Australia’s defamation laws are ripe for overhaul – David Rolph

13 12 2018

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. Read the rest of this entry »





Australia: the public interest backwater – David Rolph

5 09 2018

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. Read the rest of this entry »





Google v Duffy, No clear result in law applying to search engines – David Rolph

15 10 2017

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

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Twitter, defamation and “serious harm” – David Rolph

25 03 2017

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. Read the rest of this entry »





Australia: lnternet publication, liability and context – Dr David Rolph

4 02 2017

gazetteThe 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.

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Australia: The trouble with section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and free speech – David Rolph

11 11 2016

gazetteThe long-awaited decision in Cynthia Prior v Queensland University of Technology (No 2) was handed down last Friday. Read the rest of this entry »





Australia: Social media and defamation law pose threats to free speech, and it’s time for reform – David Rolph

17 09 2016

image-20160912-3768-2lgflkRecent 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. Read the rest of this entry »





Defamation Law in Australia: arcane, technical and in need of fundamental reform – David Rolph

1 12 2015

RolphDefamation 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. Read the rest of this entry »





Australia: Hockey’s defamation suit shows need for wider free speech debate – David Rolph

5 07 2015

Joe Hockey Treasurer for SaleTreasurer 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. Read the rest of this entry »





Australia: A landmark judgment – David Rolph

28 08 2014

gazetteNSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum’s decision last week to permanently stay Roland Bleyer’s defamation proceedings against Google Inc (Bleyer v Google [2014] NSWSC 897) is a landmark judgment for two reasons.

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