THE COURT is the online resource for debate & data about the Supreme Court of Canada.*

Archive For Entries On Defamation and Libel

The Ghomeshi Scandal: Prompting an Important Discussion on Sexual Assault

Jian Ghomeshi was fired from CBC on October 26, 2014 after CBC received evidence that he had caused physical injury to a woman. In response, Ghomeshi filed a $55 million lawsuit alleging defamation and breach of confidence against his former employer. He also submitted a union grievance alleging wrongful dismissal and defamation. Many legal experts […]

Rob Ford’s Trial by Media and the Innocents Caught in the Undertow

These days, the pen (or, perhaps, the keyboard) is truly mightier than the sword. Pens shape public perception, and that power endures beyond borders and beyond lifetimes in our digital age of information. But as the adage goes, with great power comes great responsibility. The international media frenzy surrounding the Rob Ford saga has intensified […]

When do Ad Hominem Attacks in the Blogosphere Attract Civil Liability? Ontario Court of Appeal Sets Stage for Latest Fight in Growing Body of Internet Defamation Jurisprudence

At some point, we’ve all been there. Be it on Facebook, Twitter, or as the case was for John Baglow and Roger Smith, on a blog, many could quite easily recall an instance in which he or she took to the Internet to discuss the issues of the day. Surely, one need not spend hours […]

Breeden v Black and Éditions Écosociété v Banro: Exercising Jurisdiction in Multijurisdictional Defamation Cases

In the companion cases of Breeden v Black, 2012 SCC 19 [Breeden] and Éditions Écosociété Inc. et al. v Banro Corp., 2012 SCC 18 [Banro], the Supreme Court of Canada clarified the manner in which courts should determine whether to exercise jurisdiction over multijurisdictional defamation claims involving foreign defendants. Although the decisions support the ability of plaintiffs to […]

Crookes v Newton: Hyperlinking, Defamation Law, and Freedom of Expression on the Internet

On October 17, 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada released its landmark decision in Crookes v Newton, [2011] 3 SCR 269 [Crookes], affirming 2009 BCCA 392 and 2008 BCSC 1424. At issue was whether creating an internet hyperlink to defamatory material constitutes “publication” of the material for the purposes of defamation law. The case challenged […]

Bou Malhab v. Diffusion Métromédia: SCC Finds “No Ordinary Person” Would Believe Reputation of “Nigger”-Speaking Arab and Haitian Taxi Drivers Was Damaged. Who is the ordinary person?

The past year has been quite the roller coaster for libel and defamation cases here at  Our Senior Contributing Editor, Tiffany Wong, covered two crucial UK cases here and here, as well as the titillating “Officer Bubbles” story here.  Just over a year ago, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) also released the landmark […]

“Irresponsible Journalism” Back on the Debate Table as British Newspaper Appeals to UK Supreme Court for Qualified Privilege

Newspapers once again find themselves on the losing side of libel suits. On July 13, 2010, in Flood v. Times Newspaper Ltd. [2010] EWCA Civ 804 (“Flood”), the England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) (“EWCA”) overturned the trial decision and held that a newspaper was unable to claim qualified privilege for online reporting […]

“Officer Bubbles” Sues YouTube and Anonymous Commenters for Online Defamation

On September 22, 2010, Toronto Police Constable Adam Josephs launched a lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court: Adam Josephs v. YouTube et. al (2010) CV-10-410890 (Ont. Sup. Ct.) (“Josephs v. YouTube”). In the suit, Constable Josephs sues video sharing website YouTube for $1.25 million. He seeks damages for defamation of his reputation and disclosure of […]

Journalistic press freedom and fair comment defence decayed in UK’s British Chiropractic Association v. Dr. Singh

Limits of journalistic press freedom for qualified-privilege and fair comment are hotly debated in jurisdictions around the world as courts try to balance the public interest in freedom of information with private reputational interests battling defamation. Last year, TheCourt covered Grant v. Torstar Corp., 2009 SCC 61 (“Torstar Corp.”), a decision that ranked as the top […]

Potential Liability For Hyperlinking: Crookes v Newton

Considering putting a hyperlink on your website or blog? The case Crookes v Newton, 2009 BCCA 392 [Crookes], may give you pause to reconsider. Although the British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) held in Crookes that a website owner will not be liable for hyperlinking to defamatory sites, the decision left a number of unanswered questions […]