British and Canadian libel very similar.
Legal limitations arising out of private rights : Civil defamation
Libel or Defamation
Long standing law, existing in ancient times in other forms, societal value of reputations of its
The law seeks to protect reputation. Egyptian law 42 laws and slander was included, Moses 10
commandments, AngloSaxon law ( guilty of slander= cut out your tongue).
Entitles individuals and corporations.
We can defend others, those we’ve written about, based on the five terms of defense. ??
The Plantiff can either you or your corporation would be sued, you as the author of the offensive
material or your corporation for having published it ( depending on medium (e.g. Blog, twitter vs.
Grant vs. Toronto Star (2009) SCC 61 :
NYT Co. vs. Sullivan
S. Casey Hill v. Church of Scientology
Hunter and Swift v. Fotheringham, Maclean Hunter
Libel (permanent) & Slander (rumors, spoken, defamation for which there is no record).
Libel = Any publication in any permanent form (including the internet) that lowers the reputation of a
person in the eyes of the community.
Plaintiff (victim) in a defamation case has to prove damages
Criminal (Defamatory) Libel s. 298 reserved for libels that have a societal implications.
Ex. publishing about a person having worked in sex trade = libel but becomes criminal if you
publish their phone number (could result in harassment and thus forth). Strict Liability
No requirement on plaintiff to prove fault, negligence, or intent (Mens Rea)
Error or unintentional libel not a defense unless defendant can prove responsible communication
on a matter of public interest;
i.e. quoting a source; republishing material from
Citizen Story: published a story about a convicted pedophile with a photograph of a man who
had a similar name but was the wrong person. They were sued for $10 million for defamation of this
man’s name. The only difference was a middle initial. They had asked a court reporter to confirm
the photograph, but she wasn’t able to confirm and they published it anyways. The matter was
settled out of court with the plaintiff winning only $1 million.
In Quebec, plaintiff must prove fault, damages and relationship between fault and damage (see
pp. 5356 JLG)
U.S. libel la