Reforming defamation law

Consultation opens for public views.

The public is being invited to help reform defamation law to ensure it is fit for 21st century Scotland.

A new consultation on defamation – the damaging of an individual’s reputation through false communication – follows a report by the Scottish Law Commission which made 49 recommendations to modernise and simplify legislation.

The public consultation calls for views on a number of issues raised through the Scottish Law Commission’s report, including:

  • The 3 year time limit of defamation claims
  • The threshold of ‘serious harm’
  • Action against unjustified legal threats of defamation

Launching the consultation, Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said:

“Defamation law potentially affects everyone and it is crucial that we ensure the law is fit for modern Scotland.

“The enormous growth in the use of social media presents new challenges and means that defamatory communication is becoming increasingly instant and common.

“It is crucial that we strike the right balance between the two values that often pull in opposing directions – freedom of expression and the protection of an individual’s reputation.

“Consultation is an essential part of the process and members of the public have an important part to play in reforming the law on defamation and ensuring it is fit for the future.”


The consultation: ‘Defamation in Scots law’ is now open and will run until 5 April.

The Scottish Law Commission Report on Defamation

Contact: Richard Clarke - 0131 244 3069 / 07467 447 253 

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