New Legislation

April 28, 2013

The much vaunted libel reform Act, the Defamation Act 2013, has now become available in final form. Although the Crime and Courts Act 2013 is not an obvious area of interest for IT lawyers, SCL members and other practitioners will be very concerned about certain provisions contained within it and that too is now available.

Defamation Act

Given the recent increase in ‘Internet-defamation’ claims, the Defamation Act 2013 includes a number of provisions of relevance to IT lawyers. Section 5 (operators of web sites), s 8 (the new single publication rule) and s 13 (order to remove statement) are of special interest.

The Defamation Act 2013 will be brought into force ‘on such day as the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument appoint’.  

Crime and Courts Act 2013 

The main area of interest in the Crime and Courts Act 2013 is likely to be the ‘Leveson sections’ and perhaps s 41 (the definition of ‘relevant publisher’) and sch 15 (the exclusions from that definition) in particular.

Implementation of these provisions is ‘at the end of the period of one year beginning with the day on which a body is established by Royal Charter with the purpose of carrying on activities relating to the recognition of independent regulators of relevant publishers (as defined by section 41)’ (s 61(7). Many think that we might be waiting a long time for that year to be up.