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Report No. 93

6.9. Quality or status of the privilege in U.S.A.-

Finally, as to the quality or status of the privileges: some statutes in U.S.A. provide an absolute privilege e.g., those of Alabama and New York. Others provide only a qualified privilege. An example of this latter category is that of Minnesota, whose statute provides that the privilege does not apply "in any defamation action where the person seeking disclosure can demonstrate that the identity of the source will lend to relevant evidence on the issue of actual malice",1 or when the information is relevant to a serious offence and "there is a compelling and overriding interest requiring the disclosure of the information where the disclosure is necessary to prevent injustice," provided that the information cannot be obtained by other means. The statute of New Mexico requires disclosure when "it is essential to prevent injustice".

1. See further, para. 6.13, infra (libel actions).

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