Review of defamation law launched by ministers

A review of defamation law to ensure it meets the challenges posed by the growth in social media has been launched by the Scottish Government.

Members of the public are being invited to respond to a consultation on defamation, defined as the damaging of an individual’s reputation through false communication.

It follows a report by the Scottish Law Commission which made 49 recommendations to modernise and simplify legislation.

The public consultation calls for views on various issues raised through the Scottish Law Commission’s report, including the three-year time limit of defamation claims, the threshold of “serious harm” and action against unjustified legal threats of defamation.

Launching the consultation, community safety minister 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 public consultation will run until April 5.