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Cabinet Will Consider Reforms To Defamation Laws

File image: Rolling News

To crack down on people taking their cases to Ireland for higher payouts.

The Cabinet will consider reforms of defamation laws which would scrap juries in High Court cases and aim to crack down on libel tourism.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee will ask Cabinet permission to draft a reforming bill.

They'll also be given an update on the situation in Ukraine and the government's response from Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney.

For years there have been called to reform the 2009 defamation act and particularly the high payouts which can result from libel cases.

It's been argued high profile figures have used Irish defamation law to send a chilling effect through journalism, with litigious individuals making it punitive to investigate them or their interests.

A review of the defamation act hasn't recommended caps on damages, but does propose getting rid of juries for high court trials.

A judge alone will assess the case; which it hopes will reduce excessive awards, the length of hearings and legal costs.

It also recommends anti SLAPP mechanisms - SLAPP standing for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation'

Essentially stopping exaggerated claims which may be initiated by powerful companies or individuals to discourage debate around something uncomfortable to them.

The review also recommends requiring the court to establish Ireland is the right jurisdiction for the case to be heard in, to cut down on libel tourism of people taking cases here for higher payouts.

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