Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 8(II) - Defamation

Project No. 8(II)

Commenced: 1968
Completed: 1979

The law of defamation considers two competing interests: the protection of individual honour, reputation and dignity; and protection of freedom of expression and access to information on public affairs. The laws governing these matters in Australia are complex and varied. The existing law, developed in 19th century England, takes little account of changed social conditions and technological advances in communication.

Terms of Reference

In 1968, the Committee was asked to consider whether any alterations were necessary or desirable in the law of defamation in Western Australia.


Following its release, the Commission’s final report and the report of the Australian Law Reform Commission on the same subject, together with a draft uniform Defamation Bill were placed on the agenda of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General for consideration. In May 1985, the Standing Committee announced that it had been unable to agree on a uniform defamation law for Australia. The issue was reconsidered by the Standing Committee in 1997 and 1998 without agreement. The subject of uniform defamation laws was formally removed from the agenda in October 1998.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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