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Report No. 93

V. Disclosure in Libel Actions

4.17. Libel actions.-

Even before the passing of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1981,1 it was settled that, in England, in interlocutory proceedings (i.e. proceedings preparatory to the hearing of a civil action), an interrogatory could not generally be served requiring a newspaper, when sued for libel, to reveal the source of information. Thus, it has been held2 that in an action for libel, a newspaper could not be required to reveal its source where fair comment was pleaded as a defence. Again, the Court of Appeal would not allow a sports writer to be required to reveal his source, where "justification" was pleaded in an action for damage for libel.3-4

1. Para. 4.13, supra.

2. Lyon v. Daily Telegraph, (1943) 1 KB 476: (1943) 2 All ER 316 (CA).

3. Lowson v. Oihama Press Ltd., (1949) 1 KB 129; (1943) 2 All ER 316 (717) (CA).

4. For extensive references, see Catley Libel and Slander, (1981), para. 1216.

Disclosure of Sources of Information by Mass Media Back

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