What is the Defamation Act 1996?


Quick Answer

The chief aim of the United Kingdom's Defamation Act of 1996 is to provide protection to individuals or organizations from the effects of libel and slander. The act also provides for the compensation of the individual or organization that is subject to libel or slander from the offending party.

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Full Answer

The Defamation Act considers defamation to occur when an individual or organization publishes something untrue and harmful of another individual or organization for third party viewing. The extent of the act covers adults that fall under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, and employees who violate the act are considered just as guilty as employers.

Three ways defendants can protect themselves against defamation charges include by proving they were not the source of the defaming material, proof of care in publication and claims of ignorance of the defamation material. The act also states that making copies of defaming material published by another does not necessarily mean that the individual broke the law.

The Defamation Act stipulates that the offended party has to file a complaint within one year of the published defamation, although in the case of online posts the year-long limit extends from the last time the statement was viewed. The act also covers out-of-court settlements.

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