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Report No. 33

30. Legal duty.-

We may now specifically discuss privilege under the head of legal duty1. The question of legal duty was considered in an English case2. Section 228 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, imposes a statutory duty upon the master of a ship to make certain entries in the log, and any case where the master leaves a man behind, he must state in the log whether the cause of leaving him behind is desertion or inability to proceed to sea or disappearance. The master made an entry that the plaintiff had deserted the ship. The plaintiff sued the shipping company, inter alia, for damages for libel. It was held, that the words were written and published on a privileged occasion, and before the plaintiff could succeed, he must prove that the master was, in fact, acting maliciously.

1. Para. 24, supra.

2. Moore v. Canadian Pacific Steamship Co., 1945 All ER 128 (133) (Lynskey J.) DS.

Section 44, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 Back

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