Defamation Act 2009

18.

Qualified privilege.

18.— (1) Subject to section 17 , 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 (other than the Act of 1961) in force immediately before such commencement as having been made on an occasion of qualified privilege.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), it shall, subject to section 19 , be a defence to a defamation action for the defendant to prove that—

( a) the statement was published to a person or persons who—

(i) had a duty to receive, or interest in receiving, the information contained in the statement, or

(ii) the defendant believed upon reasonable grounds that the said person or persons had such a duty or interest, and

( b) the defendant had a corresponding duty to communicate, or interest in communicating, the information to such person or persons.

(3) 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 to which the action relates is—

( a) a statement to which Part 1 of Schedule 1 applies,

( b) contained in a report, copy, extract or summary referred to in that Part, or

( c) contained in a determination referred to in that Part.

(4) 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 to which the action relates is contained in a report, copy or summary referred to in Part 2 of Schedule 1 , unless it is proved that the defendant was requested by the plaintiff to publish in the same medium of communication in which he or she published the statement concerned, a reasonable statement by way of explanation or a contradiction, and has refused or failed to do so or has done so in a manner that is not adequate or reasonable having regard to all of the circumstances.

(5) Nothing in subsection (3) shall be construed as—

( a) protecting the publication of any statement the publication of which is prohibited by law, or of any statement that is not of public concern and the publication of which is not for the public benefit, or

( b) limiting or abridging any privilege subsisting apart from subsection (3).

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

(7) In this section—

“duty” means a legal, moral or social duty;

“interest” means a legal, moral or social interest.