair and accurate report of proceedings to which a relevant enactment referred to in section 40 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 applies,

( k) a fair and accurate report of proceedings publicly heard before, or decision made public by, any court or arbitral tribunal established by an international agreement to which the State is a party including the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the Court of First Instance of the European Communities, the European Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Justice,

( l) made in proceedings before a committee appointed by either House of the Oireachtas or jointly by both Houses of the Oireachtas,

( m) made in proceedings before a committee of the European Parliament,

( n) made in the course of proceedings before a tribunal established under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2004, where the statement is connected with those proceedings,

( o) contained in a report of any such tribunal,

( p) made in the course of proceedings before a commission of investigation established under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, where the statement is connected with those proceedings,

( q) contained in a report of any such commission,

( r) made in the course of an inquest by a coroner or contained in a decision made or verdict given at or during such inquest,

( s) made in the course of an inquiry conducted on the authority of a Minister of the Government, the Government, the Oireachtas, either House of the Oireachtas or a court established by law in the State,

( t) made in the course of an inquiry conducted in Northern Ireland on the authority of a person or body corresponding to a person or body referred to in paragraph (s),

( u) contained in a report of an inquiry referred to in paragraph (s) or (t),

( v) made in the course of proceedings before an arbitral tribunal where the statement is connected with those proceedings,

( w) made pursuant to and in accordance with an order of a court established by law in the F2 [ State, or ]

F3 [ ( x ) made in the course of the consideration by the Parole Board of—

(i) an application for parole, or

(ii) the variation or revocation of a parole order, where the statement is connected with that consideration, or

( y ) contained in a decision of the Parole Board, or a notification of such a decision, pursuant to the Parole Act 2019 or a parole order. ]

(3) Section 2 of the Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Privilege and Procedure) Act 1976 is amended by the insertion of the following subsection:

“(3) In this section ‘utterance’ includes a statement within the meaning of the Defamation Act 2009 ;”.

(4) A defence under this section shall be known as, and is referred to in this Act, as the “defence of absolute privilege ”.

F4 [ (4) In this section, ‘application for parole’ and ‘parole order’ have the meanings they have in the Parole Act 2019. ]

Annotations

Amendments:

F1

Substituted (25.09.2013) by Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013 (33/2013), s. 132, S.I. No. 362 of 2013.

F2

Substituted (30.07.2021) by Parole Act 2019 (28/2019), s. 38(a)(i), S.I. No. 405 of 2021.

F3

Inserted (30.07.2021) by Parole Act 2019 (28/2019), s. 38(a)(ii), S.I. No. 405 of 2021.

F4

Inserted (30.07.2021) by Parole Act 2019 (28/2019), s. 38(b), S.I. No. 405 of 2021.