Secondary navigation

Defamation Act 2013

Type of Bill:
Government Bill
Sponsors:
Mr Kenneth Clarke
Ministry of Justice
Lord McNally
Ministry of Justice

Progress of the Bill

Bill started in the House of Commons

  1. House of Commons
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  2. House of Lords
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  3. Consideration of Amendments
  4. Royal Assent

Last event

Act of Parliament

House Act Date
Commons Defamation Act 2013 c.26 25.04.2013

Latest news on the Defamation Act 2013

Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the Bill it received Royal Assent on 25 April. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).

Summary of the Defamation Act 2013

The aim of the Bill is to reform the law of defamation to ensure that a fair balance is struck between the right to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation. The Bill makes a number of substantive changes to the law of defamation, but is not designed to codify the law into a single statute.

Key areas

  • includes a requirement for claimants to show that they have suffered serious harm before suing for defamation
  • removes the current presumption in favour of a jury trial
  • introduces a defence of "responsible publication on matters of public interest"
  • provides increased protection to operators of websites that host user-generated content, providing they comply with the procedure to enable the complainant to resolve disputes directly with the author of the material concerned
  • introduces new statutory defences of truth and honest opinion to replace the common law defences of justification. and fair comment.

Stay up to date

Keep up to date with the progress of Bills going through Parliament. Sign up for email alerts or use our RSS feeds.

Related information

Guide to the passage of a Bill

Find out what happens at each stage of a Public Bill’s journey through Parliament with the Passage of a Bill guide.

When does a Bill become law?

Explanation of what happens after Bills have been passed, and when laws may change.

Human rights

Do you have expertise or a special interest in human rights? The Joint Committee on Human Rights scrutinises the human rights implications of Government Bills.