On 15 March 2011 the Government published its draft Defamation Bill for public consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny in Parliament. This reflected the Coalition commitment to review the law of libel to protect free speech.
The public consultation closed in June and a comprehensive summary of the responses received was published on 24 November 2011. The Parliamentary Joint Committee which gave pre-legislative scrutiny to the draft Bill published its report on 19 October. The report welcomed the Government’s intention to reform the law and made a series of important recommendations.
This response to the Committee focuses on its recommendations on all the relevant issues and also indicates our conclusions on certain points of detail which were raised in our public consultation but not addressed specifically in the Committee’s report.