Defamation Outside Reputation: Proposals for the Reform of English Law

Eric Descheemaeker

Research output: Working paper


The view that the wrong of defamation protects the interest in reputation, and nothing but that interest, is ordinarily taken for granted in modern English law. It is, however, incorrect. This paper gives four examples of ways in which the English law of defamation has strayed into the protection of other interests, in particular privacy, self-worth and wealth. They are: the supplementary tests of defamatoriness (the ridicule test and the ‘shun and avoid’ test); s. 8(5) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974; the rule that slanders are not ordinarily actionable without proof of ‘special damage’; and, finally, the compensation of losses consequential upon the injury to reputation. It is argued that these are all unwarranted and ought to be reformed.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh, School of Law, Working Papers
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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