| Commentary

218 Defamatory meaning

| Commentary

218 Defamatory meaning

There are a number of judicial tests for establishing what is defamatory and the categories of libel are never closed. Defamatory meaning is an objective test—what would members of society generally think—not subjective (what did the claimant think).

The court must determine just one ‘correct’ meaning where there are conflicting interpretations. The meaning intended by the defendant is irrelevant as is the meaning in which the words were understood.

The meaning of the words complained of are given their ‘natural and ordinary meaning’ which is the meaning conveyed to the ordinary, reasonable reader. Again, because the meaning of the

To continue reading
View the latest version of this document, as well as thousands of others like it, sign in to LexisLibrary or register for a free trial