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LIBEL ACT 1843
1. Offer of an apology admissible in evidence of mitigation of damages in
action for defamation.
In any action for defamation it shall be lawful for the defendant (after
notice in writing of his intention so to do, duly given to the plaintiff at the
time of filing or delivering the plea in such action,) to give in evidence, in
mitigation of damages, that he made or offered an apology to the plaintiff for
such defamation before the commencement of the action, or as soon afterwards as
he had an opportunity of doing so, in case the action shall have been commenced
before there was an opportunity of making or offering such apology.
2. In an action against a newspaper for libel, the defendant may plead
that it was inserted without malice and without neglect and may pay money into
court as amends.
In an action for libel contained in any public newspaper or other periodical
publication it shall be competent to the defendant to plead that such libel was
inserted in such newspaper or other periodical publication without actual
malice, and without gross negligence, and that before the commencement of the
action, or at the earliest opportunity afterwards, he inserted in such newspaper
or other periodical publication a full apology for the said libel, or, if the
newspaper or periodical publication in which the said libel appeared should be
ordinarily published at intervals exceeding one week, had offered to publish the
said apology in any newspaper or periodical publication to be selected by the
plaintiff in such action; and to such plea to such action it shall be competent
to the plaintiff to reply generally, denying the whole of such plea.
LIBEL ACT 1845
2. Defendant not to file such plea without paying money into court by way
It shall not be competent to any defendant in such action, whether in England
or Ireland, to file any such plea, without at the same time making a payment of
money into court by way of amends, but every such plea so filed without payment
of money into court shall be deemed a nullity, and may be treated as such by the
plaintiff in the action.
LAW OF LIBEL AMENDMENT ACT 1888
4. Newspaper reports of proceedings of public meetings and of certain
bodies and persons privileged.
A fair and accurate report published in any newspaper of the proceedings of a
public meeting, or (except where neither the public nor any newspaper reporter
is admitted) of any meeting of a vestry, town council, school board, board of
guardians, board or local authority formed or constituted under the provisions
of any Act of Parliament, or of any committee appointed by any of the
above-mentioned bodies, or of any meeting of any commissioners authorised to act
by letters patent, Act of Parliament, warrant under the Royal Sign Manual, or
other lawful warrant or authority, select committees of either House of
Parliament, justices of the peace in quarter sessions assembled for
administrative or deliberative purposes, and the publication at the request of
any Government office or department, officer of state, commissioner of police,
or chief constable of any notice or report issued by them for the information of
the public, shall be privileged, unless it shall be proved that such report or
publication was published or made maliciously: Provided that nothing in this
section shall authorise the publication of any blasphemous or indecent matter:
Provided also, that the protection intended to be afforded by this section shall
not be available as a defence in any proceedings if it shall be proved that the
defendant has been requested to insert in the newspaper in which the report or
other publication complained of appeared a reasonable letter or statement by way
of contradiction or explanation of such report or other publication, and has
refused or neglected to insert the same: Provided further, that nothing in this
section contained shall be deemed or construed to limit or abridge any privilege
now by law existing, or to protect the publication of any matter not of public
concern and the publication of which is not for the public benefit.
For the purposes of this section
“public meeting” shall mean any meeting bona fide and lawfully held
for a lawful purpose, and for the furtherance or discussion of any matter of
public concern, whether the admission thereto be general or restricted.
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