UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Re-thinking the common law of defamation : striking a new balance between freedom of expression and the… Bayer, Carolin Anne 2001

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-ubc_2001-0314.pdf [ 9.34MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0077572.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0077572-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0077572-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0077572-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0077572-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0077572-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0077572-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0077572-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0077572.ris

Full Text

RE-THINKING THE COMMON LAW OF DEFAMATION: STRIKING A NEW BALANCE BETWEEN FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND THE PROTECTION OF THE INDIVIDUAL'S REPUTATION by CAROLIN A N N E B A Y E R Ref. jur., Johannes Gutenberg Universitat Mainz,  2000  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR T H E DEGREE OF MASTER OF LAWS in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Faculty of Law)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 2001 © Carolin Anne Bayer  In  presenting  degree freely  at  the  available  copying  of  department publication  this  of  in  partial  fulfilment  University  of  British  Columbia,  for  this or  thesis  reference  thesis by  this  for  his thesis  and  study.  scholarly  or for  her  of  jgruOhj  financial  ^  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6  (2/88)  I  I further  purposes  gain  the  shall  requirements  agree  that  agree  may  representatives.  permission.  department  of  be  It not  that  the  Library  by  understood be  an  advanced  shall  permission for  granted  is  for  allowed  the  make  extensive  head  that  without  it  of  copying my  my or  written  ABSTRACT  R e p u t a t i o n a l interests are protected against defamatory a n d injurious statements b y the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n , w h i c h permits the targeted i n d i v i d u a l to recover damages for the injury to his reputation. A t the same time, this b o d y o f c o m m o n law sets limits to the constitutional right to free expression o f the p e r s o n w h o m a d e the p e n a l i z e d c o m m u n i c a t i o n . H o w e v e r , since s . 3 2 ( l ) o f the  Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms -  a c c o r d i n g to the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a -  restricts the Charter's a p p l i c a t i o n to the actions o f legislative, executive branches  o f government,  and administrative  the Charter w i l l be at best a bit p l a y e r i n d e f a m a t i o n litigation  g o v e r n e d b y c o m m o n l a w rule.  T h i s thesis deals w i t h the tension between p r o m o t i n g free speech and protecting a person's reputation, i.e. w i t h the questions whether the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n has achieved the correct b a l a n c e b e t w e e n the protection o f the individual's reputation and f r e e d o m o f expression, or whether it needs to b e m o d i f i e d i n order to better a c c o r d w i t h the Charter.  An  important c o m p o n e n t o f this thesis is its r e v i e w o f the d e c i s i o n o f  Scientology,  Hill  v. Church of  where the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a addressed the question o f whether defamation  law needs to be reconsidered i n light o f the Charter protection o f free expression, and f o u n d the balance struck b y the current law to be appropriate. A critical l o o k at this d e c i s i o n , and m o r e generally at the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n itself, particularly its p r e s u m p t i o n s o f falsity, m a l i c e and damages,  w i l l reveal the p r o b l e m s w i t h the c o m m o n law's resistance to m a k i n g any  a l l o w a n c e for free expression.  ii  major  The author will argue that the Charter should apply to the common law in the same way as it applies to statutory law and that defamation law in particular would, in all probability, not survive the test under s.l of the Charter, concerning the justification of a limitation to a fundamental right. It will be concluded that the common law of defamation needs to be modified, i.e. that it must accord significantly more weight to freedom of expression in order to be consistent with the Charter.  Insofar as the extent of such modification is concerned, the author will propose first of all to give the element of fault a more significant role in the common law of defamation. In addition, she will argue that the common law presumptions should be abolished. In sum, the author's reform proposal requires the plaintiff to prove not only that the words he complains of are defamatory, identify him and are published to a third person, but also that they are false, did indeed cause damage to his reputation and that the defendant acted with fault, i.e. intentionally or negligently, when publishing the defamatory falsehoods.  iii  T A B L E OF  CONTENTS  Abstract  ii  T a b l e o f Contents  iv  INTRODUCTION  1  CHAPTER  1:  T h e two values i n Philosophical T e r m s A . Philosophical Foundation of Freedom o f Expression  6  I. T h e A r g u m e n t f r o m D e m o c r a c y  7  II. T r u t h D i s c o v e r y  14  III. F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n and I n d i v i d u a l i t y  19  IV. Final Remarks  25  B . T h e S i g n i f i c a n c e o f an Individual's R e p u t a t i o n  25  I. H i s t o r i c a l Protection o f R e p u t a t i o n  26  II. V a l u e a n d Importance o f R e p u t a t i o n  28  1. D i g n i t a r y V a l u e and P r i v a c y  28  2. E c o n o m i c V a l u e  31  3. Further V a l u e s  32  III. F i n a l R e m a r k s  CHAPTER  33  2:  The pre-Charter L a w o f Defamation A . H i s t o r i c a l D e v e l o p m e n t o f the L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n  34  B . T h e Current L a w o f Defamation  38  I. T h e G e n e r a l F r a m e w o r k o f the L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n  38  II. T h e D e f a m a t i o n A c t i o n  39  1. A D e f a m a t o r y Statement  39  2. R e f e r e n c e to the P l a i n t i f f : Identification  42  3. P u b l i c a t i o n . . .  43  III. D e f e n c e s  45  1. Justification  46  2. P r i v i l e g e  48  a) A b s o l u t e P r i v i l e g e  48  b) Q u a l i f i e d P r i v i l e g e  51  3. F a i r C o m m e n t  58  4. C o n s e n t , A p o l o g y and R e t r a c t i o n  61  iv  CHAPTER  3:  F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n a n d the C h a r t e r A . Introduction o f the C h a r t e r  63  I. H i s t o r i c a l C o n t e x t  63  II. A p p l i c a t i o n o f the Charter  65  B . Structure o f s.2(b) A n a l y s i s  68  I. T h e S c o p e o f F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n  68  1. M e a n i n g o f E x p r e s s i o n  68  2. T h e V i o l e n c e - E x c e p t i o n  72  II. L i m i t a t i o n o f F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n  73  III. Justification o f the L i m i t under s . l o f the Charter  75  1. ' P r e s c r i b e d b y L a w '  78  2. P r e s s i n g a n d Substantial P u r p o s e  79  3. P r o p o r t i o n a l i t y Stage  81  a) R a t i o n a l e C o n n e c t i o n  82  b) M i n i m u m Impairment  82  c) Proportionate E f f e c t  85  I V . 'Indirect' A p p l i c a t i o n o f the Charter  CHAPTER  88  4:  T h e t w o C o m p e t i n g V a l u e s i n the G e r m a n J u r i s d i c t i o n  A . T h e V a l u e s at Issue  91  I. F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n  91  II. T h e I n d i v i d u a l ' s R e p u t a t i o n  93  B . C o n s t i t u t i o n a l R e v i e w w i t h respect to the V i o l a t i o n o f B a s i c R i g h t s  97  I. T h e C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o m p l a i n t  97  II. H o r i z o n t a l E f f e c t o f the B a s i c R i g h t s  98  III. A r t i c l e 5 A n a l y s i s . .  100  1. G e n e r a l L a w s  101  2. T h e o r y o f R e c i p r o c a l E f f e c t  102  3. P r o p o r t i o n a l i t y A n a l y s i s  103  C . F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n a n d the Personality R i g h t I. Statements o f O p i n i o n  105 106  II. F a c t u a l A s s e r t i o n s  107  III. C o n c l u s i o n  111  V  CHAPTER How  5:  d o o t h e r C o m m o n L a w J u r i s d i c t i o n s b a l a n c e the t w o C o m p e t i n g V a l u e s ?  A . U n i t e d States: N e w Y o r k T i m e s C o . v. S u l l i v a n  113  B . A u s t r a l i a : T h e o p h a n o u s v . H e r a l d and W e e k l y T i m e s L t d  117  CHAPTER  6:  R e - t h i n k i n g the C a n a d i a n L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n A . H i l l v. C h u r c h o f Scientology  121  I. T h e Court's D e c i s i o n i n H i l l  122  II. C r i t i c a l R e v i e w o f the D e c i s i o n i n H i l l  126  1. D e f a m a t o r y Speech's W e a k C l a i m to C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Protection  127  2. D u t y to ascertain the T r u t h o f A l l e g a t i o n s  131  3. S u f f i c i e n c y o f the C o m m o n L a w D e f e n c e s  132  4. R e j e c t i o n o f the A c t u a l M a l i c e R u l e  136  5. C o n c l u s i o n  137  B . T h e A p p l i c a t i o n o f the Charter to C o u r t O r d e r s and the C o m m o n L a w  138  C . C r i t i c a l L o o k at the L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n  147  I. D e f a m a t o r y N a t u r e o f the M a t e r i a l  148  II. P r e s u m p t i o n o f F a l s i t y  149  III. P r e s u m p t i o n o f D a m a g e  150  IV. Presumption o f M a l i c e  151  V . C o m m o n L a w Defences  153  V I . C h i l l i n g E f f e c t o f the C o m m o n L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n  154  VII. C o n c l u s i o n  157  D . Proposals for C h a n g e  158  I. A b s o l u t e I m m u n i t y for a l l P o l i t i c a l D i s c u s s i o n  163  II. Q u a l i f i e d P r i v i l e g e for the C o m m u n i c a t i o n M e d i a  164  III. E x t e n s i o n o f the F a u l t E l e m e n t  166  1. D e f e n c e o f D u e D i l i g e n c e  168  2. A c t u a l M a l i c e R u l e  170  3. N e g l i g e n c e Standard  174  IV. Presumption o f Falsity  176  V . Presumption o f Damage  177  VI. Conclusion  177  Bibliography  •  vi  179  INTRODUCTION  C a n a d i a n courts h a v e l o n g f o l l o w e d the traditional c o m m o n law rules for d e f a m a t i o n cases, created to v i n d i c a t e i n j u r y to personal reputation. In recent years, the d e c i s i o n was taken b y the federal a n d n i n e o f the  p r o v i n c i a l governments  constitutional guarantee i n the everyone  Canadian  i n C a n a d a has the right to  Charter  to of  entrench Rights  f r e e d o m o f thought,  freedom  and  o f expression  Freedoms,  belief, o p i n i o n  as  a  p r o m i s i n g that and  expression.  F r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n a n d the individual's reputation are b o t h generally h i g h l y v a l u e d in western society a n d regarded as d e s e r v i n g special protection. A t the same time, a certain tension exists between these two interests.  In s o m e contexts, notably the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n ,  they  i n e v i t a b l y c o l l i d e a n d whatever protections are added to the one must b e taken a w a y f r o m the other. T h i s tension i n the relationship between free expression a n d reputational interests is the subject matter o f m y thesis.  D e f a m a t i o n l a w existed l o n g before the Charter c a m e into force. U n t i l v e r y recently, this law d e v e l o p e d w i t h o u t consideration h a v i n g to be g i v e n to  constitutionally entrenched  values,  particularly f r e e d o m o f expression, a n d has tended to favour the protection o f reputation. T h e focus o f this w o r k , therefore, is the question whether the current l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n takes the p r i n c i p l e s o f f r e e d o m o f expression s u f f i c i e n t l y into account, freedom  or whether the guarantees  of  o f e x p r e s s i o n s h o u l d be interpreted to m o d i f y the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n .  I w i l l argue that the b a l a n c i n g o f the values i n the existing c o m m o n law r e g i m e is no longer reflective o f c o n t e m p o r a r y v i e w s as to the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f f r e e d o m o f expression and I w i l l submit a p r o p o s a l to adjust the entire c o m m o n law i n order to b r i n g it into a c c o r d w i t h what I c o n t e n d are the Charter's a n d society's demands.  1  W i t h respect to b o t h the content a n d the structure o f this thesis, I s h o u l d point out that I am w r i t i n g f r o m the vantage p o i n t o f a law student f r o m a c i v i l law tradition, a n d for an audience o f those f r o m b o t h , c i v i l and c o m m o n law traditions. In the first f i v e chapters o f m y thesis I w i l l , therefore, l i m i t m y s e l f to s i m p l y d e s c r i b i n g various areas o f l a w and legal theory i n order to m a k e this w o r k c o m p r e h e n s i b l e for the w h o l e b o d y o f m y audience. In the c o n c l u d i n g chapter, I w i l l draw o n the material set out i n the entry chapters a n d e x a m i n e it critically.  T h e first chapter deals w i t h the p h i l o s o p h i c a l assessment o f the two c o m p e t i n g values at the centre o f m y thesis. W h e n w e i g h i n g the right to  free  speech against  another  interest,  it is  important to ask w h y w e h a v e c h o s e n to protect free speech, w h i c h o f the rationales is served b y the particular expressive interest  w h i c h comes  activity i n question. M o r e o v e r , it is material to c h e c k whether  into c o n f l i c t w i t h  freedom  the  o f expression does not i t s e l f constitute  a  fundamental right w o r t h y o f protection. In v i e w o f this, the first chapter w i l l investigate b o t h the philosophical  foundations  of  freedom  of  expression  and  the  reasons  for  protecting  the  i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation. S i n c e , i n m y o p i n i o n , the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n does not take the right to free e x p r e s s i o n s u f f i c i e n t l y into account the rationales u n d e r l y i n g f r e e d o m o f expression are particularly important. I w i l l demonstrate that these rationales p r o v i d e strong support for the constitutional protection  o f some  o f what  is presently  considered defamatory  speech  and  consequently, for the m o d i f i c a t i o n o f the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n i n order to b r i n g it into accord w i t h the Charter v a l u e o f freedom o f expression.  T h e next step is to throw light o n the two relevant sources o f l a w - the Charter and the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n - w i t h regard to the interests at issue. T h u s , i n the s e c o n d chapter, the current c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n w i l l b e described. A t this point, I w i l l not take constitutional considerations  into  account,  but  s i m p l y outline the  b o d y o f defamation  law uncritically,  e x p l a i n i n g its historical context a n d general f r a m e w o r k , the elements o f the cause o f action and the defences available. In m y o p i n i o n , this representation is necessary i n order to p r o v i d e an o v e r v i e w o f the matter that I w i l l discuss a n d critique at a later p o i n t i n the thesis. In this chapter I w i l l set the stage for the critical assessment that w i l l f o l l o w i n the last chapter.  For  the same reason, n a m e l y to ensure a better understanding, chapter three introduces the  Canadian  Charter of Rights and Freedoms,  particularly f o c u s s i n g o n f r e e d o m o f expression.  A f t e r b r i e f l y referring to the Charter's historical b a c k g r o u n d and e x p l a i n i n g its application, I w i l l elaborate o n the structure o f the analysis used b y the court i n f r e e d o m o f expression cases. T h u s , the scope o f the right to f r e e d o m o f expression w i l l be defined, and h o w this fundamental right c a n be l i m i t e d under s . l o f the Charter w i l l b e e x a m i n e d .  