Defamation law review to be completed by April 2019

Defamation law review to be completed by April 2019

Charlie Flanagan

The Government will complete a review of the Defamation Act 2009 by April 2019, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan announced today.

The review will cover the respective roles of judge and jury in defamation cases; the defences available to the media in the context of public-interest news reporting; and the level of damages which can be awarded by Irish courts in defamation cases.

Mr Flanagan said: “This review is a priority for me and I expect that it should be completed during the first quarter of 2019.”

Meanwhile, the minister has also published the general scheme of a bill to repeal the criminal offence of blasphemy.

Mr Flanagan said: “During the course of the referendum campaign, it was made very clear that, in the event of the referendum proposal being agreed, the Government would respond by bringing forward legislation which would repeal sections 36 and 37 of the Defamation Act 2009 which provide a statutory basis for the offence of blasphemy.

“The repeal of those sections is the key element in the General Scheme which has been published on my Department’s website. The proposed repeal is fully in accord with the policy that it should no longer be possible to initiate a prosecution for blasphemy in this jurisdiction.”

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