Defamation in Douglas Valley

CoalI’m treading carefully here, because Scotland’s fifth largest local authority has already shown itself to be quite touchy over this matter.

However, the question posed (and emphatically answered) by Indymedia Scotland is whether South Lanarkshire Council‘s actions in threatening to take Douglas Community Council to court over allegedly defamatory statements re-posted by them online amount to bullying and/or a stifling of the right to free speech?  The two bodies have fallen out over open-cast coal mining in the area, and things are now approaching the writ-serving stage.

But, come on now, if accusing local authority officers of lying is really actionable then who among us does not also belong on the receiving end of a defamation action?

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Defamation, Environmental Law, News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Defamation in Douglas Valley

  1. Jonathan says:

    Sounds like a pretty clear case for absolvitor if you’ll pardon my saying so: see Derbyshire CC v Times Newspapers Ltd [1992] UKHL 6 (18 February 1993) . In holding that a local authority had no right to sue for defamation, the House of Lords said “It is of the highest public importance that a democratically elected
    governmental body, or indeed any governmental body, should be open to
    uninhibited public criticism. The threat of a civil action for defamation must
    inevitably have an inhibiting effect on freedom of speech. ”
    Quite right too.

  2. Thank you very much for that insight, Jonathan. I am pleased to hear that the law takes such a dim view of such tactics. I wonder who’s been advising SLC?

    PS. Good luck in the Blawggies!

  3. Pingback: Jonathan Mitchell QC >> What’s wrong with South Lanarkshire?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s