C h a p t e r four t e m p o r a r i l y departs from the m a i n subject o f the thesis. It describes h o w G e r m a n y , as a c i v i l law j u r i s d i c t i o n , deals w i t h the b a l a n c i n g o f the c o l l i d i n g values i n the hope that this v e r y different a p p r o a c h g i v e s some inspiration for f i n d i n g an appropriate e q u i l i b r i u m w i t h i n C a n a d i a n d e f a m a t i o n law. I w i l l e x p l a i n the concept and structure o f G e r m a n constitutional scrutiny w i t h regard to f r e e d o m o f expression. A l s o , I w i l l introduce s o m e basic features  of  G e r m a n constitutional law s u c h as, for instance, the indirect effect o f basic rights and h o w the basic rights establish an objective order o f values that pervades the entire legal system and, therefore, also i n f l u e n c e s the content o f private law. M y intention, w i t h regard to this chapter, is not so m u c h to c o m p a r e the C a n a d i a n and G e r m a n w a y o f b a l a n c i n g freedom o f expression a n d personal reputation, but rather to demonstrate that other western liberal democratic  countries have c o m e to w i d e l y divergent c o n c l u s i o n s . B y  presenting a c o n c e p t i o n o f d e f a m a t i o n law i n w h i c h  3  freedom  o f e x p r e s s i o n receives  much  stronger  protection,  the reader p o s s i b l y w i l l be c o n v i n c e d m o r e  easily o f the necessity  of  strengthening this right i n C a n a d i a n law as w e l l .  In C h a p t e r f i v e , two important decisions,  Herald Weekly Times,  New York Times  v.  Sullivan  and  Theophanous v.  w i l l be addressed i n order to lay the g r o u n d w o r k for the d e a l i n g w i t h the  solution adopted b y the C a n a d i a n S u p r e m e C o u r t i n  Hill v. Church of Scientology  T h e S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a referred to both o f those decisions i n the  Hill  of Toronto.  case, i n w h i c h it  addressed for the first time the question whether the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n needs to be m o d i f i e d i n light o f the Charter. T o ensure a f u l l c o m p r e h e n s i o n o f this case, I consider it necessary to g i v e an o v e r v i e w o f the m e n t i o n e d d e c i s i o n s m a d e i n the U . S . a n d i n A u s t r a l i a , two other c o m m o n law  countries,  especially since they represent p o s s i b l e proposals for m o d i f i c a t i o n s to the c o m m o n law  of  defamation.  F i n a l l y , chapter six tackles the m a i n issues o f whether C a n a d i a n d e f a m a t i o n l a w i n d e e d needs to be m o d i f i e d i n order to c o m p l y w i t h the Charter and what s u c h a m o d i f i c a t i o n m i g h t l o o k like. I w i l l introduce a n d e x a m i n e the most important C a n a d i a n case w i t h regard to the relationship between the c o m p e t i n g interests,  Hill v. Church of Scientology.  M y critical r e v i e w o f the Court's  d e c i s i o n i n this case leads m e to the c o n v i c t i o n that the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a erroneously m i n i m i z e d the Charter's impact o n the c o m m o n law o f defamation. I w i l l then discuss w h y , a c c o r d i n g to the S u p r e m e C o u r t , the Charter does not a p p l y to court orders a n d the c o m m o n law, and I w i l l argue that this v i e w is irreconcilable w i t h the Charter itself. M y c o n c l u s i o n is that the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n s h o u l d be subject to Charter scrutiny i n the same w a y statutory laws are, i.e. it s h o u l d be tested against s !  o f the Charter.  4  I w i l l also have a m o r e general critical l o o k at this juncture, at the law o f d e f a m a t i o n as outlined i n C h a p t e r 2. T h e ingredients necessary to m a k e out a d e f a m a t i o n action a n d the c o m m o n law p r e s u m p t i o n s o f falsity, damages and m a l i c e w i l l be e x a m i n e d w i t h regard to their consistency w i t h the Charter, particularly w i t h f r e e d o m o f expression. I w i l l argue that the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n has a c h i l l i n g effect o n free speech, that it protects the interest o f reputation to a disproportionate degree, disregarding the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f s.2(b), i n s u m , that it is not concerned w i t h b a l a n c i n g the c o m p e t i n g values at a l l . I w i l l take note o f s o m e o f the proposals that have b e e n m a d e i n the past to m o d i f y the c o m m o n law  o f d e f a m a t i o n , n a m e l y the introduction o f a q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e for the c o m m u n i c a t i o n  media,  the  actual  malice  standard,  absolute  i m m u n i t y for all p o l i t i c a l d i s c u s s i o n and  the  adoption o f a defence o f due d i l i g e n c e . W h i l e a c k n o w l e d g i n g the v a l u e o f these proposals, I a m o f the o p i n i o n that they are not sufficient to secure an appropriate protection o f f r e e d o m o f expression.  M y suggestions  are to do a w a y  w i t h the p r e s u m p t i o n s o f falsity, m a l i c e  and  damages a n d g i v e the p r i n c i p l e o f fault a m o r e significant role w i t h i n the c o m m o n law rules that govern defamation.  B a s e d o n the rationales  that support free expression i n general  and defamatory  speech in  particular, the c r i t i c i s m o f the law o f d e f a m a t i o n , as w e l l as the S u p r e m e Court's d e c i s i o n in  Hill,  I w i l l c o n c l u d e that the plaintiff, i n all d e f a m a t i o n cases, must establish not o n l y that the  words he c o m p l a i n s o f are defamatory, refer to h i m , and were p u b l i s h e d to a third person, but also that the allegations were false, i n d e e d d a m a g e d his reputation, a n d that the defendant acted at  least n e g l i g e n t l y i n p u b l i s h i n g  the  defamatory  reputation.  5  falsehoods  w h i c h injured the p l a i n t i f f s  C H A P T E R 1: T h e two V a l u e s in Philosophical Terms  A s I have already stated, it is material to ask what purposes are served b y the f r e e d o m c l a i m e d , w h e n w e i g h i n g the right to f r e e d o m o f expression  against  other interests.  M o r e o v e r , it is  important to f i n d out whether the interest w h i c h c o m e s into c o n f l i c t w i t h f r e e d o m o f expression, i.e. personal reputation, is not itself a fundamental right e q u a l l y w o r t h o f protection. T h e r e f o r e , I w i l l precede the analysis o f the relationship between the c o m p e t i n g interests w i t h a description o f the p h i l o s o p h i c a l foundations o f f r e e d o m o f expression a n d o f the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f personal reputation.  A . T h e Philosophical Foundations o f Freedom o f Expression  M u c h has b e e n said about the great importance o f f r e e d o m o f expression. It has b e e n referred to as 'the matrix, the indispensable c o n d i t i o n o f nearly every other f o r m o f f r e e d o m . ' considered  as 'little less vital to man's  mind  a n d spirit than breathing  1  It has been  is to h i s p h y s i c a l  existence.' It has b e e n regarded as the 'liberty that underlies the existence o f v i r t u a l l y all other 2  rights a n d liberties.' J o h n Stuart M i l l stated that ' i f all m a n k i n d m i n u s one were o f one o p i n i o n , 3  and o n l y o n e p e r s o n w e r e o f the contrary o p i n i o n , m a n k i n d w o u l d b e n o m o r e j u s t i f i e d i n s i l e n c i n g that o n e p e r s o n ,  than h e , i f h e h a d the p o w e r ,  w o u l d be justified i n silencing  Cardozo J. in Palko v. Connecticut 302 U.S. 319, at p.327 (1937). Rand J. in Switzman v. Elbling, [1957] S.C.R.285, at p.306; in Boucher v. King, [1951] S.C.R. 265 Rand J. also held (at p.288) that 'freedom on though and speech and disagreement in ideas and beliefs, on every conceivable subject, are of the essence of our life.' Daivd Lepofsky, "Towards a Purposive Approach to Freedom of Expression and its Limitations", The Cambridge Lectures 1989, Les editions Yvon Blais Inc., at p.12; Cardozo J. in Palco v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319 (1937), at para. 17. 1  2  3  6  mankind.'  O f t e n , f r e e d o m o f expression is l o o k e d u p o n as the most fundamental h u m a n right  and it has b e e n the f o c a l point for m a n y o f the most important h u m a n rights advances o f m o d e r n history.  T h e S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a has accepted three different rationales to e x p l a i n w h y freedom o f expression receives constitutional protection i n s.2(b) o f the C a n a d i a n Charter o f R i g h t s and F r e e d o m s : (1) free speech constitutes a fundamental c o m p o n e n t o f d e m o c r a c y , (2) it promotes the d i s c o v e r y o f truth a n d (3) it p l a y s a n important role as a n instrument o f personal selffulfilment. In  Irwin Toy the C o u r t s u m m a r i z e d these rationales b y s a y i n g that seeking a n d 5  attaining the truth is a n inherently g o o d activity, participating i n s o c i a l a n d p o l i t i c a l d e c i s i o n m a k i n g is to b e fostered a n d encouraged a n d the diversity i n forms o f i n d i v i d u a l s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t and h u m a n f l o u r i s h i n g ought to b e cultivated i n a n essentially tolerant e n v i r o n m e n t not o n l y for the sake o f those w h o c o n v e y a m e a n i n g but also f o r the sake o f those to w h o m it is c o n v e y e d .  I. T h e A r g u m e n t f r o m D e m o c r a c y T h e argument that free speech is a necessary prerequisite f o r a democratic g o v e r n m e n t is the most c o m m o n l y r e c o g n i z e d rationale f o r f r e e d o m o f expression. In the C a n a d i a n context the link between f r e e d o m o f expression a n d the i d e a o f democratic government  is easy  to explain. P r i o r to the Charter  the C a n a d i a n C o n s t i t u t i o n d i d not  s p e c i f i c a l l y protect f r e e d o m o f expression. I f the courts wanted to g i v e a n y protection to this f r e e d o m they h a d to f i n d s o m e basis f o r it i n the f o r m o f government set out i n the Constitution. T h e y r e c o g n i z e d that the v a l u e o f a n i n f o r m e d a n d intelligent citizenry w a s i m p l i c i t i n the c h o i c e o f a parliamentary f o r m o f g o v e r n m e n t .  4  5 6  6  On Liberty and Considerations on Representative Government, (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1946), at p.14. [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, atp.976. Richard Moon, "The Scope of Freedom of Expression", (1985) 23 Osgoode Hall Law Journal (1-2) 331 at p.339. 7  Indeed, f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n h a d b e e n regarded as one o f the basic values o f a free society before it r e c e i v e d e x p l i c i t protection b y the C a n a d i a n Charter o f R i g h t s a n d F r e e d o m s .  7  Pre-  Charter cases f o c u s e d o n p o l i t i c a l expression, as it constitutes a f u n d a m e n t a l c o m p o n e n t o f democracy.  Cannon  J., for example,  acknowledged i n  Reference  Alberta  Legislation  that  ' d e m o c r a c y cannot b e m a i n t a i n e d without its f o u n d a t i o n : free p u b l i c o p i n i o n and free d i s c u s s i o n throughout the n a t i o n . . . '  8  S i m i l a r l y , A b b o t t J . stated  i n a later case that 'the right o f free  e x p r e s s i o n o f o p i n i o n a n d o f c r i t i c i s m , u p o n matters o f p u b l i c p o l i c y a n d p u b l i c administration, and the right to discuss a n d debate s u c h matters, whether they be s o c i a l , e c o n o m i c or p o l i t i c a l , are essential to the w o r k i n g o f a parliamentary d e m o c r a c y . '  9  H i s t o r i c a l l y , the tradition o f liberal d e m o c r a c y has b e e n l i n k e d to a theory o f s o c i a l c o n t r a c t  10  that sees the basis o f the state's l e g i t i m a c y i n the consent o f the g o v e r n e d . A l t h o u g h the state and law s h o u l d p r o v i d e the citizens w i t h as m u c h space as p o s s i b l e to pursue their o w n interests, law is still necessary as p u b l i c manifestation o f the c o m m o n w i l l since i n d i v i d u a l s l i v e i n conditions o f interdependence a n d n e e d s o m e sort o f regulation o f their i n t e r a c t i o n s .  11  A s a consequence,  i n d i v i d u a l s enter into a s o c i a l contract and thereby consent to g o v e r n m e n t p o w e r to secure their lives, liberty a n d property. B u t this consent is l i m i t e d to the protection o f rights and interests that they cannot adequately safeguard. T h e y do not g i v e the state authority to interfere i n other domains.  See for instance R.W.D.S.U. v. Dolphin Delivery Ltd., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573, where Mclntyre J. held at p.583 that freedom of expression is not a creature of the Charter but one of the fundamental concepts that has formed the basis for the historical development of the political, social and educational institutions of western society. [1938] 2D.L.R. 81, at p.l 19 (Cannon J.). Switzman v. Elbling, [1957] S.C.R. 285, atp.326 (Abbott J.). John Locke elaborates on the conception of consent and civil government in Treatise of Civil Government and a Letter concerning Toleration, (Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, 1965). Richard F. Devlin, "Mapping Legal Theory", (1994) 32 Alberta Law Review 602, at p.610. 7  8  9  10  11  8  T h i s i d e a i n a w a y f o r m s the basis o f M e i k l e j o h n ' s concept o f ' s e l f - g o v e r n m e n t ' , government b y consent.  A c c o r d i n g to h i m , a democratic government is one that is r e s p o n s i b l e to its citizenry  and seeks to represent their interests. It must g i v e p e o p l e an opportunity to formulate their v i e w s o n matters o f p u b l i c importance and to express those v i e w s to their p o l i t i c a l representatives i n 13 order to act d e m o c r a t i c a l l y .  In v i e w o f this, the purpose o f free speech is to g i v e every v o t i n g  m e m b e r the fullest p o s s i b l e participation i n the understanding o f those p r o b l e m s w i t h w h i c h the citizens o f a s e l f - g o v e r n i n g society must d e a l .  1 4  T o d a y , d e m o c r a c y generally is accepted as the proper w a y o f o r g a n i z i n g a state. It c a n be understood as a system  w h i c h a c k n o w l e d g e s that ultimate p o l i t i c a l p o w e r resides  p o p u l a t i o n at large, w h o either directly o r through their elected representatives operation o f g o v e r n m e n t .  15  i n the  control the  T o realize this i d e a a structure is u s u a l l y necessary that p r o v i d e s  frequent a n d o p e n elections w i t h u n i v e r s a l suffrage a n d w i t h some p r i n c i p l e o f majority rule. The  main  feature  o f democracy  that  distinguishes it f r o m  other  forms  o f government  a c c o r d i n g l y is that g o v e r n m e n t is selected b y and representative o f the p e o p l e and that it derives its powers f r o m the consent o f the g o v e r n e d .  If d e m o c r a c y rests f i n a l l y o n the choices o f the citizens a n d o n their consent, they must a l l b e free to discuss a n d debate issues o f p u b l i c or private c o n c e r n i n order to actually exercise their right o f consent. W i t h o u t f r e e d o m o f o p e n d i s c u s s i o n and f r e e d o m to f o r m j u d g e m e n t s , the  Alexander Meiklejohn, Political Freedom, (Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York, 1948); At p. 14 he says that at the bottom of every plan of self-government is a basic agreement, in which all the citizens have joined that all matters of public policy shall be decided by corporate action, that such decisions shall be equally binding on all citizens whether they agree with them or not and that if need be they shall by due legal procedure be enforced upon anyone who refuses to conform to them. Meiklejohn's argumentation is guided by the procedure of the traditional American town meeting whose final aim is the voting of wise decisions in order to promote the welfare of the community. 12  13 14  In Richard Moon, "The Scope of Freedom of Expression", (1985) 23 Osgoode Hall Law Review 331, at p.335. Ibid, atp.75.  9  p u b l i c cannot truly consent to the c o n t i n u e d rule o f a g o v e r n m e n t .  16  It is c r u c i a l to m a k e a l l  relevant i n f o r m a t i o n available to the citizens, to p r o v i d e t h e m w i t h a l l the i n f o r m a t i o n they n e e d to m a k e their d e c i s i o n s . W i t h o u t this f u l l i n f o r m a t i o n a n intelligent vote is not p o s s i b l e and, therefore, d e n y i n g access to that i n f o r m a t i o n c o u l d b e equated w i t h d e n y i n g the right to v o t e .  17  G i v i n g the g o v e r n e d f r e e d o m o f expression a l l o w s them to express p o l i t i c a l o p p o s i t i o n a n d encourages  t h e m to criticise g o v e r n m e n t  a n d the w a y i n w h i c h the affairs o f society are  18 m a n a g e d b y the state.  T h i s is particularly important since through the p o l i t i c a l process most o f  the i m m e d i a t e d e c i s i o n s o n the s u r v i v a l , welfare and progress o f a society are m a d e where the state e s p e c i a l l y is tempted to repress o p p o s i t i o n .  