Court reporting and defamation law referred to Law Reform Commission



Attorney General Máire Whelan
Attorney General Máire Whelan

Attorney General Máire Whelan has asked the Law Reform Commission to examine and research matters relating to defamation law and court reporting.

During a ceremony marking the outgoing President of the High Court’s last day on the bench last year, Ms Whelan spoke about a “chilling” effect on court reporting if reporters could face litigation as a result of a “simple oversight, omission or error”.

Ms Whelan said court reporters served the public interest and upheld the Constitution by ensuring that justice is administered in public.

She suggested that legislation could be necessary to provide that no report of court proceedings should be actionable in defamation unless malice can be proven.

The issue has now been referred to the Law Reform Commission.

A spokesperson for the Law Reform Commission told Irish Legal News: “I can confirm that a referral by the Attorney General has recently been made to the Commission pursuant to section 4(2)(c) of the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 to examine and research matters relating to defamation law and court reporting.”

The Commission will now conduct comprehensive research into the issue and consult with “all interested parties”.

The spokesperson added: “It is not possible at this stage to provide a precise timeline on when a final report might issue on this matter but further updates will be provided on the website in due course.”