Saracens Blog

Offer of amends under the Defamation Act

The Defamation Act 1996 provides an ‘offer of amends’ by the offending party. A valid offer to make amends under s 2(2) of the Defamation Act 1996 could not be made without the offeror conceding that the ‘specific defamatory meaning’ which the statement conveyed was defamatory of the person bringing the complaint.

In essence, this procedure under the Defamation Act 1996 allows a quick route to settlement where the defendant admits being in the wrong. The Defamation Act 1996 makes clear that this is not a defence but a means to resolve the matter without going to court. The Defamation Act 1996 requires the offending party to make an offer to publish an apology or a retraction statement and pay damages to the injured party.

It is stated under the Defamation Act 1996. The offer can be withdrawn before it is accepted. If it is not accepted, it is a complete defence at trial unless the claimant can prove that the defendant published maliciously, in other words knowing that the allegation was false. If the offer is accepted in principle, then the precise terms of the apology and the amounts of costs and damages are negotiated. If agreement cannot be reached, the defendant may publish a unilateral apology and the court be asked to decide the financial issues. The Defamation Act 1996 also states that if the defendants choose to rely on this defence, they must make the offer before putting forward any other defence. Under the Defamation Act 1996 it is not possible to enter an offer of amends after realizing the initial defence may not succeed.

One of the most attracting benefits of accepting this defence under the Defamation Act 1996 is that you would avoid going to trial and would save significant costs.

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