19  I f the g o v e r n m e n t c o u l d restrict expression it  w o u l d b e e n a b l e d to suppress s u c h critical and dissenting v i e w s . A s a c o n s e q u e n c e , the public's ability to r e v o k e its consent and to appoint a n e w government, w h i c h is m o r e w o u l d b e severely r e s t r a i n e d .  This  rationale  importance,  supports  representative,  20  the protection  o f defamatory  speech  w h i c h must b e o p e n to d i s c u s s i o n , certainly  as w e l l .  comprise  Matters  stories  o f public  about p o l i t i c a l  activities a n d the c o n d u c t o f p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s . I f citizens truly are to b e a l l o w e d to discuss and debate s u c h issues this must m e a n that they c a n state their actual o p i n i o n e v e n i f this w i l l result i n defamatory allegations. P o l i t i c a l speech has a core status. T h e r e f o r e , the limits o f acceptable c r i t i c i s m must b e w i d e r i n so far as p o l i t i c i a n s are c o n c e r n e d ; the g o v e r n m e n t a n d government o f f i c i a l s m u s t endure a greater degree o f c r i t i c i s m . H o w e v e r , critical c o m m u n i c a t i o n s might  Frederik Schauer, Free Speech: a philosophical Inquiry, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1982), at pp.36. David Lepofsky, supra n.3, at p.7; Thomas Emerson, Towards a General Theory of the First Amendment, (Random House, New York, 1966), at p.10. Schauer, supra n.15, at p.38. Gita Honwana Welch, "The Meaning and Significance of the Freedom of Expression", in Robert Martin, Speaking Freely (Irwin Law, Toronto, 1999), at p.79. Emerson, supra n.16, at p.9. 15  16  17  18  19  10  easily b e c o n s i d e r e d as defamatory b y the courts. T o seriously a p p l y the rationale o f d e m o c r a c y means that e v e n d e f a m a t o r y c r i t i c i s m has to be accepted as participation i n s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l decision-making.  Freedom  o f expression,  parliamentary  democracy  however, but  is not o n l y regarded  also  serves  other  as  essential  to  the  valuable p o l i t i c a l functions,  working such  of  as  a  the  a c c o m m o d a t i o n o f interests, the enhancement o f s o c i a l stability as w e l l as the deterrence  of  abuse o f authority.  G o v e r n m e n t c a n o n l y be brought closer to the w i l l o f its p e o p l e i f the latter m a k e their v i e w s k n o w n to their representatives. A c c o r d i n g l y , the greater the p u b l i c p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the g o v e r n i n g process t h r o u g h f r e e d o m o f expression, the m o r e responsive is a g o v e r n m e n t a n d the better it will  serve  the w i s h e s o f the p e o p l e .  21  T h e democratic  machinery o f government  will  be  i m p r o v e d to the extent that free speech is a l l o w e d .  C l o s e l y c o n n e c t e d to this aspect is the i d e a o f a c h i e v i n g a balance b e t w e e n stability and change. In  today's  dynamic  society  change  is inevitable since  views  a n d ideas  frequently  alter.  S u p p r e s s i o n o f free speech m i g h t prevent s o c i a l change for s o m e time but it cannot  erase  thought or belief. Instead it conceals the real p r o b l e m s that a society is c o n f r o n t e d w i t h and drives o p p o s i t i o n u n d e r g r o u n d . T o suppress d i s c u s s i o n m e a n s to substitute force for reason w h i c h hinders rational j u d g e m e n t a n d promotes i n f l e x i b i l i t y . S o c i e t y w i l l be prevented  from  Lepofsky, supra n.3, at p.7. Lepofsky, supra n.3, at p.7; Emerson, supra n.16, at p. 10. Certainly, it could be argued that free expression does not produce an adequate reflection of the spectrum of desires and interests because the wishes of the powerful and rich will be given more voice with the result that there is a persuasive inequality, impairing the interest accommodation. However, it is never possible to assess interests in a society without any distortion. And the suppression of certain desires held by members of the privileged group would probably not result in a more accurate account of what citizens want as a whole. 2 0 21  11  adjusting to c h a n g i n g circumstances  or  from  d e v e l o p i n g n e w ideas.  T h e result is  general  stagnation. W h e n change is f i n a l l y f o r c e d o n the c o m m u n i t y it w i l l c o m e i n a m o r e violent and radical f o r m .  2 2  It is the government's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to foster change and r e f o r m i n society i n accordance with the p u b l i c ' s w i s h e s . G o v e r n m e n t has to m a i n t a i n e c o n o m i c a n d social c o n d i t i o n s under w h i c h a democratic system c a n operate a n d it is c r u c i a l that the c o r r e s p o n d i n g s o c i a l , e c o n o m i c and p o l i t i c a l r e f o r m s are i m p l e m e n t e d i n a constructive and n o n - d e s t a b i l i z i n g w a y .  2 3  F r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n p r o v i d e s a f r a m e w o r k i n w h i c h change c a n take p l a c e without destroying society.  Since  free  c o m m u n i c a t i o n a l l o w s p e o p l e to  indicate  their w i s h e s  an  appropriate  assessment o f interests is m o r e l i k e l y w i t h the result that c o m p e t i n g interests a n d desires can more  easily be a d j u s t e d .  24  Furthermore,  a process  o f o p e n d i s c u s s i o n serves to  legitimate  majority d e c i s i o n s i n the m i n d s o f opponents. P e o p l e w h o h a d f u l l f r e e d o m to state their p o s i t i o n a n d to persuade others to adopt it are m o r e ready to accept a m a j o r i t y d e c i s i o n that goes against t h e m . If they h a d a part i n the d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g process they r e c o g n i z e that they have b e e n treated f a i r l y a n d h a v e done everything w i t h i n their p o w e r .  O t h e r w i s e , those w h o  disagree still have the p o s s i b i l i t y to vent their dissatisfaction a n d resentment i n p u b l i c i n a n o n violent m a n n e r b y e x e r c i s i n g their freedom o f expression. T h u s , free speech c a n h e l p to achieve social stability a n d it promotes a p e a c e f u l progress towards an o n g o i n g i m p r o v e m e n t .  Emerson, supra n. 16, at pp. 11. Lepofsky, supra n.3, at p.9; Emerson, supra n.16, at p. 14. Kent Greenawalt, Fighting Words; Individuals, Communities and Liberties of Speech, (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1995) at p.5; Thomas Emerson, The System of Freedom of Expression, (Random House, New York, 1970) at p.7. Kent Greenawalt, Speech, Crime, and the Uses of Language, (Oxford University Press, New York, 1989) at p.25; Emerson, supra n.16, at p.12; Lepofsky, supra n.3, at p.9.  2 3  24  2 5  12  O f central i m p o r t a n c e is also that free speech serves as a c h e c k o n abuse o f authority. W h e r e v e r c h o i c e is i n v o l v e d i n h u m a n life people's actions partly d e p e n d o n what they think w i l l b e c o m e k n o w n . If they are confident that what they do c a n b e kept secret they are m o r e l i k e l y to p e r f o r m acts w h i c h are c o m m o n l y regarded as w r o n g . G o v e r n m e n t authorities l i k e e v e r y b o d y else i n a p o s i t i o n o f p o w e r are i n e v i t a b l y tempted to use their p o w e r to their benefit a n d i n corrupt w a y s . E l e c t e d o f f i c i a l s , h o w e v e r , are v e r y sensitive to p u b l i c o p i n i o n . B e i n g subject to p u b l i c scrutiny they are less l i k e l y to y i e l d to the temptation, i.e. the threat o f exposure o f their m i s c o n d u c t can restrain t h e m f r o m p e r s o n a l abuses o f their o f f i c e .  26  T h e r e f o r e , f r e e d o m o f expression, w h i c h  enables the p u b l i c to c a r e f u l l y scrutinize and c r i t i c a l l y discuss the c o n d u c t o f p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s , m a k e s p o s s i b l e h o l d i n g g o v e r n m e n t a l o f f i c i a l s p r o p e r l y accountable to the e l e c t o r a t e fosters p u b l i c c o n f i d e n c e i n g o v e r n m e n t a l i n s t i t u t i o n s .  27  and thus  28  T h i s last aspect is particularly important w i t h regard to defamatory expression. If a p u b l i c o f f i c i a l is r e p r o a c h e d for certain m i s c o n d u c t the allegations i n this c o n n e c t i o n w i l l necessarily be potentially defamatory.  almost  T h e i d e a o f p u b l i c scrutiny as a c h e c k o n abuse is  c o n c e i v a b l e o n l y i f defamatory speech is protected b y f r e e d o m o f expression as w e l l .  The  argument  from democracy,  however,  o n l y regards  political expression  as  worthy  of  constitutional protection a l t h o u g h the w o r d i n g o f s.2(b) suggests a m u c h broader understanding o f f r e e d o m o f expression. T h u s , this rationale does not account for the f u l l scope o f the right but o n l y for a n a r r o w sector o f it.  Greenawalt, supra n.25, at p.26; detailed: Vincent Blasi, "The checking Value in First Amendment Theory", American Bar Foundation Research Journal 1977, pp.521. Greenawalt, supra n.25, at p.26; Schauer, supra n. 15, at p.35. 27  13  II. T r u t h D i s c o v e r y A n o t h e r argument to j u s t i f y the protection o f f r e e d o m o f expression is that free speech promotes  29 the d i s c o v e r y o f truth a n d is an essential process for a d v a n c i n g k n o w l e d g e . John M i l t o n  3 0  at first brought forth the argument from truth b y p r o c e e d i n g o n the assumption  that the absence o f g o v e r n m e n t restriction o n p u b l i s h i n g w i l l enable society to locate truth a n d reject error. Later, J o h n Stuart M i l l  3 1  contended that i f v o i c e is g i v e n to a w i d e variety o f v i e w s  o v e r the l o n g r u n true v i e w s are m o r e l i k e l y to emerge than i f g o v e r n m e n t suppresses what it deems to b e false. T h i s liberal concept  has m o r e recently b e e n d e s c r i b e d i n terms o f the  maintenance o f a free marketplace o f ideas b y the A m e r i c a n j u d g e H o l m e s , w h o h e l d that 'the best test o f truth is the p o w e r o f the thought to get itself accepted i n the c o m p e t i t i o n o f the market'.  32  T r u t h w i l l most l i k e l y surface w h e n a l l o p i n i o n s m a y freely b e expressed, w h e n there  is an o p e n a n d unregulated market for the trade i n ideas. T h e core p r i n c i p l e o f these theories is that f r e e d o m o f expression is a m e a n s o f i d e n t i f y i n g and accepting truth a n d that truth has the p o w e r to p r e v a i l i n the adversary process o r at least is m o r e l i k e l y to emerge i f n o i d e a is e x c l u d e d f r o m the d i s c u s s i o n .  T h e i d e a is that i f p e o p l e are e x p o s e d o v e r a p e r i o d o f time to v a r i o u s assertions they are l i k e l y to sort out w h i c h are m o r e n e a r l y t r u e .  34  O n the one h a n d , h u m a n j u d g e m e n t , w h i c h is subject to  e m o t i o n , p r e j u d i c e o r p e r s o n a l interest, suffers from l a c k o f i n f o r m a t i o n o r inadequate t h i n k i n g and  therefore  m a y err. It must  remain  incomplete  a n d subject  to further  extension or  The checking function of freedom of expression can be extended to public power in general. Judges, for instance, daily discharge important public authority. The openness of courts to public attendance ensures that judges fulfil their duties free from arbitrariness and abuse by subjecting them to pubic scrutiny. This argument is premised on the initial assumption that the search for truth is a desirable goal. But certainly a society with more knowledge is better off than one with less. In Areopagitica (University Tutorial Press, London, 1968; from 1644). In On Liberty (from 1859) supra n.4. In Abrahams v. United States (1919), 250 U.S. 616, atp.630. Schauer, supra n. 15, at p. 16. Greenawalt, supra n.25, at p. 16. 2 9  3 0 31 32  3 3  3 4  14  m o d i f i c a t i o n . A s a consequence, an i n d i v i d u a l w h o seeks k n o w l e d g e and truth must hear all sides o f the question, e s p e c i a l l y as presented b y those w h o h a v e a different o p i n i o n , i n order to arrive at the most rational j u d g e m e n t . A c c o r d i n g l y , o p e n d i s c u s s i o n , free e x c h a n g e o f ideas and the f r e e d o m to criticize are necessary conditions for the effective f u n c t i o n i n g o f the process o f searching for truth. O n the other h a n d , s c e p t i c i s m is advisable e v e n w i t h respect to accepted beliefs and w i d e l y a c k n o w l e d g e d truth. A s the past has s h o w n i n cases s u c h as for instance C o p e r n i c u s or E i n s t e i n , advances  i n h u m a n k n o w l e d g e have  assumptions.  36  often resulted  f r o m c h a l l e n g i n g so  far  unquestioned  E v e r y age has h e l d o p i n i o n s w h i c h have b e e n d e e m e d false b y subsequent ages  and certainly m a n y v i e w s that are at present generally regarded as true w i l l i n future times be rejected.  37  T h e r e f o r e , n o o p i n i o n can be i m m u n e from challenge, particularly not i n a constantly  c h a n g i n g w o r l d , a n d d i s c u s s i o n must be kept o p e n n o matter h o w w i d e l y a c k n o w l e d g e d an o p i n i o n m a y s e e m to be.  A r g u a b l y , free expression o f ideas m i g h t not i n d e e d lead to truth. H i s t o r y p r o v i d e s enough examples  where  truth  d i d not  p r e v a i l , at  least  i n the  short  run. H o w e v e r ,  a  policy  n o n r e g u l a t i o n at least leaves o p e n the theoretical p o s s i b i l i t y that error c a n be corrected assists i n p r o m o t i n g the truth i n a w a y  w h i c h w o u l d b e i m p o s s i b l e without  freedom  of and of  expression.  M i l l , as one o f the early advocates o f this idea, argues that the o p i n i o n w h i c h is attempted to be suppressed b y authority m a y p o s s i b l y be true or m a y contain a p o r t i o n o f truth. H e continues that i f the o p i n i o n is right the h u m a n race is d e p r i v e d o f the opportunity o f e x c h a n g i n g error for  35 36 37  Emerson, supra n.16, at p.7; Schauer, supra n.15, at p.15. Emerson, supra n.16, at p.8. Mill, supra n.4, at p. 16. 15  truth a n d that e v e n i f a n e w o p i n i o n is false it s h o u l d not be stifled for its presentation and the d i s c u s s i o n about it c o m p e l a r e t h i n k i n g a n d retesting o f the already accepted  and  attacked  o p i n i o n . T h e c o l l i s i o n w i t h error leads to a clearer p e r c e p t i o n a n d livelier i m p r e s s i o n o f truth, w h i c h results i n a deeper understanding o f the reasons for h o l d i n g the accepted o p i n i o n and its TO  m e a n i n g c a n b e f u l l y appreciated. H e points out that the o n l y j u s t i f i c a t i o n for suppressing an o p i n i o n is that those w h o decide to suppress it are i n f a l l i b l e i n their j u d g e m e n t o f the truth. I f p u b l i c authorities refuse to hear an o p i n i o n because they are sure this o p i n i o n is false they assume that their certainty is an absolute certainty. B u t n o i n d i v i d u a l or group c a n be i n f a l l i b l e and there is n o s u c h thing as absolute certainty; thus, a l l s i l e n c i n g o f d i s c u s s i o n is an a s s u m p t i o n o f i n f a l l i b i l i t y .  39  T h e d i f f i c u l t y o f d e t e r m i n i n g whether a c o m m u n i c a t i o n is true or false also has i m p l i c a t i o n s for defamatory speech. A l t h o u g h defamatory i n nature a statement still m i g h t b e true and thus, the p e r s o n i d e n t i f i e d i n it is not entitled to be protected against it since he does not deserve a g o o d reputation i n this c o n n e c t i o n . T h u s , i n order to a v o i d the suppression o f right ideas defamatory s p e e c h s h o u l d b e prima facie  protected.  In a w a y , M i l l ' s line o f argument supports the concept o f content neutrality l a i d d o w n i n  Toy  40  even  Irwin  a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h expression cannot be e x c l u d e d f r o m the scope o f s.2(b) o n the basis o f  the content or m e a n i n g b e i n g c o n v e y e d . In v i e w o f the i n f a l l i b i l i t y necessary to decide whether  Mill, supra n.4, at p. 15; see also Emerson, supra n.16, at p.8. Mill, supra n.4, at p.15. With regard to this, Greenawalt (in Fighting Words, supra n.24, at p.5) as well as Dworkin (Freedom's Law - the Moral Reading of the American Constitution, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1996, at p.204) pointed out that while human judgement in general has to be looked at with scepticism this scepticism applies even more to the motives and abilities of those to whom people grant political power. Especially where the political area is concerned government's own view of truth is to be distrusted since officials want to stay in office and promote their interests. The state's self-serving tendency motivates the state to repress speech critical of its policies. A principle of freedom of expression allows people to voice their scepticism where the power of any authority to distinguish truth from falsity is concerned. Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Quebec, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, atp.969. 3 9  w  16  a c o m r n u n i c a t i o n is true or false it is preferable to protect  expression independently o f its  content. P r o c e e d i n g f r o m this p r e m i s e , defamatory content is irrelevant w i t h respect to s.2(b) protection.  A l t h o u g h the c o n f i d e n c e p l a c e d i n the r e a s o n i n g p o w e r o f p e o p l e a n d the faith i n the ability o f reason to d i s t i n g u i s h truth f r o m f a ls e h o o d is based o n a rather o p t i m i s t i c v i e w o f the rationality and p e r f e c t i b i l i t y o f h u m a n i t y , a n d although an increase o f k n o w l e d g e can o n l y be achieved at 41  the expense o f tolerating m a n y u n s o u n d ideas w i t h the risk that the p u b l i c m i g h t accept false o p i n i o n s despite their falsity a n d act i n accordance w i t h t h e m the advantages expression o u t w e i g h the disadvantages connected w i t h i t .  o f unregulated  42  A l l o w i n g free e x p r e s s i o n o f o p i n i o n w i l l increase the n u m b e r o f alternatives and challenges to r e c e i v e d v i e w s . T o raise the n u m b e r o f ideas i n circulation, again, w i l l i n all p r o b a b i l i t y increase the total n u m b e r o f correct ideas. D e s p i t e the circumstance that the p u b l i c m a y not be able to identify most e f f e c t i v e l y the truth a n d s o u n d p o l i c i e s , the p u b l i c is v e r y suitable for o f f e r i n g the multitude o f ideas necessary to advance k n o w l e d g e s i m p l y because o f its size and d i v e r s i t y . T h e r e f o r e , the p o p u l a t i o n at large holds a valuable f u n c t i o n i n the truth-seeking p r o c e s s .  44  43  Even  t h o u g h a 'marketplace' o f ideas m i g h t not present the best s o l u t i o n a n d the p o p u l a t i o n at large m i g h t not be able to d i s c e r n truth, the critical question is h o w w e l l truth w i l l advance i n conditions government  other will  than serve  freedom the  and h o w  truth.  far constraints  Although  individuals  o n conversation may  not  be  imposed by  trustworthy  the  i n their  evaluations it m a y be e v e n m o r e suspect to let government decide what p e o p l e m a y hear and see. C e r t a i n l y , a process o f rational t h i n k i n g where w e listen to other (opposing) positions and  Schauer, supra n.15, at p.26. Robert F. Ladenson, "A Philosophy of Free Expression and its Constitutional Applications", (Rowman and Littlefield, New Jersey, 1983) stated at p.34 that although unregulated expression of attitudes and beliefs occasionally leads to serious trouble total regulation virtually guarantees it. Schauer, supra n.15, at p.27.  41  42  43  17  c o n s i d e r the p o s s i b i l i t y that w e m i g h t be w r o n g is preferable to g o v e r n m e n t selecting truth and suppressing 'apparent f a l s e h o o d s ' .  45  A t the same time a 'marketplace o f ideas' increases  the total b a n k o f k n o w l e d g e i n society  through the a c q u i s i t i o n o f n e w ideas. It serves p u b l i c education. M e m b e r s o f society profit f r o m the aggregated i n f o r m a t i o n b y b e i n g enabled to increase their l e v e l o f e d u c a t i o n .  46  D i v e r s i t y and  p l u r a l i s m i n society w i l l b e fostered because f r e e d o m o f expression a l l o w s the presentation o f a multitude o f o p i n i o n s a n d ideas. T h i s is especially important i n C a n a d a where the C a n a d i a n Charter expressly contains the c o m m i t m e n t to the enhancement o f m u l t i c u l t u r a l i s m i n its s . 2 7 .  47  In a society w i t h f r e e d o m o f expression i n d i v i d u a l s and groups c a n feel free to exercise and manifest to others  their cultural a n d i d e o l o g i c a l d i v e r s i t y .  48  P e o p l e w h o a l l d i f f e r i n their  attitudes, desires, m o t i v a t i o n s and abilities can o p e n l y d i s p l a y their o p i n i o n s a n d choices and therefore p r o d u c e a great variety o f ideas and stimulate i n d i v i d u a l s . S o c i e t y m a y profit f r o m this diversity  because  it encourages  governmental organizations. in  Irwin Toy  50  49  experimentation  with  alternative  policies,  life  styles or  In accordance w i t h this idea, the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a held  that the protection o f f r e e d o m o f expression is 'fundamental because i n a free,  pluralistic a n d democratic society w e prize a diversity o f ideas a n d o p i n i o n s for their inherent value b o t h to the c o m m u n i t y and to the i n d i v i d u a l . '  Schauer, supra n.15, at p.28. Schauer, supra n.15, at pp.27, 34; Greenawalt, supra n.25, at pp.20-22. Lepofsky, supra n.3, at p.l 1; Ronald A. Cass mentioned in "First Amendment Access to Government Facilities", (1979) 65 Va.L.Rev. 1287, at p.1311 the benefits of improved knowledge in any field. S.27 demands that the Charter 'shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians' to constitutionally ensue that Charter rights will be construed in a manner which promotes this heritage.' Lepofsky, supra n.3, at p.l 1. Schauer, supra n.15, at pp.66. [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, atp.968.  4 5  4 6  4 7  4 8  4 9  5 0  18  F i n a l l y , it promotes tolerance to a l l o w a b r o a d variety o f v i e w s a n d to a c k n o w l e d g e the right o f e v e r y b o d y to speak a n d express their attitudes.  51  O f course the p r o m o t i o n o f tolerance is not a  p r i m a r y j u s t i f i c a t i o n for f r e e d o m o f expression but i n a tolerant society w h e r e p e o p l e can feel free to b e different there p r o b a b l y is a greater c o h e s i o n and a greater potential to use the existing diversity i n an advantageous a n d i n n o v a t i v e w a y .  L i k e the argument f r o m d e m o c r a c y , the truth rationale also is u n d e r - i n c l u s i v e . O f t e n there are f o r m s o f artistic, c o m m e r c i a l or p o l i t i c a l expression that has purposes other than the search for truth, for instance, they m i g h t intend to shock, entertain, or motivate without contributing to truth d i s c o v e r y . S u c h expression w i l l not be c o v e r e d b y the argument from truth.  III. F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n a n d I n d i v i d u a l i t y T h e a b o v e - d e s c r i b e d arguments from d e m o c r a c y and truth v a l u e o p e n c o m m u n i c a t i o n for what it does, for its p o s i t i v e e f f e c t s .  52  T h e y treat free speech as a means, for instance a means  of  ensuring the p r o p e r f u n c t i o n i n g o f a democratic state or as a means o f i d e n t i f y i n g truth, and not as an end i n itself. E m p h a s i s is o n the interests o f and the benefits to society as a w h o l e rather than o n concerns for the w e l l - b e i n g o f i n d i v i d u a l s  and the values that underlie those previous  arguments are m o r e social than i n d i v i d u a l . T h e f o l l o w i n g groups o f arguments, o n the other h a n d , focus o n free speech as an autonomous value a n d o n the i n d i v i d u a l as such. F o r instance, they regard the i n d i v i d u a l ' s capacity and  freedom  o p i n i o n s a n d to discuss these w i t h others  to f o r m one's o w n v i e w s , impressions and  without restraint  or fear o f o f f i c i a l  censorship as a pre-requisite to one's growth, maturation a n d s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t . is seen as b e i n g o f intrinsic w o r t h to the  51 52 53  individual,  an important  Greenawalt, supra n.25, at p.29. This is what Greenawalt refers to as consequentialist justifications for free speech. Schauer, supra n.15, at p.47. 19  54  scrutiny  or  H e r e expression  element  o f individual  a u t o n o m y a n d self-realization. I n d i v i d u a l w e l l - b e i n g is regarded as an e n d i n itself.  One  argument  f o r f r e e d o m o f expression i n this category  is based o n the c o n c e p t i o n o f  i n d i v i d u a l a u t o n o m y . T o b e g i n w i t h , c o m m u n i c a t i o n is f u n d a m e n t a l to h u m a n existence. It is important f o r the welfare o f the i n d i v i d u a l to have the opportunity o f relating to others and e x c h a n g i n g ideas w i t h o t h e r s .  55  W h i l e the state m a y legitimately exercise p o w e r w i t h i n its  d o m a i n there is a sphere that b e l o n g s to the i n d i v i d u a l h i m s e l f , a private area that concerns matters w h i c h are not the government's business. It is the private d o m a i n o f the m i n d that is under the e x c l u s i v e c o n t r o l o f the i n d i v i d u a l and b e y o n d the reach o f state p o w e r . In this area the i n d i v i d u a l is truly a u t o n o m o u s . As  a consequence,  56  the i n d i v i d u a l  should  be  free  to articulate  his o w n judgements o n  circumstances a n d persons a n d to c o m m u n i c a t e t h e m to others e v e n i f they m i g h t be defamatory i n nature.  S c a n l o n characterizes  a u t o n o m y as m a k i n g one's o w n choices a n d not b e i n g subject to the  dictates o f others i n one's decisions. It means a capacity i n the i n d i v i d u a l to m a k e judgements and to g i v e intelligent direction to h i s life. A n autonomous p e r s o n cannot  accept without  independent c o n s i d e r a t i o n the j u d g e m e n t o f others as to what he s h o u l d b e l i e v e or what he should d o .  5 7  T h e r e f o r e , i n order to regard h i m s e l f as autonomous, a p e r s o n must see h i m s e l f as  s o v e r e i g n i n m a k i n g h i s decisions. In all matters o f c h o i c e the ultimate c h o i c e has to rest w i t h  Lepofsky, supra n.3, at pi 1. The German writer Thomas Mann (1875-1955) observed that speech is civilization itself and the word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact - it is silence which isolates. And George Orwell described in 1984 (from 1949) how the individual becomes a prisoner within his body and mind as a result of official monitoring of his thoughts, beliefs and speech. Schauer, supra n.15, at p.68. Thomas Scanlon, " A Theory of Expression", Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol.1 (1971), 203, printed in Schauer, The Philosophy of Law, (Hartcourt Brace College Publishers, Philadelphia, 1996) 356, at p.364. 5 5  5 6 5 7  20  the i n d i v i d u a l . T h e p r e m i s e o f S c a n l o n ' s argument for f r e e d o m o f expression is that the p o w e r s o f the state are limited  to  those  that  citizens  a u t o n o m o u s a n d rational a g e n t s .  can 59  recognize  while  still  regarding  themselves  as  equal,  T h e government is m o r a l l y b o u n d to respect the a u t o n o m y o f  i n d i v i d u a l s a n d has to treat t h e m as capable o f m a k i n g decisions for themselves and o f f o r m i n g intelligent conceptions o f h o w their lives s h o u l d be l i v e d . T h e r e f o r e , it is necessary that an i n d i v i d u a l ' s d e c i s i o n ought to be as i n f o r m e d and intelligent as possible.  60  Freedom  o f c h o i c e requires a  free  f l o w o f i n f o r m a t i o n to  the  individual.  The  i n d i v i d u a l has a right to receive this i n f o r m a t i o n and, b e y o n d it, without g o v e r n m e n t a l intrusion into the process o f c h o i c e , i.e. government ought not to restrict it. If g o v e r n m e n t tries to prevent an i n d i v i d u a l from r e c e i v i n g i n f o r m a t i o n and ideas from others o n the g r o u n d s that it believes he is not capable o f m a k i n g j u d g e m e n t s for h i m s e l f a n d because it wants to protect h i m from c o m i n g to h a v e false beliefs it fails to s h o w this i n d i v i d u a l the r e q u i r e d respect. In that case government does not r e c o g n i z e the individual's a u t o n o m y . E s p e c i a l l y i n questions o f faith, matters o f m o r a l r e l i g i o u s or p h i l o s o p h i c doctrine, it is o b v i o u s that the state has n o authority to ultimately m a k e decisions for i n d i v i d u a l s . T h e r e f o r e , the state has no mandate information  upon which  a  choice  may  be  made  by  the  individual  for  the  to limit the individual.  G o v e r n m e n t a l p r o h i b i t i o n i n that respect interferes w i t h the i n d i v i d u a l ' s exercise o f a u t o n o m y whereas a l l o w i n g all ideas to be expressed fosters i n d i v i d u a l i s m a n d freedom o f c h o i c e . T h u s , freedom  o f expression is thought to p r o m o t e a u t o n o m y because it affords p e o p l e the opportunity  to hear c o m p e t i n g positions and to explore options i n conversations w i t h others and thereby supports a n d encourages independent j u d g e m e n t a n d c o n s i d e r e d decisions.  For example, when the law requires or prohibits a certain action the autonomous individual can still decide whether to obey the law or to violate it and take the consequences. Scanlon, supra n.57, at p.363. 58  59  21  T h e i d e a that a n i n d i v i d u a l ' s d e c i s i o n ought to b e as i n f o r m e d as p o s s i b l e i n order to promote his a u t o n o m y resembles the concept o f the citizens' consent as d e s c r i b e d w i t h i n the argument o f democracy,  but o n  a more  general  level.  This  i d e a s i m i l a r l y supports  the  protection  of  defamatory e x p r e s s i o n : It is a n e n d i n itself (and essential for a u t o n o m y ) to c o m m u n i c a t e y o u r own  o p i n i o n a n d to receive the o p i n i o n o f others. T o listen to c o m m u n i c a t i o n s w h i c h a court at  trial regards as defamatory also contributes to the f o r m i n g o f an o p i n i o n a n d the m a k i n g o f a d e c i s i o n . In case the allegations are false they m a y certainly have negative effects w i t h the result that the reputational interests o f the p e r s o n c o n c e r n e d s h o u l d p r e v a i l i n the end. H o w e v e r , it is p o s s i b l e that the imputations are true, i n w h i c h case their expression c a n be h e l p f u l for the d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g process o f their recipient. F o r this reason, speech w h i c h is defamatory should not  per  se  be  excluded  from  the  constitutional  protection  of  expression.  Otherwise,  c o m m u n i c a t i o n s important for the process b y w h i c h persons c o n s c i o u s l y c h o o s e from a m o n g alternatives m i g h t be suppressed.  One  p o s i t i v e effect o f s u c h personal a u t o n o m y is that i n d i v i d u a l s w h o decide for themselves  u s u a l l y act a n d l i v e i n a better w a y than those w h o p a s s i v e l y s u b m i t to authority. F o r instance, i f p e o p l e w o r k out a style o f life for themselves, their life is p r o b a b l y m o r e f u l f i l l i n g than one that they w o u l d a c h i e v e b y s i m p l y c o n f i r m i n g to standards set b y o t h e r s .  61  A p a r t f r o m this, society at  large a n d the state itself m a y benefit from the satisfaction o f i n d i v i d u a l interests. A s J o h n Stuart M i l l already o b s e r v e d : the w o r t h o f a State, i n the l o n g r u n , is the w o r t h o f the individuals c o m p o s i n g it a n d w i t h s m a l l m e n n o great thing c a n really be a c c o m p l i s h e d . M i l l is c o n v i n c e d that the h u m a n race c o l l e c t i v e l y a n d o v e r the l o n g r u n benefits f r o m c u l t i v a t i o n o f i n d i v i d u a l i t y and  believes that the m o r e one's i n d i v i d u a l i t y is d e v e l o p e d the m o r e v a l u a b l e one  becomes  Schauer, supra n.15, at p.69; In Rocket v. Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 323, a case that dealt with commercial expression, the Supreme Court of Canada noted that enhancing the ability to make informed choices is an important public interest. 60  22  oneself, a n d therefore, the m o r e potentially valuable one b e c o m e s to others.  S i m i l a r to the concept  o f autonomy  is that o f s e l f - d e v e l o p m e n t w h i c h proceeds  from  the  a s s u m p t i o n that the achievement o f self-realization c o m m e n c e s w i t h d e v e l o p m e n t o f the m i n d . T h e basis o f this concept is the p r e m i s e that the proper e n d o f m a n is the realization o f h i s character a n d potentialities as a h u m a n b e i n g . M a n ' s faculties o f reason a n d t h i n k i n g are the core o f s e l f - d e v e l o p m e n t since they distinguish h u m a n i t y f r o m other f o r m s o f a n i m a l life. T h r o u g h the d e v e l o p m e n t o f man's p o w e r s s u c h as the capacity to think i n abstract terms, to use language and to c o m m u n i c a t e h i s thoughts a n d emotions, m a n finds h i s m e a n i n g a n d p l a c e i n the w o r l d and the fullest use o f these p o w e r s is h i s ultimate g o a l .  