In its valuable and forward-looking analysis of the common law the Court of Appeal in the present case highlighted that in deciding whether an occasion is privileged the court considers, among other matters, the nature, status and source of the material published and the circumstances of the publication. In stressing the importance of these particular factors, the court treated them as matters going to a question ("the circumstantial test") Fseparate from, and, additional to, the conventional duty-interest questions: see  3 WLR 86z, 899. With all respect to the Court of Appeal, this formulation of three questions gives rise to conceptual and practical difficulties and is better avoided. There is no separate or additional question. These factors are to be taken into account in determining whether the duty-interest test is satisfied or, as I would prefer to say in a simpler and more Qdirect way, whether the public was entitled to know the particular information. The duty-interest test, or the right to know test, cannot be carried out in isolation from these factors and without regard to them. A claim to privilege stands or falls according to whether the claim passes or fails this test. There is no further requirement. Statutory privilege LJ Many, if not all, of the common law categories of case where reports of proceedings attract privilege are now the subject of statutory privilege. Successive statutes have extended the categories. The Law of Libel Amendment Act 1888 (51 & 52 Vict c 64) granted qualified privilege to fair and accurate reports published in newspapers of a limited range of public
198 Reynolds vTimes Newspapers Ltd (HL(E))  2 AC Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead meetings. In 1948 the Report of the Committee on the Law of DefamationA (Cmd 7536), chaired by Lord Porter, recommended that the classes of reports subject to qualified privilege should be extended, and that they should be re-classified into two categories: those where statements were privileged without explanation or contradiction, and those where privilege was conditional on publication on request of a letter or statement by way of explanation or contradiction. The Defamation Act 1952 gave effect to these recommendations. Among the publications having qualified privilege without explanation or contradiction was a fair and accurate report of proceedings in public of the Irish legislature. Until abandoned, this was one of the defendants' pleaded defences in the present proceedings. In 1975 the committee on defamation chaired by Faulks J considered a proposal that a statutory qualified privilege should be created to protect statements made, whether in a newspaper or elsewhere, if the matter was ofc public interest and the publisher believed the statement of facts was true and he had taken reasonable care in relation to such facts. In its report (Cmnd 5909) the committee did not accept this proposal. The committee considered this would seriously alter the balance of the law of defamation against a defamedplaintiff.The committee noted that the common law
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 114 pages?
- Fall '15
- Fianna Fáil, Albert Reynolds, 1996, The Times, News International, Mr Albert Reynolds