World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Defamatory libel

Article Id: WHEBN0006204483
Reproduction Date:

Title: Defamatory libel  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Libel Act 1843, Obscene libel, English defamation law, Buggery, Misdemeanor
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Defamatory libel

Defamatory libel was originally an offence under the common law of England. It has been established in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. It was or is a form of criminal libel, a term with which it is synonymous.[1]

England and Wales and Northern Ireland

The common law offence of defamatory libel was abolished[2] for England and Wales and Northern Ireland on 12 January 2010.

Section 4 of the Libel Act 1843 which created an aggravated statutory offence was also repealed.


See the following cases:

  • De Libellis Famosis (1606) 5 Co Rep 125a, (1606) 77 ER 250
  • Summer v Hillard (1665) 1 Sid 270, (1665) 82 ER 1099
  • R v Penny (1687) 1 Ld Raym 153, 91 ER 999
  • R v Burdett (1820) 4 B & Ald 95, (1820) 106 ER 873
  • R v Brigstock (1833) 6 Car & P 184, (1833) 172 ER 1199
  • R v Carden (1879) 5 QBD 1
  • Vizetelly v Mudie's Select Library Ltd [1900] 2 QB 170, 16 TLR 352, CA
  • R v Wicks (1936) 25 Cr App R 168
  • Goldsmith v Pressdram Ltd [1977] QB 83
  • Gleaves v Deakin [1980] AC 477, [1979] 2 WLR 665, [1979] 2 All ER 497, 69 Cr App R 59, [1979] Crim LR 458, HL
  • Desmond v Thorne [1983] 1 WLR 163, [1982] 3 All ER 268, QBD


This originally vested in the Court of Star Chamber. When that court was abolished, it was transferred to the Court of King's Bench.

Publication in a permanent form

See section 4(1) of the Theatres Act 1968 and section 166(1) of the Broadcasting Act 1990.

Restriction on institution of proceedings

See section 8 of the Law of Libel Amendment Act 1888 (replacing section 3 of the Newspaper and Libel Registration Act 1881) and section 8 of the Theatres Act 1968.


See sections 6 and 7 of the Libel Act 1843 and sections 3 and 4 of the Law of Libel Amendment Act 1888.

Functions of judge and jury

See the Libel Act 1792.

Committal proceedings - Power of magistrates to dismiss charge

See section 4 of the Newspaper and Libel Registration Act 1881.

Power of magistrates to try newspaper libel summarily with the consent of the accused

See section 5 of the Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881. That section was repealed by sections 17 and 65(5) of, and Schedule 13 to, the Criminal Law Act 1977.


See sections 4 and 5 of the Libel Act 1843

Proposal to amend the law

In 1985, the Law Commission recommended that the offence of defamatory libel should be abolished and replaced with a new statutory offence of "criminal defamation".[3] The recommendation that a new statutory offence be created has not been implemented.

See also


  1. ^ Halsbury's Laws of England, 2006 Reissue
  2. ^ The Coroners and Justice Act 2009, section 73(b)
  3. ^ The Law Commission, Criminal Libel, Working Paper No 84, 15 January 1982

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.