63  T h e process o f intellectual self-development, h o w e v e r , c a n o n l y operate e f f e c t i v e l y w h e n there is c o m m u n i c a t i o n o f thoughts a n d beliefs a n d the exchange o f different ideas since m i n d s do not d e v e l o p i n a v a c u u m or i n isolation. Characteristically thought,  moral judgement  interaction.  A society  h u m a n capacities  s u c h as rational  a n d e m o t i o n a l attachment c a n o n l y d e v e l o p b y means  o f some  k i n d a n d c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h one another  i n d i v i d u a l s are to d e v e l o p as t h i n k i n g b e i n g s .  o f social  are essential  if  64  It happens, f o r e x a m p l e , that a p e r s o n has a certain train o f thought w h i c h does not f u l l y develop and b e c o m e  clear  until it has to be articulated  to someone  else i n an intelligible f o r m .  C o m m u n i c a t i o n enables the speaker to better understand h i s o w n thoughts, to c l a r i f y a n d to g i v e  Greenawalt, supra n.25, at p.32. However, this theory does not mean that freedom of expression will actually produce fully autonomous individuals. The claim is that people will be more autonomous under these circumstances than under a regime of substantial suppression. Regarding societies in history shows that comparative autonomy of individuals is linked to relative freedom of opinion. But regardless of whether free speech actually promotes autonomy and rational decision, at any rate, to grant this liberty constitutes a public recognition of people as autonomous. (Greenawalt, supra n.25, at p.27; as well as in Fighting Words, supra n.24, at p.5).  61  6 2  Emerson, supra n.16, at p.4; Schauer, supra n.15, at p.54. Richard Moon, "The Scope of Freedom of Expression", 23 Osgoode Hall Law Journal (1-2), 1985, 331, at pp.346. 6 3  6 4  23  f o r m to t h e m . A t the same time, it is advantageous to the recipient to receive and assess the i n f o r m a t i o n presented to h i m . H e benefits f r o m the k n o w l e d g e that others share w i t h h i m . H e m a y , for instance, not have i m a g i n e d a certain p o s s i b i l i t y w h i c h has b e e n suggested to h i m b y another p e r s o n a n d , thus, is m a d e aware o f h a v i n g choices. H i s capacity for thought and his selfd e v e l o p m e n t are furthered as w e l l .  6 5  T h u s , f r e e d o m to c o m m u n i c a t e is a vital aspect o f the  d e v e l o p m e n t o f one's personality a n d integrity.  In c o n n e c t i o n w i t h f r e e d o m o f expression,  the aspect o f h u m a n d i g n i t y also needs  to  be  m e n t i o n e d . T h e w i l l i n g n e s s o f others to listen to what one has to say generates self-respect. It is a s i g n o f respect to a c k n o w l e d g e that the c h o i c e s o f one i n d i v i d u a l are as w o r t h y as those o f anyone else. W h e n a person's ideas are suppressed society is s a y i n g that his ideas are  not  w o r t h y , that they are not as g o o d as those o f most other p e o p l e . C e n s o r s h i p is d e g r a d i n g and conveys  the  i m p r e s s i o n o f u n d e s i r a b i l i t y or inferiority o f the beliefs c o n c e r n e d .  T h e r e is  s o m e t h i n g p a r t i c u l a r l y d e h u m a n i z i n g about t e l l i n g a person that he cannot c o m m u n i c a t e his beliefs; to d e n y s o m e o n e the respect o f listening to what he has to say or to e x c l u d e h i m f r o m the p o s s i b i l i t y o f s p e a k i n g is to deprive h i m o f his dignity. A n d since the expression o f beliefs and feelings are c l o s e l y tied to one's personality, restriction o f expression m a y o f f e n d one's sense o f d i g n i t y to an e v e n greater degree than other restrictions.  A c c o r d i n g to this v i e w ,  suppression o f belief, o p i n i o n a n d expression is an affront to the d i g n i t y o f the i n d i v i d u a l and a negation o f man's essential n a t u r e .  66  A t the same time, to suppress certain beliefs is like treating the p e r s o n w h o f i r m l y h o l d s them as an u n e q u a l m e m b e r o f society because his ideas are regarded as not b e i n g o f equal value w i t h everyone else's ideas. T o f a v o u r s o m e points o f v i e w s over others a n d to i m p o s e  Moon, ibid, at pp.352; Schauer, supra n.15, at p.55. Emerson, supra n.16, at p.5; Greenawalt, supra n.25, at p.28, 33f; Schauer, supra n.15, at p.62. 24  selective  restrictions b a s e d o n the content o f ideas infringes the p r i n c i p l e o f equality.  H o w e v e r , the argument that free expression is a pre-requisite for a u t o n o m y or i n d i v i d u a l selff u l f i l m e n t is i n danger o f b e i n g a general argument explaining  why  expression,  i n contrast  to  other  for i n d i v i d u a l liberty without  self-fulfilling  activities,  deserves  actually special  constitutional protection.  IV. Final Remarks A l l the a b o v e - m e n t i o n e d arguments have distinct values but are nevertheless interdependent and l i n k e d to each other. C e r t a i n l y , each o f the concepts has its flaws a n d weaknesses.  N o one  rationale alone is l i k e l y to b e adequate or to g i v e an independent argument for the p r i n c i p l e o f free expression.  ( T h e arguments f r o m d e m o c r a c y a n d f r o m truth, for instance, do not account  for the f u l l scope o f f r e e d o m o f expression, w h i l e the arguments referring to i n d i v i d u a l selff u l f i l m e n t or a u t o n o m y are s a i d to be o v e r - i n c l u s i v e . ) H o w e v e r , there is n o n e e d to adopt just one j u s t i f i c a t i o n .  The  different justifications  may  assume  various  degrees  of  importance  d e p e n d i n g o n the circumstances o f the situation. E v e n t h o u g h one theory i n itself m i g h t not be sufficient to j u s t i f y f r e e d o m o f expression all o f t h e m c o l l e c t i v e l y create significant support for this fundamental right.  B . T h e Significance o f an Individual's Reputation  T h e reputation o f a p e r s o n is the esteem i n w h i c h he is h e l d , or the g o o d w i l l entertained towards h i m , or the c o n f i d e n c e reposed i n h i m b y other persons, whether i n respect o f his personal character, his private or domestic life, his p u b l i c , s o c i a l , p r o f e s s i o n a l , or business qualifications,  67  Schauer, supra n.15, at p.63; Greenawalt, supra n.25, at p.33. 25  qualities, c o m p e t e n c e , dealings, conduct, o r status, o r his financial credit.  A g o o d reputation is  built u p b y a l i f e t i m e o f conduct a n d its possession is c o n d u c i v e to happiness i n life a n d contentment. T h e loss o f it brings shame, m i s e r y and heartache. It is not l i k e material things i n life that one m a y h a v e today, lose t o m o r r o w a n d repossess again the next day. O n c e lost, it is p r a c t i c a l l y i m p o s s i b l e to b e r e g a i n e d .  69  In the w o r d s o f W i l l i a m Shakespeare, 'spotless reputation' is 'the purest treasure mortal times a f f o r d ; that a w a y , m e n are but g i l d e d l o a m or painted c l a y ' .  70  A n d a c c o r d i n g to Steward J .  71  'The  right o f a m a n to the protection o f his o w n reputation f r o m unjustified i n v a s i o n and w r o n g f u l hurt reflects n o m o r e than our basic concept o f the essential d i g n i t y and w o r t h o f every h u m a n b e i n g - a concept at the root o f any decent system o f ordered liberty.' R e p u t a t i o n is a n d a l w a y s has b e e n regarded as an important v a l u e w h i c h the law must protect. It has b e e n d e s c r i b e d as the f u n d a m e n t a l f o u n d a t i o n o n w h i c h p e o p l e are able to interact w i t h each other i n s o c i a l e n v i r o n m e n t s , as the m o s t dearly p r i z e d attribute o f c i v i l i z e d m a n 72  measure o f the cultural and democratic quality o f a society. constraints  7 4  7 3  and as a  S o m e f o r m o f legal or social  o n defamatory p u b l i c a t i o n s is to b e f o u n d i n a l l stages o f c i v i l i z a t i o n , h o w e v e r  imperfect, remote a n d p r o x i m a t e to b a r b a r i s m .  75  I. H i s t o r i c a l P r o t e c t i o n o f R e p u t a t i o n T h e interest o f persons i n protecting their g o o d reputation w a s a c k n o w l e d g e d early i n the d e v e l o p m e n t o f the c o m m o n law and it continues to receive strong protection under the tort o f d e f a m a t i o n . H o w e v e r , society's r e c o g n i t i o n o f h o w v u l n e r a b l e reputation is and h o w easily a  Spencer Bower, Bower on Actionable Defamation, 2 ed. (Butterworths, London, 1923), at p.3. O'Donnell v. Philadelphia Record Co., 356 Pa. 307, 51 A 2d 775 (1947); 319a-320a, by Gordon J. Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616, in Richard II. Rosenblatt v. Baer, 383 U.S. 75, at p.92 (1966). David Lepofsky, "Making Sense of the Libel Chill Debate: do Libels 'chill' the Exercise of Freedom of Expression?", (1994) 4 N.J.C.L. 169, at p. 197. John Fleming, The Law of Torts, 9 ed. (LBC, Toronto, 1998), at p.580. Raymond Brown, The Law of Defamation in Canada, Vol.1, (Carswell, Toronto, 1987), at p.4.  6 8  nd  6 9  7 0 71  7 2  73  th  7 4  26  false statement about a p e r s o n c a n o c c a s i o n damage  traces b a c k to times  l o n g before the  c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n . O r i g i n a l l y , the c o m m o n l a w derives f r o m the B i b l e , the M o s a i c c o d e a n d the T a l m u d , a c o l l e c t i o n o f sayings o f the J e w i s h rabbis c o v e r i n g the first six centuries after C h r i s t .  7 6  In the M o s a i c c o d e  C h r i s t i a n era, it says i n Exodus  77  for example, w h i c h existed s o m e fifteen centuries before the  X X I I I 1 ' T h o u shalt not raise a false report: put not thine h a n d  w i t h the w i c k e d to b e a n unrighteous witness'. T h e B i b l e , for instance, referred to reputation i n Ecclesiastes  b y stating that 'a g o o d n a m e is better than precious ointment' a n d that 'a g o o d  n a m e is rather to b e c h o s e n than great r i c h e s ' .  79  T h e o f f e n c e o f m a k i n g a false statement, w h i c h is l i k e l y to injure the reputation o f another, has always b e e n regarded as a serious o n e . U n d e r R o m a n l a w , at the time o f the D e c e m v i r s (450 B C ) , written d e f a m a t i o n w a s actually p u n i s h a b l e b y death. Further measures  o f punishment  d u r i n g the R o m a n era v a r i e d from the loss o f the right to m a k e a w i l l , to i m p r i s o n m e n t , exile for life, o r forfeiture o f property. In the case o f slander, a p e r s o n c o u l d b e m a d e liable for payment of damages. Talionis,  80  T h e A n g l o - S a x o n s l i k e w i s e i m p o s e d a f o r m o f brutal p u n i s h m e n t k n o w n as Lex  w h i c h r e m a i n e d i n force until the e n d o f the r e i g n o f K i n g C a n u t e (1016-39). U n d e r  this l a w it w a s decreed that i f a m a n w a s f o u n d g u i l t y o f slander h i s tongue  s h o u l d be  81 removed.  T h e s e severe sanctions illustrate the importance that has a l w a y s b e e n p l a c e d u p o n  reputation.  6 7 8 9 0 1  Ibid, at p.4. Peter Frederick Carter-Ruck, Carter-Ruck on Libel and Slander, (3 ed., Butterworths, London, 1985), at p. 16. The laws of Judaea. Chapter 7, verse 1. Proverbs 22:1 in the Bible. Carter-Ruck, supra n.76, at p. 17. Carter-Ruck, supra n.76, atp.18. rd  27  II. V a l u e a n d Importance o f R e p u t a t i o n A l t h o u g h a g o o d reputation is regarded as an integral a n d f u n d a m e n t a l l y important aspect o f every i n d i v i d u a l it does not expressly receive protection b y the C a n a d i a n Charter. T h e c o m m o n law, o n the other h a n d , a c k n o w l e d g i n g reputation as an inherent p e r s o n a l right, e x p l i c i t l y places the character a n d g o o d n a m e o f i n d i v i d u a l s under protection b y means o f the tort o f defamation. T h i s l a w serves to protect various values connected w i t h the i n d i v i d u a l ' s g o o d reputation.  1. D i g n i t a r y V a l u e a n d P r i v a c y First, one's reputation is a core feature o f one's personal d i g n i t y and w o r t h as a h u m a n b e i n g . A c c o r d i n g l y , reputation was g i v e n quasi-constitutional status as a r e f l e c t i o n o f the interest i n individual dignity and privacy in  Hill  v.  Church of Scientology of Toronto* , 2  where the S u p r e m e  C o u r t o f C a n a d a dealt w i t h the assessment o f reputation i n detail. A f t e r stressing that d e m o c r a c y has r e c o g n i z e d the fundamental i m p o r t a n c e o f an i n d i v i d u a l and that this i m p o r t a n c e must be b a s e d u p o n the g o o d repute o f a p e r s o n , the C o u r t stated that a democratic society has an interest i n ensuring that its m e m b e r s c a n enjoy a n d protect their g o o d reputation. T h e C o u r t h e l d that a g o o d reputation is c l o s e l y related to the innate worthiness and d i g n i t y o f the i n d i v i d u a l , a n d that it represents and reflects this innate d i g n i t y , a concept that underlies all the C h a r t e r rights.  T h a t the i n d i v i d u a l ' s g o o d n a m e is c o n s i d e r e d to be an interest i n v o l v i n g personality and h u m a n d i g n i t y also is m a d e clear b y the fact that i n m a n y actions for d e f a m a t i o n a substantial award for damages is permitted e v e n i f there is n o e v i d e n c e o f any m o n e t a r y loss. In that case, protection is p r o v i d e d to the 'personality-aspect' o f reputation.  W i t h regard to this, the A m e r i c a n j u d g e  P o w e l l e x p l a i n e d that 'actual i n j u r y is not l i m i t e d to o u t - o f - p o c k e t  28  loss. Indeed, the  more  customary  types  reputation  a n d standing i n the c o m m u n i t y , personal  suffering.'  o f actual h a r m i n f l i c t e d b y defamatory  falsehoods  include impairment o f  humiliation, and mental  anguish a n d  84  In e m p h a s i z i n g the importance o f reputation, the S u p r e m e C o u r t went e v e n further i n Hill b y p o i n t i n g out the intimate relationship o f reputation a n d the right to p r i v a c y , w h i c h has b e e n a c c o r d e d constitutional protection i n s.8 o f the Charter. ( P r i v a c y , i n this respect, w a s said to be g r o u n d e d i n man's p h y s i c a l a n d m o r a l a u t o n o m y a n d to be essential for the w e l l - b e i n g o f the i n d i v i d u a l . A l s o , the i n v a s i o n o f p r i v a c y c a n be particularly destructive i f carried out b y m e d i a establishments because o f the p o w e r o f the broadcast m e d i a to formulate a n d plant impressions i n the m i n d s o f m e m b e r s o f the a u d i e n c e . ) 85  H o w e v e r , the court c o r r e s p o n d i n g l y c o n c l u d e d that the p u b l i c a t i o n o f defamatory comments not o n l y is a n affront to the i n d i v i d u a l ' s d i g n i t y but also constitutes a n i n v a s i o n o f this i n d i v i d u a l ' s personal p r i v a c y .  8 6  T h e Court's d e c i s i o n p r o b a b l y f o l l o w s f r o m the realization that the h u m a n b e i n g is foremost a social a n i m a l , d e s i g n e d to l i v e i n a n intensively interactive society a n d not i n isolation. T h e interaction w i t h others, w i t h f a m i l y , friends a n d the p u b l i c at large, is the basis for j o y , secure accomplishments  a n d g r o w t h as i n d i v i d u a l s , a n d its f o u n d a t i o n is one's r e p u t a t i o n .  87  Social  relations, h o w e v e r , c a n be severely u n d e r m i n e d b y a b a d reputation. In this respect, 'character assassination' deprives the i n d i v i d u a l o f his social e n v i r o n m e n t a n d has b e e n said to be the worst  (1995) 26 D.L.R. (4 ) 129, at pp. 160. Laurence H . Eldredge, The Law of Defamation, (Bobbs-Merill Co., Indianapolis, 1978), at p.2. Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, atp.350. Lepofsky, supra n.72, at p. 198. Ibid, at pp. 160, 163, 164; for privacy also Eldredge, supra n.83, at p.3. Lepofsky, supra n.72, at p. 197. th  29  that c a n b e d o n e to h i m apart f r o m murder, b o d i l y h a r m and r o b b e r y o f all his possessions. T h e consequences o f spreading defamatory allegations can be serious and i n c l u d e numerous social b e h a v i o u r m e c h a n i s m s . F o r instance, the d e f a m a t i o n can lead to stigmatisation o f the person c o n c e r n e d , to w i t h d r a w a l o f social r e c o g n i t i o n , to social isolation and fundamental loss o f assurance  and self-devaluation.  