Saracens Blog

Why are injunctions so rare in Defamation Act cases?

The Defamation Act is the main UK law governing defamation. Defamatory statement can be published in two ways either in verbal form or written form. S(9)(1)(d) of the Defamation Act allows the courts to grant a restraining order against the publication of further defamatory statements by the defendant. However these injunctions are very rare.

Injunctions are rare because of the rule in the old case of Bonnard v Perryman; injunctions should not be granted in defamation cases where the defendant indicates an intention to prove the truth of what they published or raise a defence under the Defamation Act. Although injunctions are available to court under the Defamation Act, the courts are reluctant to award injunction in defamation claims. They treat applications for injunction with caution and will only award injunction if the words the claimant complained about is defamatory.

The courts take into account the right of freedom of expression when deciding whether or not to grant an injunction. Injunction is not granted in the absence of the respondent unless the applicant has taken all reasonable steps to notify the respondent, or there are serious compelling reasons why the respondent should not be notified. Furthermore, interim injunctions are not to be granted unless the court is satisfied that the applicant is likely to establish that publication should not be allowed. A claimant must satisfy the court that there is a real prospect of success in order to be granted an injunction under the Defamation Act.

Although injunctions are rare, courts have powers under the defamation act to grant other reliefs. S(9)(1)(a) of the Defamation Act allows the courts to declare that the statement was false or defamatory. Further reliefs under the defamation act are correction/ apology by the defendant or the court can award damages under s (9)(1)(c) of the Defamation Act.

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