Wed. May 22nd, 2024

The law with respect to local authorities and their ability to sue for defamation was eventually settled in the House of Lords case of Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd [1993] 1 All ER 1011, which held that local authorities may not sue given that they are government bodies and should therefore be open to “uninhibited public criticism”.

The House of Lords held that it was in the interest of the public to allow a council to be subject to scrutiny and criticism and it would be contrary to such interest for local authorities to have any common law right to bring action for defamation.

For example:

Question:

Can a local authority sue in defamation? For example, if an ex-employee posts on social media criticising specific employees or managers, can the authority act?

Answer:

Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd [1993] 1 All ER 1011 appears to suggest that no action can be taken.

Ferret hopes this post clears this matter up and from now on, that Independent Hemsworth Town Council tells the truth and is the fully open and transparent Council it claims to be.

By Ferret

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