Tuesday 21 November 2017

The critical balance: protecting your name vs free expression

Cost and unpredictable juries can make defamation litigation a potential lottery

Our defamation law is made up of centuries-old legal principles developed through common law - broadly speaking, judge-made law. Stock picture: Getty
Our defamation law is made up of centuries-old legal principles developed through common law - broadly speaking, judge-made law. Stock picture: Getty

Andrea Martin

As a society, we need to ask if we have yet found the right balance between freedom of expression and the protection of individual reputation.

Let's take our 1937 Constitution as a starting point.

Article 40.6.1 of Bunreacht na hEireann guarantees each of us the right to free expression of our convictions and opinions. That right has been held by the courts to include the right to communicate the facts on which those convictions and opinions are based.

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