Defamation Act 2009

31.

Damages.

31.— (1) The parties in a defamation action may make submissions to the court in relation to the matter of damages.

(2) In a defamation action brought in the High Court, the judge shall give directions to the jury in relation to the matter of damages.

(3) In making an award of general damages in a defamation action, regard shall be had to all of the circumstances of the case.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), the court in a defamation action shall, in making an award of general damages, have regard to—

( a) the nature and gravity of any allegation in the defamatory statement concerned,

( b) the means of publication of the defamatory statement including the enduring nature of those means,

( c) the extent to which the defamatory statement was circulated,

( d) the offering or making of any apology, correction or retraction by the defendant to the plaintiff in respect of the defamatory statement,

( e) the making of any offer to make amends under section 22 by the defendant, whether or not the making of that offer was pleaded as a defence,

( f) the importance to the plaintiff of his or her reputation in the eyes of particular or all recipients of the defamatory statement,

( g) the extent (if at all) to which the plaintiff caused or contributed to, or acquiesced in, the publication of the defamatory statement,

( h) evidence given concerning the reputation of the plaintiff,

( i) if the defence of truth is pleaded and the defendant proves the truth of part but not the whole of the defamatory statement, the extent to which that defence is successfully pleaded in relation to the statement,

( j) if the defence of qualified privilege is pleaded, the extent to which the defendant has acceded to the request of the plaintiff to publish a reasonable statement by way of explanation or contradiction, and

( k) any order made under section 33 , or any order under that section or correction order that the court proposes to make or, where the action is tried by the High Court sitting with a jury, would propose to make in the event of there being a finding of defamation.

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) (c), a defamatory statement consisting of words that are innocent on their face, but that are defamatory by reason of facts known to some recipients only of the publication containing the defamatory statement, shall be treated as having been published to those recipients only.

(6) The defendant in a defamation action may, for the purposes of mitigating damages, give evidence—

( a) with the leave of the court, of any matter that would have a bearing upon the reputation of the plaintiff, provided that it relates to matters connected with the defamatory statement,

( b) that the plaintiff has already in another defamation action been awarded damages in respect of a defamatory statement that contained substantially the same allegations as are contained in the defamatory statement to which the first-mentioned defamation action relates.

(7) The court in a defamation action may make an award of damages (in this section referred to as “ special damages ”) to the plaintiff in respect of financial loss suffered by him or her as a result of the injury to his or her reputation caused by the publication of the defamatory statement in respect of which the action was brought.

(8) In this section “ court ” means, in relation to a defamation action brought in the High Court, the jury, if the High Court is sitting with a jury.