Economou v de Freitas judgment
Commenting on yesterday's Court of Appeal judgment in Economou v de Freitas, Mishcon de Reya's Head of Reputation Protection, Emma Woollcott said:
"Economou was the first full trial of the public interest defence in its new statutory form under the Defamation Act 2013. The Court of Appeal has upheld a flexible interpretation of the defence, which reflects - but is not tied to - the old common law "checklist" for responsible journalism. Crucially, it takes into account the particular role of the defendant, and is not confined to the media. Mr de Freitas then, as more of a source or contributor, was held to a lower standard than might be required of a journalist. The decision, while it recognises that mediating between free speech and reputation is never easy, confirms the broad protection for freedom of speech on matters of public concern, including for those who, like Mr de Freitas, speak out on major – and controversial – issues."
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