liberate h i m s e l f f r o m the disgrace  89  T h e d e f a m e d i n d i v i d u a l p r a c t i c a l l y has no p o s s i b i l i t y to a n d isolation f o l l o w i n g the attack. T h i s is sometimes  a  sufficient reason to retire from one's p r o f e s s i o n a l a n d p u b l i c life, to leave one's h o m e or even commit suicide.  90  T h e free d e v e l o p m e n t o f the personality is thereby p e r m a n e n t l y i m p e d e d .  A p e r s o n is strongly affected b y what he believes other p e o p l e think o f h i m . T h e regard o f those about h i m m o r e c o m p l e t e l y conditions his b e h a v i o u r than any other one factor and it likewise adds m o r e to his stature as a p e r s o n than any other one f a c t o r .  91  S o m e o n e w h o thinks that he  appears to be r i d i c u l o u s i n the eyes o f others c a n suffer an a g o n y o f e m o t i o n a l distress w h i c h m a y b e e v e n stronger than the p a i n from p h y s i c a l i n j u r y .  92  N u m e r o u s subjective harms can be  i n v o l v e d i n i n j u r y to reputation, s u c h as hurt feelings, anxieties w o r t h y o f psychiatric concern, or b o d i l y hurts to be treated b y other m e d i c a l means, i.e. it can be a m a j o r source o f severe p s y c h o l o g i c a l stress to u n d e r m i n e someone's capacity to operate i n a s o c i a l e n v i r o n m e n t . B e s i d e s actual e c o n o m i c deprivations a n d loss o f p o w e r and i n f l u e n c e , the i n d i v i d u a l above all suffers f r o m the loss o f l o v e and affection, respect for and from others as w e l l as possible self respect, potential for s e l f a n d s o c i a l f u l f i l m e n t , generally a loss o f status, or, s p e c i f i c a l l y a loss o f some e n j o y e d or enjoyable relationships w i t h o t h e r s .  93  In v i e w o f this it can be said that  reputation serves the important purpose o f fostering an i n d i v i d u a l ' s s e l f - i m a g e and sense o f self-  Martin Kriele, "Ehrschutz und Meinungsfreiheit", NJW 1994, 1897. BVerfGE 97,391. Kriele, supra n.88, at p. 1897. Eldredge, supra n.83, at p.12. Eldredge, supra n.83, at p.l 1. Walter Probert, "Defamation: A Camouflage of Psychic Interests: The Beginning of behavioural Analysis", (1962) 15 Vand. L. Rev. 1173, at p.l 174. 88  89 90 91  92  93  30  worth. T h u s , since a person's standing i n the c o m m u n i t y w i t h his friends n e i g h b o u r s and prospective acquaintances  is o f great v a l u e he is entitled to have his relations w i t h h i m u n i m p a i r e d by  defamatory h a r m s .  94  2. E c o n o m i c V a l u e A p a r t from h a v i n g this dignitary value, reputation also has e c o n o m i c w o r t h . T h i s aspect o f the interest i n reputation is p r i m a r i l y a property interest; it refers to the m o n e t a r y value o f a g o o d n a m e . R e p u t a t i o n p l a y s an important role i n a c h i e v i n g and m a i n t a i n i n g p e r s o n a l status, prestige and p o w e r i n society a n d as a f o u n d a t i o n for success i n a p r o f e s s i o n a l c a r e e r .  95  A person with a  p o o r reputation, for e x a m p l e , w i l l encounter d i f f i c u l t y f i n d i n g and k e e p i n g a j o b and g a i n i n g a livelihood  since  employment. especially disseminate  96  a b a d reputation  is a deterrent  i n o b t a i n i n g almost  any  kind  of  lawful  A t t a c k s o n an individual's reputation c a n generate extensive e c o n o m i c damage,  in a  time  when modern  defamatory  systems  o f mass  communication have  statements to a vast n u m b e r o f persons.  the  power  S u c h attacks destroy  i n d i v i d u a l ' s efforts and labour carried out to earn a g o o d reputation, for instance to  to the  become  k n o w n as creditworthy or to achieve a n a m e for quality w o r k m a n s h i p . T h i s is particularly serious since s u c h repute is o n l y built up and established s l o w l y b y integrity,  honourable  c o n d u c t a n d right l i v i n g but is easy a n d q u i c k l y r u i n e d .  T o understand h o w easily reputation c a n be h a r m e d i n an e c o n o m i c sense one o n l y has to contemplate the f o l l o w i n g . In a state o f c i v i l society, where p e o p l e are b o u n d together i n a system o f m u t u a l a i d , trust and c o n f i d e n c e , each i n d i v i d u a l , c o n s i d e r e d as a single and isolated  94 95 96  Eldredge, supra n.83, at p. 12. Philip Osborne, The Law of Torts (Irwin Law, Toronto, 2000), at p.354. Allen M. Linden, Canadian Tort Law, 6 ed. (Butterworths, Toronto, Vancouver, 1997), at p.657. th  31  b e i n g , is w e a k a n d depends o n others for the comforts as w e l l as for the necessaries o f life, for security o f p e r s o n and property. F o r example, p e o p l e have to trust their p h y s i c i a n s i n time o f sickness or their l a w y e r w h e n c o n f r o n t e d w i t h legal p r o b l e m s .  97  W h e n it is necessary  for a  p e r s o n to select an agent to help h i m i n the v a r i e d connections o f life he m i g h t not be able to p r o p e r l y exercise h i s p o w e r o f selection o n his mere personal k n o w l e d g e , f o u n d e d o n his o w n actual  experience.  In a l l p r o b a b i l i t y , he w i l l place  some  reliance  o n the  k n o w l e d g e and  i n f o r m a t i o n o f others w i t h respect to the abilities, skills, d i l i g e n c e , integrity and h o n o u r o f another p e r s o n w h o m he is interested to e m p l o y . F r o m these united experiences derives a general character o f a certain p e r s o n .  o f others he  98  B u t this character is susceptible o f injury. T h e report o f one single u n w o r t h y or dishonourable act c a n at once b e fatal a n d destroy a g o o d reputation. E v e n a s u s p i c i o n o f s u c h an act m a y lead to e v i l consequences.  A p e r s o n w h o is about to deposit a large amount o f m o n e y in the  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f a banker, for instance, w i l l certainly b e i n f l u e n c e d b y an report he casually hears, s a y i n g that this particular b a n k e r went bankrupt. H e m i g h t not b e able to v e r i f y or refute this report to his satisfaction and the natural result w i l l b e that he chooses s o m e other institution. Others w h o hear o f this account w i l l act a c c o r d i n g l y and, thus, a false a l a r m m i g h t be adequate to the destruction o f credit a n d consequent r u i n .  9 9  T h i s e x a m p l e illustrates the e c o n o m i c dangers  existing w i t h respect to reputation.  3. Further V a l u e s O n e m o r e argument m a d e i n f a v o u r o f the protection o f reputation is that this protection w i l l foster the f r e e d o m o f expression o f l i b e l v i c t i m s . A s a consequence o f b e i n g seriously libelled, the v i c t i m ' s c r e d i b i l i t y i n the c o m m u n i t y m i g h t b e so substantially u n d e r m i n e d that it impairs  Henry Coleman/Thomas Starkie, Folkard on Slander and Libel, (5 ed., Butterworths, London, 1891), at p.l 1. Ibid, at p. 12. "ibid, atp.13. 97  th  98  32  his ability to have others  listen to h i m or take h i m seriously. T h e law o f defamation, b y  protecting the v i c t i m ' s reputation, can counteract s u c h i m p a i r m e n t and therefore serves the value o f freedom o f e x p r e s s i o n .  100  A n o t h e r p o i n t o f v i e w is, that protecting reputation is fundamental for d e m o c r a c y . T h e reason suggested is that persons w h o are m o r e sensitive m i g h t b e deterred from entering the p o l i t i c a l and p u b l i c arena for fear o f b e i n g exposed to c a m p a i g n s o f d e f a m a t i o n without b e i n g offered adequate  protection.  S i n c e those w h o are sensitive c o n c e r n i n g their h o n o u r and reputation  a l l e g e d l y are the ones w i t h an e s p e c i a l l y strong sense o f justice and truth w h o s e participation i n the democratic life w o u l d be particularly desirable, their deterrence results i n an intellectual and m o r a l loss o f q u a l i t y i n d e m o c r a c y .  101  III. F i n a l R e m a r k s It has b e e n said that 'the right o f every m a n to the character and reputation w h i c h his conduct deserves, stands o n the same f o o t i n g w i t h his rights to the enjoyment o f his life, liberty, health, property and all the comforts  a n d advantages  w h i c h appertain to  a state o f c i v i l  society,  i n a s m u c h as security o f character a n d reputation are essential to the enjoyment o f every other right and p r i v i l e g e incident to s u c h a s t a t e . '  102  O n l y i n p o s s e s s i o n o f a g o o d reputation can a  p e r s o n enjoy the great c h a r m o f social life, w h i c h is constituted b y the r e c i p r o c a t i o n o f g o o d offices, o f m u t u a l a i d a n d  friendship.  T h e importance o f protecting the i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation  has to be kept i n m i n d w h e n b a l a n c i n g this value a n d c o n f l i c t i n g interests.  1 2  Lepofsky, supra n.72, at p.200. Kriele, supra n.88, at p. 1998. 'Folkard', supra n.97, at p!4. 33  CHAPTER  2:  T h e pre-Charter L a w o f Defamation  T h i s chapter g i v e s a neutral o v e r v i e w o f the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n as the source o f law that protects the interest i n personal reputation, o n o f the c o m p e t i n g values this thesis deals w i t h . A t this p o i n t I w i l l disregard constitutional considerations w i t h respect to d e f a m a t i o n law but rather outline its general f r a m e w o r k , structure and f u n c t i o n i n g to ensure a better understanding o f the critical assessment o f this particular c o m m o n law rule, w h i c h w i l l f o l l o w i n chapter six.  A . H i s t o r i c a l D e v e l o p m e n t o f the L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n T h e c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n is not the deliberate product o f any p e r i o d but rather an evolutionary creation, a mass, w h i c h has g r o w n b y aggregation w i t h v e r y little intervention from legislatures.  1  It w a s i n f l u e n c e d b y R o m a n law, partly stems from the A n g l o - S a x o n s and is in  part b a s e d u p o n c o m m o n law a n d statute.  T h e early c o m m o n l a w consisted m e r e l y o f a series o f exceptions to entire license o f speech and therefore w a s a process o f selection. In the seventeenth century the i n v e n t i o n o f the p r i n t i n g press p r o m p t e d its d e v e l o p m e n t a n d l e d to the f o r m a l distinction b e t w e e n l i b e l a n d slander that does still exist. T o generalize, the written, m o r e permanent f o r m o f d e f a m a t i o n is considered to be l i b e l , w h i c h is actionable per se, that is, actionable without p r o o f o f temporal loss. Slander, o n the other h a n d , is s p o k e n d e f a m a t i o n a n d i n order to r e c o v e r for slander the p l a i n t i f f must p l e a d a n d p r o v e special damages.  In the meantime each province and territory has enacted its own Libel and Slander or Defamation Acts such as for instance the Libel and Slander Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c.234 in British Columbia. That is, unless the slanderous imputation is actionable per se by way of exception. Certain categories were established that are treated in the same way as libel: the imputation of a crime, the allegation of someone suffering 1  2  34  In the m i d d l e ages, d e f a m a t i o n , at that time o n l y slander, w a s o n e o f the most c o m m o n torts brought before the l o c a l c o u r t s .  3  B e f o r e the N o r m a n C o n q u e s t i n 1066 b o t h secular and spiritual  o f f i c i a l s tried their cases i n these l o c a l , o r seigniorial courts. T h e n , as a result o f the separation o f spiritual a n d t e m p o r a l courts b y W i l l i a m the C o n q u e r o r , ecclesiastical courts were established w h i c h administered o n l y the c a n o n l a w . S i n c e the C h u r c h c l a i m e d the p o w e r to correct the sinner for h i s soul's health, o r d i n a r y cases o f defamation at first fell w i t h i n the ecclesiastical jurisdiction.  4  B u t the C h u r c h ' s penance w a s little calculated to satisfy v i c t i m s o f defamation.  A p a r t f r o m that, the tyranny a n d corruption o f the ecclesiastical courts aroused antipathy. T h i s , as w e l l as the g r o w i n g p o w e r o f the king's courts, contributed to the d e c l i n e i n importance o f the ecclesiastical courts. E v e n t u a l l y , the c o m m o n l a w courts took u p o n themselves to administer and enforce the w h o l e l a w o f the land. A c t i o n s f o r defamation, h o w e v e r , o n l y b e c a m e c o m m o n i n these courts late i n the sixteenth c e n t u r y .  In 1275 the statutory offence k n o w n as  5  De Scandalis Magnatum,  slander o f magnates, was  enacted. It m a r k e d the b e g i n n i n g o f a series o f statutes w h i c h h a d a significant b e a r i n g u p o n the law o f d e f a m a t i o n . T h e s e statutes were c r i m i n a l i n character. T h e i r purpose w a s to preserve the peace a n d to protect p r o m i n e n t p e o p l e o f h i g h positions, i.e. they w e r e directed rather against sedition, p o l i t i c a l scandal and turbulence than against d e f a m a t i o n .  6  from a contagious decease (which is likely to cause social rejection) and accusations affecting the plaintiff in his professional capacity, i.e. in his business, trade, profession or office. R . C . Donnelly, "History of Defamation", [1949] Wise. L. Rev. 99, at p. 100. Van Veechten Veeder, "The History and Theory of the Law of Defamation", (1903) 3 Colum. L . Rev. 546, at pp.550; Donnelly, supra n.3, at p.104. There, defamation was punished as a sin; its penance was an acknowledgement of the baselessness of the imputation usually required to be performed in public and an apology to God as well as to the person defamed. Peter Frederick Carter-Ruck, Carter-Ruck on Libel and Slander, (3 ed., Butterworths, London, 1985), at p. 19; Veeder, supra n.4, at p.552; Donnelly, supra n.3, at p. 106. Veeder, supra n.4, at pp.553; Carter-Ruck, supra n.5, at p. 19. 3  4  5  rd  6  35  T h e s e statutes w e r e administered b y the Star C h a m b e r , a tribunal c o m p o s e d o f the highest dignitaries o f C h u r c h a n d State.  7  T h e Star C h a m b e r exercised p r a c t i c a l l y u n l i m i t e d authority,  i.e. w a s a court w i t h unrestrained p o w e r , b o u n d b y n o rules o f e v i d e n c e . It w a s determined to get r i d o f d u e l l i n g , a still c o m m o n m e t h o d o f v i n d i c a t i o n , and therefore the l a w o f defamation Q  b e g a n to d e v e l o p q u i c k l y i n order to p r o v i d e a substitute f o r this ancient r e m e d y .  A t a n y rate,  the Star C h a m b e r d i d not c o n c e r n itself w i t h personal character but w i t h p u b l i c order.  T h e r e w a s as yet n o d i s t i n c t i o n at c o m m o n law between slander and l i b e l . In v i e w o f the general illiteracy  o f the p o p u l a t i o n , defamatory  w r i t i n g w a s not w i d e s p r e a d  a n d therefore  rather  harmless. B u t the i n v e n t i o n o f the p r i n t i n g press c h a n g e d the situation. A n u n c o n t r o l l e d press was i m m e d i a t e l y p e r c e i v e d as a serious threat to the p u b l i c order and the C r o w n , and f r o m the v e r y b e g i n n i n g C h u r c h a n d State alike assumed to control the press. P o l i t i c a l and religious d i s c u s s i o n w a s suppressed w i t h the utmost severity.  T h e p r i n t i n g o f u n l i c e n s e d w o r k s was  p u n i s h e d severely, and p r i n t i n g w a s further restrained b y patents and m o n o p o l i e s . T h e n u m b e r o f presses and the w h o l e matter o f p r i n t i n g were strictly l i m i t e d . B u t all repressive measures, as w e l l as the c i v i l action f o r d e f a m a t i o n , were f o u n d to b e inadequate to s u f f i c i e n t l y suppress the r i s i n g tide o f p u b l i c o p i n i o n .  9  In v i e w o f this, the Star C h a m b e r i m p o r t e d the R o m a n c r i m i n a l l a w a n d first set it forth i n the case D e  Libellis Famosis  i n 1609. T h i s case was the f o r m a l starting point o f the E n g l i s h law o f  l i b e l . T h e p e r i o d b e t w e e n his case and the abolition o f the Star C h a m b e r i n 1641 w a s the p e r i o d d u r i n g w h i c h the f o u n d a t i o n o f the m o d e r n law o f libel was l a i d .  1 0  The Star Chamber consisted of the chancellor, treasurer, lord pivy seal, a bishop, a temporal lord, and the two chief justices. Later the president of the pivy council was added. Donnelly, supra n.3, at p.l 13; Carter-Ruck, supra n.5, at p.20; Veeder, supra n.4, at p.562. Veeder, supra n.4, at pp.561, 568; Donnelly, supra n.3, at pp.117. Donnelly, supra n.3, at p.l 18; Veeder, supra n.4, at p.566. 7  8 9  10  36  T h e R o m a n l a w h a d two sets o f p r o v i s i o n s for defamation,  injuria  and the severe p r o v i s i o n s o f the  libellus famosus.  