State Courts' Call for Feedback on Draft Pre-action Protocol for Defamation Disputes

The State Courts have observed a rise in the number of defamation cases filed. These include cases which could benefit from mediation, as well as cases with pleadings which do not comply with the requirements.

The State Courts intend to roll out a pre-action protocol for defamation disputes with the following objectives:

  1. facilitate early exchange of information;
  2. encourage constructive negotiations leading to settlement;
  3. guide parties on technicalities of defamation action from the outset; and
  4. facilitate streamlined pleadings and focused issues for trial.

The pre-action protocol will include:

  1. Standard forms for letters of claim ('LOC') and response to the LOC. These forms would guide parties to address the proper issues in a defamation action, including the elements of defamation, defences and remedies.
  2. Requirement for parties to exchange documents and contemplate offers to settle before filing writ. This would help parties decide on relative strengths and weaknesses of their cases and focus on amicable and/or practical resolution.
  3. Requirement for parties to explore (or state the reasons for not exploring) ADR before the filing of writ.

The implementation of the protocol is targeted for the 3rd Quarter of 2018. A working draft of the protocol is accessible here.


Members are invited to share their views on the Protocol by 13 June 2018.

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