Government responds to internet consultation

Single publication rule

The Government has published its response to the consultation paper ‘Defamation and the internet: the multiple publication rule.’

In the paper the Ministry of Justice declares: "in the light of the responses received to this consulation, and the views expressed by the Select Committee and the Libel Working Group, the Government considers on balance that it is appropriate in principle to introduce a single publication rule (with discretion to the court to extend the period as necessary).  Further consideration will be given to the detailed provision to govern the operation of the single publication rule."

The report follows the release of the Libel Working Group which also considered that a single publication rule should be introduced in circumstances where the republication of allegedly defamatory material is by the same publisher.  The Working Group failed to reach a consensus whether such a rule should be introduced in respect of republication of the material by different publishers.