u  the latter category, were p u n i s h e d as a c r i m e . T h e R o m a n  the c o m p a r a t i v e l y  m i l d law  of  L i b e l l o u s s o n g s , w h i c h fell w i t h i n 12  libellus famosus was  not based u p o n  the f o r m o f the p u b l i c a t i o n but u p o n the character o f the matter p u b l i s h e d , the extent o f its d i f f u s i o n and its a n o n y m o u s nature, i.e. there was n o distinction between speech and w r i t i n g .  13  B u t the Star C h a m b e r adopted p r o v i s i o n s o f this law without regard to R o m a n limitations. T h e Star C h a m b e r i n t r o d u c e d a n e w k i n d o f actionable  d e f a m a t i o n based u p o n m e r e f o r m and  furnished it w i t h certain additions, s u c h as the p r i n c i p l e that l i b e l is p u n i s h a b l e as a because it tends to a b r e a c h o f peace, i n order to a p p l y the law to its o w n u s e .  14  crime  T h i s principle o f  c r i m i n a l l i b e l a i m e d directly at p r i n t i n g and was an instrument o f suppression. T h u s , the R o m a n law o f the  libellus famosus b e c a m e  part o f the E n g l i s h c o m m o n law.  T h e Star C h a m b e r b e g a n to p u n i s h the c r i m e o f p o l i t i c a l l i b e l , i.e. at first, the f o r m a l distinction between s p o k e n a n d written w o r d c o n c e r n i n g defamation o f a p o l i t i c a l k i n d . B u t then the Star C h a m b e r extended its j u r i s d i c t i o n to n o n - p o l i t i c a l libels. E v e n t u a l l y , the distinction  between  libel and slander was introduced into c i v i l law and f i n a l l y , tort damages w e r e awarded to the person d e f a m e d .  15  T h e p r e s u m p t i o n o f damages i n case o f a defamatory  w r i t i n g added  yet  another m e a n s o f censorship.  Veeder, supra n.4, at p.563. For centuries the song and ballad writers were the only spokesmen of the people in political affairs. They gave voice to popular criticism, discontent and rejoicing. The music added its own significance; Veeder, supra n.4, at p.554. Veeder, supra n.4, at pp.563-565. Veeder, supra n.4, at pp.566, 567; Donnelly, supra n.3, at p ! 18. 11  12  13  14  37  B . T h e Current L a w o f Defamation  I. T h e G e n e r a l F r a m e w o r k o f the L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n D e f a m a t i o n is essentially a strict liability tort. T h e defendant's liability exists regardless o f his intention to m a k e a defamatory statement. It is o f n o relevance whether the defendant was aware o f the defamatory m e a n i n g the statement c o n v e y e d or i f he took reasonable care to ensure that it was not defamatory. F i n a l l y , it does not m a k e any difference whether he intended to refer to the plaintiff, or to cause h i m any damage i f i n fact he d i d . T h e o n l y exception, where intention or n e g l i g e n c e o n the part defamatory  o f the defendant is necessary,  c o m m u n i c a t i o n since the  concerns  the  act  o f publishing  fact o f p u b l i c a t i o n alone is actionable.  So  the  whatever  s o m e o n e p u b l i s h e s he publishes at his o w n risk.  T h e p l a i n t i f f has to establish three things to m a k e out a p r i m a facie cause o f action. T h e material he c o m p l a i n s about must be defamatory, it must refer to the p l a i n t i f f a n d it must be p u b l i s h e d to a third person. O n c e it is established that defamatory w o r d s were p u b l i s h e d o f the p l a i n t i f f the b u r d e n shifts to the defendant w h o c a n m a i n t a i n that one o f the c o m m o n law defences applies in the case. In this respect, a defamatory statement is not actionable i f it for e x a m p l e constitutes the truth, is p r i v i l e g e d or is fair c o m m e n t etc. T h e defences are v e r y important a n d central to most d e f a m a t i o n litigation. T h e y have the f u n c t i o n o f b a l a n c i n g the values o f reputation and freedom o f expression, i.e. they 'give substance to the p r i n c i p l e o f f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n ' .  16  Donnelly, supra n.3, at p . l 18; For the first time the distinction between libel and slander in civil action was drawn in King v. Lake (1670), 145 E.R. 552 and it was finally settled in Thorley v. Kerry (1812) 128 E.R. 367.  38  II. T h e D e f a m a t i o n A c t i o n 1. A D e f a m a t o r y Statement First o f a l l , regardless  o f the f o r m o f p u b l i c a t i o n , the utterance c o m p l a i n e d o f has to be  defamatory. A s l o n g as those to w h o m it is p u b l i s h e d do not understand the c o m m u n i c a t i o n in a defamatory sense there w i l l b e n o cause o f action. In general a d e f a m a t o r y statement m a y be d e f i n e d as one that tends to l o w e r the esteem o r respect i n w h i c h a p e r s o n is h e l d b y others i n the c o m m u n i t y o r as 'publication, w h i c h tends to injure reputation i n the p o p u l a r sense'.  T h e r e is n o ultimate test to determine whether a c o m m u n i c a t i o n is defamatory. Instead there exist a variety o f v i e w s as to h o w to define the term ' d e f a m a t o r y ' . O n e classic j u d i c i a l f o r m u l a describes d e f a m a t i o n as 'calculated to injure the reputation o f another b y e x p o s i n g h i m to hatred, contempt o r r i d i c u l e o r causes h i m to b e shunned o r a v o i d e d ' .  17  In another c a s e  18  the d e f i n i t i o n  'false statement about a m a n to his discredit' was offered. B u t there is n o single d e f i n i t i o n that is precise  e n o u g h to capture every  aspect o f libel without  i n c l u d i n g too m u c h  or omitting  s o m e t h i n g that ought to b e i n c l u d e d . A t any rate, the c o m m u n i c a t i o n has to tend so to h a r m the reputation o f a p e r s o n as to d i m i n i s h the respect and c o n f i d e n c e i n w h i c h others h o l d this person.  19  O f course d e f a m a t i o n is not l i m i t e d to a n i n d i v i d u a l ' s private sphere l i k e a p e r s o n ' s reputation for honour, honesty o r integrity. Included are also disparagements  o f s o m e o n e ' s reputation i n  Dickson J. in Chernesky v. Armadale Publishers Ltd., (1978), 90 D.L.R. (3 ) 321, at p.343. Parmiter v. Coupland (1860), 6 M. & W. 105, at p.108. Scott v. Sampson (1882), 8 Q.B.D. 491, atp.503. In Murphy v. LaMarsh '[(1970), 73 W.W.R. 114, at p.l 18] Wilson C.J. tried to illustrate this understanding by suggesting that it is defamatory to attribute a shameful action, character, course of action or condition to a man such as accusing him of having stolen something, being dishonest, living on the avails of prostitution or having the pox. For example it has been held to be defamatory to suggest that someone permits immorality to be practised by others, that someone has engaged in conduct that is disgraceful or unlawful, or that a person lacks integrity. Actionable is also to say someone is bankrupt or insolvent or to accuse a person of misusing or abusing a position of trust. It was even held to be defamatory to call someone drunk or hideously ugly, or suggest he is a homosexual. 16  rd  17 18  19  K  39  business, trade, p r o f e s s i o n o r o f f i c e .  H o w e v e r , the m a n n e r a n d s u r r o u n d i n g circumstances i n  w h i c h the w o r d s are s p o k e n p l a y a n important role i n d e c i d i n g whether an utterance c a n b e regarded as d e f a m a t o r y .  21  S i n c e one's reputation is regarded as a ' p e r s o n a l ' attribute, o n l y d e f a m a t i o n o f l i v i n g people is actionable. Injured relatives o r friends, w h o neither have a derivative cause o f action n o r a direct c l a i m for i n j u r y to their feelings,  2 2  cannot b r i n g f o r w a r d an action f o r d e f a m a t i o n o f a deceased  p e r s o n unless they are p e r s o n a l l y d e f a m e d .  A p a r t from that, non-natural persons m a y also b e entitled to recover damages. T h e business interests o r g o o d w i l l o f a c o r p o r a t i o n certainly c a n b e d a m a g e d b y defamatory attacks such as i m p u t a t i o n o f i n s o l v e n c y o r dishonest conduct o f their affairs. T h u s , a c o r p o r a t i o n m a y sue for d e f a m a t i o n as l o n g as the d e f a m a t i o n has b e e n directed against its 'business character' and not o n l y against the i n d i v i d u a l s associated w i t h i t .  A n o t h e r q u e s t i o n is that o f what  23  standard to a p p l y to determine  whether  a statement is  defamatory. T h e p e o p l e that have to think less o f the p e r s o n c o n c e r n e d are c o m m o n l y referred to as 'the r i g h t - t h i n k i n g m e m b e r s o f s o c i e t y '  24  o r as the 'reasonable o r o r d i n a r y m e m b e r s o f the  p u b l i c ' , w h i c h is p r o b l e m a t i c a l i n so far as an i n c r e a s i n g diversity o f v i e w s a n d attitudes exists 25  i n m o d e r n a n d m u l t i c u l t u r a l society, m a k i n g it difficult to determine a single standard o f 'right-  Therefore it is defamatory to accuse someone of incompetence or to imply a lack of creditworthiness. In Caldwell v. McBride [(1988), 45 C.C.L.T. 150] it was even held to be defamatory to accuse a professional gambler of cheating with the explanation this accusation was injurious to his professional reputation and would disrupt his source of income. So for instance statements of abuse or insulting name-calling made in anger might not be perceived as being defamatory if the speaker intended to abuse and is so understood by the hearer, e.g. it makes a difference whether someone deliberately makes an insulting remark or lets himself be carried away in a quarrel. John G. Fleming, The Law of Torts, (LBC, Toronto, 1998) says at p.585 that 'defamation does not survive for the benefit of the plaintiffs estate.' Price v. Chicoutimi Pulp Co., (1915) 23 D.L.R. 116, atp.122 (S.C.C.). Sim v. Stretch, [1936] 2 All E.R. 1237, at p!240. Color Your World Corp. v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (1998), 38 O.R. (3 ) 97 at 106. 21  2 2  23 24 25  rd  40  t h i n k i n g ' o r ' o r d i n a r y ' . T h e question whether a p e r s o n is liable cannot o n l y d e p e n d o n the v i e w o f a majority.  A statement c a n also b e defamatory  estimation o f m e m b e r s  o f a segment  i f it tends to l o w e r a p e r s o n i n the  o f society as l o n g as it concerns  the estimation o f a  substantial a n d respectable segment o f society, i.e. the v i e w s o f m i n o r i t i e s are to b e taken into consideration. H o w e v e r , the courts restrict this to what those o f 'fair average i n t e l l i g e n c e '  27  w o u l d think, o r 'ordinary decent f o l k i n the c o m m u n i t y , taken i n general'.  T h e w o r d s c o m p l a i n e d o f often c a n b e understood i n different senses, o n e b e i n g defamatory but the other innocent. D e c i s i v e is the m e a n i n g w h i c h w o u l d b e reasonably attributed to the w o r d s b y o r d i n a r y sensible p e o p l e , without special k n o w l e d g e , w h o are neither u n u s u a l l y suspicious nor unusually n a i v e  2 9  o n c o n d i t i o n that they are capable o f understanding the p u b l i c a t i o n i n a  defamatory sense. It is the natural and o r d i n a r y m e a n i n g that is g i v e n to w o r d s i n a defamatory p u b l i c a t i o n ; 'what the o r d i n a r y m a n w o u l d infer without special k n o w l e d g e ' .  3 0  T h i s includes  i m p l i c a t i o n s , w h i c h a reasonable reader g u i d e d b y general k n o w l e d g e w o u l d draw from the words.  31  A p a r t f r o m this, the p u b l i c a t i o n is to b e seen i n its context a n d taken as a w h o l e , not  the o f f e n d i n g part isolated. T h e circumstances  i n w h i c h a c o m m u n i c a t i o n is m a d e , time and  place or e v e n the speaker's tone o f v o i c e , a c c o m p a n y i n g gestures o r f a c i a l expressions, m a y m a k e a difference. T h e y m a y reveal that w o r d s , w h i c h seemed to b e d e f a m a t o r y at first glance i n fact, are innocent.  See Peck v. Tribune Co. (1909), 214 U.S. 185, at p.190; Quigley v. Creation Ltd., [1971] I.R. 269, at p.272. Slayter v. Daily Telegraph (1908), 6 C.L.R. 1, at p.7. Gardiner v. Fairfax (1942), 42 S.R. (N.S.W.) 171, at p.172. Certain views have to be excluded since a person may be defamed in the eyes of citizens who are not right thinking at all. It can appear that views of a small minority are so anti-social that their recognition by the courts would be unworthy. 2 6 27 28  Lewis v. Daily Telegraph, [1964] A.C. 234, at p.249 (per Lord Reid), or at p 286 (Lord Devlin). Lord Reid in Lewis v. Daily Telegraph, supra n.29, at p.258; also in Toley v. J.S. Fry & Sons Ltd., [1931] A.C. 333, 'inference drawn by the ordinary man or woman', 'natural inference'. Jones v. Skelton, [1963] 1 W.L.R. 1362, at p.1370 (Lord Morris).  29  30  31  41  H o w e v e r , there are also w o r d s , w h i c h prima defamatory  m e a n i n g b y reason  facie  seem to be innocent, but b e c o m e capable o f a  o f the circumstances  s u r r o u n d i n g their p u b l i c a t i o n .  i m p l i e d o r a l l u s i v e statements are i n general c a l l e d i n n u e n d o .  33  32  Such  ( E a c h i n n u e n d o is a separate  cause o f a c t i o n . ) 34  T h e p l a i n t i f f must s p e c i f i c a l l y p l e a d a legal i n n u e n d o i f he thinks the o r d i n a r y m e a n i n g o f the p u b l i c a t i o n does not s u f f i c i e n t l y reflect the defamatory element. F u r t h e r m o r e , he has to prove the  u n d e r l y i n g facts o r circumstances  extrinsic  g i v i n g the w o r d s  their additional m e a n i n g ,  i.e. the  facts. H o w e v e r , he neither has to p r o v e that the defendant k n e w o f these special  circumstances that m a k e u p the i n n u e n d o n o r that there actually w a s a p u b l i c a t i o n to someone w h o u n d e r s t o o d the defamatory  meaning.  35  T h e p l a i n t i f f o n l y has to s h o w that  reasonable  p e o p l e w i t h k n o w l e d g e o f the extrinsic facts w o u l d have understood the c o m m u n i c a t i o n to be defamatory.  36  2. R e f e r e n c e to the P l a i n t i f f : Identification A n essential element o f the tort o f d e f a m a t i o n is that the w o r d s c o m p l a i n e d o f are p u b l i s h e d ' o f the p l a i n t i f f  , i.e. that the p l a i n t i f f is identified i n the statement. In most cases the p l a i n t i f f is  n a m e d but he m a y also b e i d e n t i f i e d b y description o r context, or extrinsic facts m a y b e adduced to s h o w that the defamatory  statement w a s s p o k e n o f a n d c o n c e r n i n g h i m . E s p e c i a l l y i f the  They may, for instance, have a technical or slang meaning other than the ordinary one that may not be apparent to everyone. Their secondary meaning may depend on some special knowledge not everybody possesses, or it might be derived from the words by reading between the lines. Perhaps the special meaning can only be understood with the aid of additional, extrinsic information. Courts differentiate between 'popular' (or 'false') and 'legal' (or 'true') innuendoes. The first is included in the natural and ordinary meaning of words and can be interpreted as defamatory by reasonable persons without the establishment of extraneous facts. The latter arises in cases where the defamatory sense of the statement results from facts or circumstances, which are not part of general knowledge, i.e. it has an additional meaning beyond the ordinary and natural one. B.V.H. Rogers, Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort, (15 ed., Sweet Maxwell, Toronto, 1998) at p.403 and Lewis Klar, Tort Law, (2 ed., Carswell, London, 1996), at p.557. Grubb v. Bristol United Press Ltd., [1963] 1 Q.B. 309, atp.327. Since Hulton & Co. V. Jones, [1910] A.C. 20 it is, according to Scrutton L.J., "impossible for the person publishing a statement which, to those who know certain facts, is capable of a defamatory meaning...to defend himself by saying: T.. .did not mean to injure the plaintiff.' " 33  th  nd  34  35  42  p l a i n t i f f is not e x p l i c i t l y m e n t i o n e d the test o f identification is whether  (some)  reasonable  p e o p l e , b e i n g aware o f the defamatory m e a n i n g , w o u l d take the v i e w that this d e f a m a t i o n refers to the p l a i n t i f f ; whether an o r d i n a r y reader w o u l d reasonably i d e n t i f y the p l a i n t i f f as the person defamed.  In v i e w o f this the intention o f the p u b l i s h e r is not to b e taken into account. T h e d e f a m e r ' s intent or n e g l i g e n c e  i n m a k i n g reference  Goldwyn-Meyer  39  to the p l a i n t i f f is irrelevant.  In  Youssoupoff  v.  Metro-  it w a s h e l d that a publisher, w h o h a d never heard o f the particular person  c o n c e r n e d a n d w h o d i d not h a v e the intention to d e f a m e anyone, is liable i f 'reasonable people k n o w i n g s o m e o f the circumstances w o u l d take the l i b e l c o m p l a i n e d o f to relate to the p l a i n t i f f T o a s i m i l a r effect is the case o f  Hulton  v.  