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  • A new national Review of Model Defamation Provisions presents the legal profession and others with an opportunity to deal with the enormous impact of social media on the world of publication. While it is a world where free speech may truly exist, that freedom is frequently abused for malicious purposes.
  • Reform may also address technical deficiencies and ambiguities in the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW), as well as technical improvements consistent with international best practice.
  • The Council of Attorneys-General Discussion Paper on defamation law reform raises some 18 questions for discussion. Submissions are invited until 30 April 2019.

The Council of Attorneys-General (‘COAG’) has issued a Discussion Paper for the Review of the Model Defamation Provisions. They have invited submissions on the questions set out in the Discussion Paper and any related matters by 30 April 2019.

The NSW Department of Justice had previously completed a statutory review of the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) (‘the Act’), which was tabled in the NSW Parliament on 7 June 2018 and referred to COAG. The review concluded that the Act would benefit from amendment and modernisation.

Reasons for reform

At the time of the introduction of the Act in New South Wales on 1 January 2006, it was contemplated there was a need for ongoing review and reform of the Act, which was scheduled to take place five years after the Act commenced. Unfortunately, that review was not completed in 2011 when certain deficiencies were apparent and could have been corrected. There is now a greater sense of urgency to reform those particular deficiencies and to modernise the Act.

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