Defamation Act 2009

32.

Aggravated and punitive damages.

32.— (1) Where, in a defamation action—

( a) the court finds the defendant liable to pay damages to the plaintiff in respect of a defamatory statement, and

( b) the defendant conducted his or her defence in a manner that aggravated the injury caused to the plaintiff’s reputation by the defamatory statement,

the court may, in addition to any general, special or punitive damages payable by the defendant to the plaintiff, order the defendant to pay to the plaintiff damages (in this section referred to as “aggravated damages”) of such amount as it considers appropriate to compensate the plaintiff for the aggravation of the said injury.

(2) Where, in a defamation action, the court finds the defendant liable to pay damages to the plaintiff in respect of a defamatory statement and it is proved that the defendant—

( a) intended to publish the defamatory statement concerned to a person other than the plaintiff,

( b) knew that the defamatory statement would be understood by the said person to refer to the plaintiff, and

( c) knew that the statement was untrue or in publishing it was reckless as to whether it was true or untrue,

the court may, in addition to any general, special or aggravated damages payable by the defendant to the plaintiff, order the defendant to pay to the plaintiff damages (in this section referred to as “punitive damages”) of such amount as it considers appropriate.

(3) 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.