Defamation in Scots law

Closed 5 Apr 2019

Opened 14 Jan 2019

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


In December 2017 the Scottish Law Commission (“the Commission”) published their Report on Defamation which aimed to reform Scots law on defamation. This consultation seeks views on some recommendations made by the Commission in the following areas:

  • The statutory threshold test of serious harm;
  • Proceedings against secondary publishers;
  • The defence of honest opinion;
  • Offers to make amends;
  • Malicious publications; and,
  • Limitation and the multiple publication rule. 

This consultation also seeks views on issues that were not raised as a part of the Commission’s reform project including

  • Defining defamation; and
  • Making unjustified legal threats an actionable delict.

Why we are consulting

Consultation is an essential part of the policy making process. It gives us the opportunity to consider your opinion and expertise on a proposed area of work.

We want our law of defamation to be fit for 21st century Scotland, with a clear and accessible framework that balances freedom of expression and protection of individual reputation.

This consultation provides an opportunity to further explore aspects of the Commission’s recommendations and to seek views on issues that have not been the subject of scrutiny so as to ensure that any reform to defamation law is fully tested.

Read the consultation paper.


  • Arts, Culture and Sport
  • Law and Order