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Defamation Act 2009

PART 6

Miscellaneous

Limitation of actions.

38.— (1) Section 11 of the Act of 1957 is amended—

(a) in subsection (2), by the substitution of the following paragraph for paragraph (c):

“(c) A defamation action within the meaning of the Defamation Act 2009 shall not be brought after the expiration of—

(i) one year, or

(ii) such longer period as the court may direct not exceeding 2 years,

from the date on which the cause of action accrued.”,

and

(b) the insertion of the following subsections:

“(3A) The court shall not give a direction under subsection (2)(c)(ii) (inserted by section 38 (1) (a) of the Defamation Act 2009) unless it is satisfied that—

(a) the interests of justice require the giving of the direction,

(b) the prejudice that the plaintiff would suffer if the direction were not given would significantly outweigh the prejudice that the defendant would suffer if the direction were given,

and the court shall, in deciding whether to give such a direction, have regard to the reason for the failure to bring the action within the period specified in subparagraph (i) of the said subsection (2)(c) and the extent to which any evidence relevant to the matter is by virtue of the delay no longer capable of being adduced.

(3B) For the purposes of bringing a defamation action within the meaning of the Defamation Act 2009, the date of accrual of the cause of action shall be the date upon which the defamatory statement is first published and, where the statement is published through the medium of the internet, the date on which it is first capable of being viewed or listened to through that medium.”.

(2) Section 49 of the Act of 1957 is amended by the substitution of the following subsection for subsection (3):

“(3) In the case of defamation actions within the meaning of the Defamation Act 2009, subsection (1) of this section shall have effect as if for the words ‘six years’ there were substituted the words ‘one year or such longer period as the court may direct not exceeding two years’.”.