Qualified Privilege

The defense of qualified privilege permits persons in positions of authority or trust to make statements or relay or report statements that would be considered slander and libel if made by anyone else. In New Zealand and Ontario, for instance, cases of political libel are inhibited by permitting open discussion of an allegation or rumor, if conducted responsibly and with due care for the privacy of the person whose reputation would be affected. This privilege generally doesn't extend to repetition of discredited statements, malice, or comments made out of process or out of order in the organization or institution in which the position of authority is held.

The defense has become very important in the UK, especially after a case involving allegations made by the Sunday Times against the Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. During that case the judge outlined a ten point test of 'responsible journalism'. If reporters and editors followed these points, the judge said, they would enjoy a degree of protection from libel action, even if they could not prove factual allegations.

To qualify for this defense, a report must be one of a public meeting/press conference that's:

  • Fair
  • Accurate
  • Published without malice
  • Subject to the right of reply in the form of a letter that gives explanation or contradiction
  • It need not be contemporaneous (depending on publication), where it has to be for absolute privilege

Other articles related to "qualified privilege, privilege":

Hill V. Church Of Scientology Of Toronto - The Charter, Interpreting The Common Law and Freedom of Expression - Appellant's Arguments
... Qualified privilege attaches to the occasion upon which the communication is made, and not to the communication itself ... The legal effect of the defence of qualified privilege is to rebut the inference, which normally arises from the publication of defamatory words, that they were spoken with malice ... The privilege is not absolute, however, and can be defeated of the dominant motive for publishing the statement is actual or express malice ...
English Defamation Law - Present Law - Defences - Qualified Privilege
... There are several situations where the defence of qualified privilege applies ... proceedings, as well as reports of judicial proceedings attract qualified privilege ... This communication was deemed privilege, but the informing of such suspicion to the claimant's wife was not ...
Fair Comment - United Kingdom
... context of fair comment (which is different from the malice in the context of qualified privilege), Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead NPJ said in Albert Cheng v Tse ... consequence that malice would bear different meanings in the defences of fair comment and qualified privilege, and that this would inevitably cause difficulty for ... Regarding qualified privilege, juries can be directed that the defence is defeated by proof that the defendant used the occasion for some purpose other than ...

Famous quotes containing the words privilege and/or qualified:

    There is the falsely mystical view of art that assumes a kind of supernatural inspiration, a possession by universal forces unrelated to questions of power and privilege or the artist’s relation to bread and blood. In this view, the channel of art can only become clogged and misdirected by the artist’s concern with merely temporary and local disturbances. The song is higher than the struggle.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929)

    It has been from Age to Age an Affectation to love the Pleasure of Solitude, among those who cannot possibly be supposed qualified for passing Life in that Manner.
    Richard Steele (1672–1729)