The Stage 1 reforms to the uniform defamation laws have received assent. The reforms commenced on 1 July 2021.
The Top 10 Amendments to the Defamation Act 2005 include:
- a serious harm threshold to be established by the plaintiff, coupled with the abolition of the defence of triviality.
- a single publication rule.
- a definition of an “employee”.
- various amendments with respect to the form, content and timing for concerns notices and offers to make amends.
- to provide for a public interest defence.
- to provide a defence in respect of peer-reviewed matters published in academic or scientific journals.
- to make it clear that the maximum amount of damages for non-economic loss operates to create a scale or range of damages rather than a cap.
- an election to have defamation proceedings tried by jury can revoked only with the consent of all other parties or with leave of the court.
- to extend the limitation period to commence defamation proceedings to allow for pre-trial processes, coupled with greater flexibility for the courts to extend the limitation period.
- to enable notices and other documents to be sent to an email address specified by the respondent for the giving or service of documents.
Contact one of our experienced lawyers NOW on (07) 3088 7973 to learn more about these important changes.