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It is open to a defendant who is prepared to accept at an early stage of the proceedings (prior to service of a defence) that he or she has wrongly defamed the claimant to make an offer of amends under section 2 of the Defamation Act 1996 (DeA 1996). By making such an offer, the defendant agrees to make a suitable correction and sufficient apology to the claimant and to pay appropriate compensation (if any is warranted) and costs as agreed between the parties or determined by the court. If the claimant accepts the offer, the case does not proceed to trial but to a hearing before a judge at which any outstanding issues between the parties, most commonly the quantum of compensation, will be determined. In such cases, the fact that a defendant has made a prompt offer of amends will usually result in a substantial reduction in the amount of compensation payable as compared with the damages that would have been awarded had the offer not been made (Nail v News Group Newspapers).
If, by contrast, the claimant does not accept the defendant's offer of amends, the case will proceed to trial in the ordinary way, but the defendant may, if he or she wishes, rely on the offer of amends as a defence. If the defendant does
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