David Ipp, the former judge and anti-corruption commissioner, once wrote that “defamation litigation is a fact of Australian life”. Whatever our self-perception may be that we are a laid-back people, many of us are swift to threaten defamation action. Continue reading
The UK, Canada, and New Zealand have developed a broader qualified privilege public interest defence … Australia lags in this development, although there are special local impediments … Durie v Gardiner in NZ holds there is nothing special about government or political speech that should not be applied to the protection of all speech … Waiting for the proper case in Australia … Professor David Rolph comments.Continue reading
The long-awaited decision from SA’s Full Supreme Court does little to clarify the perplexing issue of how a search engine is liable for defamation, writes Sydney University media law academic Professor David Rolph … The judgment raises more questions than it answers in relation to publication, intention and knowledge
Twitter may well be the “Wild West” of social media. Certainly, anyone who has spent even a little time on it will be aware that there are a lot of people out there with most decided views who are willing to share them, frequently and stridently. Continue reading
The recent Victorian Court of Appeal judgment involving Google illustrates the complexity inherent in applying defamation law to internet publication … Sydney media law academic Dr David Rolph explains why context is paramount.
Recent discussion about freedom of speech in Australia has focused almost exclusively on Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. For some politicians and commentators, 18C is the greatest challenge to freedom of speech in Australia and the reform or repeal of this section will reinstate freedom of speech. Continue reading
Defamation law has a reputation for being the most arcane area of private law. Its reputation is deserved. Described as the ‘Galapagos Islands Division of the law of torts’ by New South Wales Court of Appeal judge, Justice David Ipp, defamation law can be forbidding for lawyers and judges alike. With the introduction of national, uniform defamation laws, the sense of confusion inherent in defamation law may now apply more generally, rather than show any simplification or improvement. Continue reading
Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision to sue Fairfax Media for defamation over the now-notorious front-page story “Treasurer for sale” raises interesting questions about politicians suing to protect their reputation, allied with the protection of freedom of speech in Australia. Continue reading
NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum’s decision last week to permanently stay Roland Bleyer’s defamation proceedings against Google Inc (Bleyer v Google  NSWSC 897) is a landmark judgment for two reasons.