Defamation Act 2009

8.

Verifying affidavit.

8.— (1) Where the plaintiff in a defamation action serves on the defendant any pleading containing assertions or allegations of fact, the plaintiff (or in the case of a defamation action brought on behalf of an infant or person of unsound mind by a next friend or a committee of the infant or person, the next friend or committee) shall swear an affidavit verifying those assertions or allegations.

(2) Where the defendant in a defamation action serves on the plaintiff any pleading containing assertions or allegations of fact, the defendant shall swear an affidavit verifying those assertions or allegations.

(3) Where a defamation action is brought on behalf of an infant or a person of unsound mind by a next friend or a committee of the infant or person, an affidavit to which subsection (1) applies sworn by the next friend or committee concerned shall, in respect of assertions or allegations, of which he or she does not have personal knowledge, state that he or she honestly believes the assertions or allegations, to be true.

(4) Where the plaintiff or defendant in a defamation action is a body corporate, the person swearing the affidavit on behalf of the body corporate under subsection (1) or (2), as the case may be, shall, in respect of assertions or allegations, of which he or she does not have personal knowledge, state that he or she honestly believes the assertions or allegations to be true.

(5) An affidavit under this section shall be sworn and filed in court not later than 2 months after the service of the pleading concerned or such longer period as the court may direct or the parties may agree.

(6) If a person makes a statement in an affidavit under this section—

( a) that is false or misleading in any material respect, and

( b) that he or she knows to be false or misleading,

he or she shall be guilty of an offence.

(7) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

( a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €3,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both, or

( b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €50,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to both.

(8) An affidavit sworn under this section shall include a statement by the deponent that he or she is aware that the making of a statement by him or her in the affidavit that is false or misleading in any material respect and that he or she knows to be false or misleading is an offence.

(9) In a defamation action—

( a) the defendant shall, unless the court otherwise directs, be entitled to cross examine the plaintiff in relation to any statement made by the plaintiff in the affidavit sworn by him or her under this section, and

( b) the plaintiff shall, unless the court otherwise directs, be entitled to cross examine the defendant in relation to any statement made by the defendant in the affidavit sworn by him or her under this section.

(10) Where a plaintiff or a defendant fails to comply with this section, the court may make such order as it considers just and equitable, including—

( a) in the case of such a failure on the part of the plaintiff, an order dismissing the defamation action, and

( b) in the case of such a failure by the defendant, judgment in favour of the plaintiff,

and may give such directions in relation to an order so made as the court considers necessary or expedient.

(11) The reference to court in subsection (5) shall—

( a) in the case of a defamation action brought in the High Court, include a reference to the Master of the High Court, and

( b) in the case of a defamation action brought in the Circuit Court, include a reference to the county registrar for the county in which the proceedings concerned were issued.

(12) ( a) References in this section to plaintiff shall, in the case of a plaintiff who is deceased, be construed as references to his or her personal representative.

( b) References in this section to defendant shall, in the case of a defendant who is deceased, be construed as references to his or her personal representative.

(13) This section does not apply to an application for a declaratory order.