Jones , w h i c h 40  dealt w i t h a p u b l i c a t i o n defamatory o f  a p e r s o n w h o m the defendants thought to b e fictitious w h i l e , u n k n o w n to t h e m , there i n fact existed a p e r s o n w i t h this name. T h e defendant's honest b e l i e f that n o s u c h p e r s o n existed, apart from a lack o f intention to defame, w a s not regarded as a defence.  3. P u b l i c a t i o n T h e c i v i l l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n , i n contrast to the c r i m i n a l l a w , is c o n c e r n e d  w i t h injury to  reputation rather than w i t h insult. S a y i n g defamatory remarks to another p e r s o n ' s face without any third p e r s o n h e a r i n g it m a y injure the addressee's feelings but does not cause any loss o f esteem i n the eyes o f others o r affect his reputation. T h e r e f o r e the c o m m u n i c a t i o n to at least one p e r s o n other  than the p e r s o n  d e f a m e d is essential.  P u b l i c a t i o n o f the d e f a m a t i o n  is the  actionable w r o n g .  36 37 38 39  Hough v. London Express Newspaper Ltd., [1940] 2 K.B. 507 (C.A.). Simon L.C. in Knupffer v. London Express Newspaper Ltd., [1944] A.C. 116 (H.L.), at p.l 18. Morgan v. Odhams Press, [1971] 1 W.L.R. 1239 (H.L.); Taylor v. Massey (1891), 20 O.R. 09 (C.A.). (1934), 50 T.L.R. 581 Scrutton L.J. at p.583.  43  T h i s does not require that the c o m m u n i c a t i o n b e m a d e to a large audience. P u b l i c a t i o n to a single i n d i v i d u a l is sufficient as l o n g as it is a third party, other than the p l a i n t i f f h i m s e l f , w h o actually heard o r read the statement. M o r e o v e r this i n d i v i d u a l must have understood what was c o m m u n i c a t e d so that it is not sufficient i f the o f f e n d i n g w o r d s w e r e s p o k e n i n a language u n k n o w n to the l i s t e n e r .  41  W i t h regard to the p u b l i c a t i o n o f a defamatory matter the onus is o n the p l a i n t i f f to prove that there was r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o n the part o f the d e f e n d a n t  42  I f the latter intended p u b l i c a t i o n or i f  p u b l i c a t i o n is due to a lack o f care, h e is liable. A n accidental p u b l i c a t i o n , h o w e v e r , is not actionable.  43  S o i f the defendant  c a n clear  himself o f negligence,  i.e. i f the exercise o f  reasonable care c o u l d not h a v e a v o i d e d the p u b l i c a t i o n , h e c a n escape r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . B u t the case  Byrne  v.  Deane  44  shows that his duty o f care can g o v e r y far. A c c o r d i n g to the h o l d i n g  there a p e r s o n m a y e v e n b e c o m e responsible for a l i b e l , w h e n , b e i n g aware o f the defamatory p u b l i c a t i o n a n d h a v i n g the p o w e r to r e m o v e , h e fails to exercise this p o w e r . R e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f a p e r s o n i n c o n t r o l o f premises therefore m a y derive from k n o w i n g l y p e r m i t t i n g a libel to remain after reasonable opportunity to r e m o v e i t .  45  E v e r y participant i n the p u b l i c a t i o n is liable. S o liability extends to those w h o c o m p o s e d the libel i n c l u d i n g press agencies o r advertisers, and to those w h o are responsible for its distribution  [1910] A.C. 20 (H.L.); although it might have been of influence that in this case there was some recklessness on the part of the defendants: the plaintiff actually had previously worked for them! Economopoulous v. A.G. Pollard Co. (1914), 105 N.E. 896 (Mass. S.C.). Lamont J. in McNichol v. Grandy, [1932] 1 D.L.R. 225. Fleming, supra n.22, at p.599. [1937] 2 All E.R. 204. Ibid, at p.838; Apart from the fault element with respect to publication, liability in general does not depend on the intention of the defamer. As mentioned before it is irrelevant if he meant to convey a defamatory meaning at all or to refer to the plaintiff. Even accidental typographical or similar errors with the result that a defamatory meaning is conveyed, though unintentionally, do not release the defendant from liability. (For example in Upton v. TimesDemocrat (1900), 104 La. 141 the word „cultured", referring to a gentlemen, mistakenly was substituted by "coloured") The absence of fault, which is intention, negligence or recklessness, is of no relevance.  41  4 2  4 3  4 4  4 5  44  and d i s s e m i n a t i o n , n o matter to w h i c h degree they w e r e i n v o l v e d .  M o r e o v e r , every  single  c o m m u n i c a t i o n o f a defamatory matter is treated as a separate p u b l i c a t i o n , so e v e n i f a c o p y o f a b o o k that contains defamatory w o r d s is s o l d years after it o r i g i n a l l y appeared a n e w cause o f action m i g h t a r i s e .  47  E a c h p e r s o n w h o repeats a libel is liable f o r it. A p l a i n t i f f m a y take  different actions against different defendants for p u b l i c a t i o n o f the same defamatory matter. T h e reason for this p r i n c i p l e is that the n e w p u b l i c a t i o n further i m p a i r s the p l a i n t i f f s reputation. ( H o w e v e r , p u b l i c a t i o n s m i g h t be s u m m e d u p and damages assessed f o r the entire i s s u e . ) 48  Republication,  o n the other  hand,  is s o m e t h i n g  different.  U s u a l l y the defendant  responsible i f another p e r s o n republishes a defamatory statement. U n d e r certain this changes, f o r e x a m p l e w h e n it w a s f o r e s e e a b l e  49  is not  circumstances  that others w o u l d p u b l i s h or r e p u b l i s h the  statement, or i f the r e p u b l i c a t i o n w a s authorized o r intended b y the originator. F o r instance, a person w h o g i v e s a n interview to a newspaper reporter w i l l be liable for the p u b l i c a t i o n o f his statements i n the n e w s p a p e r (as l o n g as it is a n accurate account o f what has b e e n s a i d . )  50  III. D e f e n c e s A n u m b e r o f reactions are available f o r the defendant to face the p l a i n t i f f s action. H e c a n deny that the w o r d s c o m p l a i n e d o f were p u b l i s h e d at a l l o r at least b y h i m , that they refer to the p l a i n t i f f or that they are capable o f b e i n g reasonably understood i n a d e f a m a t o r y sense. H e c a n  However, there is a distinction between producers and subordinate distributors. Primary participants are those actively engaged in the dissemination, for instance writers, editors and publishers. They underlie a stricter standard of liability. On the other hand, mechanical disseminators such as newsagents, booksellers or libraries, who take a subordinate part as pure distributors, are treated more benevolently. According to Romer L.J. in Vizitelly v. Mudie's Select Library Ltd. ([1900] 2 Q.B. 170, at p. 180] such a subordinate distributor may not be liable on condition that he had no knowledge of any defamatory content in the material he disseminated in the ordinary way of his business, that he had no reason to be suspicious that the material contained defamatory material, and that he has exercised reasonable and practical steps to scrutinize the material. Since the distributor still is liable prima facie the burden of proof is on him to displace the presumption of publication and escape liability. See Duke of Brunswick v. Hamer (1849), 14 Q.B. 185. Toomey V. Mirror Newspapers (1985), 1 N.S.W.L.R. 173. Sims v. Wran, [1984] 1 N.S.W.L.R. 317. 47 48  49  45  also  plead  that  he  was  an  innocent  disseminator  or  that  the  words  were  published  unintentionally. A s far as it concerns a n action for slander the defendant c a n allege that special damages are necessary a n d that these either were not s h o w n o r that they w e r e too r e m o t e .  51  A p a r t from this, the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n designated special defences s u c h as j u s t i f i c a t i o n , i.e. that the w o r d s c o m p l a i n e d o f were true i n substance a n d i n fact. F u r t h e r m o r e it c a n b e p l e a d e d that they were p u b l i s h e d o n a n o c c a s i o n o f absolute, o r q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e respectively, or that they were fair c o m m e n t o n a matter o f p u b l i c interest. F i n a l l y a p o l o g y a n d retraction are possible as partial defences.  Those  defences  are o f great  importance  i n the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n ,  especially  since the  requirements f o r a statement to b e regarded as defamatory are l o w . W i t h o u t the defences to defamation, a l l critical p u b l i c and private c o m m u n i c a t i o n w o u l d suffer from censorship a n d as a result the right to criticise o r v o i c e u n p o p u l a r s o c i a l o r p o l i t i c a l o p i n i o n s w o u l d be v e r y strongly restricted. T h e r e f o r e the m e n t i o n e d defences have the f u n c t i o n o f protecting the value o f free speech a n d o f restoring a balance between the protection o f the reputation a n d the freedom o f expression.  1. Justification T r u t h is v a l u e d too m u c h to attach a penalty to its p u b l i c a t i o n . T h e r e f o r e it is a c o m p l e t e defence to a c i v i l action for d e f a m a t i o n . A f t e r a l l , d e f a m a t i o n protects the p l a i n t i f f s reputation and i f the reputation c a n b e d a m a g e d b y the truth it is u n w o r t h y o f protection b y the l a w . T h i s p l a i n t i f f is not entitled to recover damages. T h e defendant has to p r o v e the truth o f h i s statement since its falsity is p r e s u m e d once it is  50 51  Hay v.Bingham (1905), 11 O.L.R. 148 (C.A.); Douglas v. Tucker, [1952] 1 S.C.R. 275. Raymond Brown, The Law of Defamation in Canada, (Vol.1, Carswell, Toronto, 1987), at p.360. 46  s h o w n that the statement is defamatory.  T h e substance o f the statement has to b e true; n a m e l y  the substance o f a l l material statements contained i n the l i b e l a n d every m e a n i n g attributed to the w o r d s c o m p l a i n e d o f . W h e r e the p l a i n t i f f relies o n a legal i n n u e n d o , the defence o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n must meet this i n n u e n d o , i.e. not o n l y the literal m e a n i n g but also the inferential one, o r the i n n u e n d o has to b e t r u e .  53  T h e r e must b e a substantial j u s t i f i c a t i o n o f the w h o l e i n order to succeed. B u t it is not necessary to p r o v e e v e r y m i n u t e detail a n d to establish the truth o f each a n d every w o r d used b y the defendant. I n a c c u r a c y  o f m i n o r details is therefore h a r m l e s s .  54  H o w e v e r , i f the defamation  consists o f a n u m b e r o f different allegations a n d the defendant is not i n the p o s i t i o n to p r o v e the truth o f every relevant c o m p o n e n t , the p l a i n t i f f w i l l b e entitled to j u d g e m e n t e v e n though the u n p r o v e d charge alone m i g h t not have caused appreciable d a m a g e i n v i e w o f the truth o f the . 55 rest.  T o allege that o n e m e r e l y repeats a r u m o u r is n o j u s t i f i c a t i o n , e v e n i f expressing doubts or disbelief, a n d regardless o f whether o n e is g i v i n g a v e r b a t i m account o f what o n e has been told.  56  F i n a l l y the intent o f the defendant w h e n m a k i n g the true but defamatory statement is  irrelevant so that m a l i c e does not defeat the defence o f justification. In this respect, the c o m m o n law gives p r i o r i t y to free speech instead o f investigating the p u b l i s h e r ' s m o t i v e s , especially since emphasis lies o n i n j u r y o f the reputation a n d not the intention o f the defendant.  Beevis v. Dawson, [1957] 1 Q.B. 195; Belt v. Lawes (1882), 51 L.J.Q.B. 359, atp.361. Irish People's Assurance Society v. City of Dublin Assurance Co Ltd., [1929] I.R. 25. The justification must meet 'the sting of the charge' as said in Edwards v. Bell (1824), 1 Bing. 403, at p.409; Lord Shaw in Sutherland v. Stopes, [1925] A.C. 47 held at p.79 that 'there may be mistakes here and there in what has been said which would make no substantial difference to the quality of the alleged libel...'. i2 53  5 4  55 56  Fleming, supra n.22, at p. 611. Stubbs Ltd. v. Mazure. [1920] A.C. 66; Wake v. Fairfax, [1973] 1 N.S.W.L.R. 43. 47  2. P r i v i l e g e O n some o c c a s i o n s the p u b l i c interest i n p r o m o t i n g a frank c o m m u n i c a t i o n is greater than the interest o f p r o t e c t i n g a n i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation. A s L o r d Scrutton said i n  More v. Weaver : 51  "there are certain relations o f life i n w h i c h it is so important that persons engaged i n them s h o u l d b e able to speak freely that the l a w takes risk o f their a b u s i n g the o c c a s i o n . . . " T h e s e are referred to as p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n s . A b s o l u t e p r i v i l e g e p r o v i d e s a c o m p l e t e i m m u n i t y from liability o n the grounds o f p u b l i c p o l i c y even i f the statement is m a d e w i t h m a l i c e . Q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e , o n the other h a n d , o n l y offers c o n d i t i o n a l i m m u n i t y a n d is defeated b y m a l i c e .  58  A t a n y rate, the p r i v i l e g e attaches to the  o c c a s i o n a n d not to particular speakers o r the contents o f a c o m m u n i c a t i o n .  59  a) A b s o l u t e P r i v i l e g e A b s o l u t e P r i v i l e g e is d e s i g n e d to secure efficient f u n c t i o n i n g o f g o v e r n m e n t a l institutions, i.e. to facilitate the operations o f a l l branches o f g o v e r n m e n t b y absolutely protecting speakers i n certain situations so that they are able to speak a n d to carry out their duties freely without fear o f liability f o r d e f a m a t i o n . T h o s e speakers d o not have to face a n action i n d e f a m a t i o n , regardless o f their m o t i v e o r the truth o f their s t a t e m e n t  60  - they are totally i m m u n e from liability.  Protected b y this p r i v i l e g e are j u d i c i a l a n d parliamentary p r o c e e d i n g s as w e l l as h i g h executive  [1928] 2 K.B. 520. Apart from this, there are also privileged reports. While it is in general no defence to simply report defamatory allegations of another person there are certain circumstances under which reports receive the protection of absolute or qualified privilege. Thus privileged are fair and accurate reports of official (parliamentary or judicial) proceedings open to the public. The reason for this exception can be found in the public interest in being fully informed on the administration of public affairs; the public has a right to be informed about all aspects of proceedings to which it has the right of access. Those of the public who were not able to obtain admission due to lack of capacity have a right to know what had happened just as those who were present. Dingle v. Assoc Newspapers, [1961] 2 Q.B. 162, at p. 188; Minter v. Priest, [1931] A.C. 558, at 571-572; The question of whether an occasion gives the privilege is a question of law and has to be determined by the judge. Then the jury has to decide the question of fact whether it actually was a privileged communication, i.e. whether the party has used the privilege properly. The issue of truth technically only arises where the defendant pleads the defence of justification. Otherwise a statement, once regarded to be defamatory, is legally assumed to be false as the case proceeds. 5/  58  59  60  48  c o m m u n i c a t i o n s but also marital c o m m u n i c a t i o n s ,  (i) J u d i c i a l P r o c e e d i n g s  First o f a l l , c o m m u n i c a t i o n s m a d e i n the course o f not o n l y j u d i c i a l p r o c e e d i n g s but also o f q u a s i - j u d i c i a l p r o c e e d i n g s are c o v e r e d b y absolute p r i v i l e g e b a s e d o n considerations o f p u b l i c policy and convenience.  61  T h i s p r i v i l e g e is not c o n f i n e d to statements m a d e i n court but it also  extends to steps i n preparation o f j u d i c i a l p r o c e e d i n g s . judicial  proceedings  such  as j u d g e , j u r y ,  appearing o n their o w n behalf), witnesses  advocates  62  I n c l u d e d is every person c o n c e r n e d i n (i.e. barristers,  solicitors  a n d parties  a n d parties participating. Participants o f j u d i c i a l  p r o c e e d i n g s i n general s h o u l d not b e i n f l u e n c e d b y fear o f p o s s i b l e d e f a m a t i o n action. F o r instance, to expose a j u d g e to the risk o f actions f r o m every d i s a p p o i n t e d suitor w o u l d affect his e f f i c i e n c y a n d f r e e d o m as a j u d g e d o i n g h i s d u t y .  63  T h e same applies f o r a c o u n s e l w h o  otherwise w o u l d b e threatened b y actions o f persons w h o s e c o n d u c t h e m a y have d e n o u n c e d  64  and witnesses w h o m i g h t b e deterred f r o m testifying because they fear actions brought forward b y persons w h o m they g i v e e v i d e n c e a g a i n s t .  65  P r o f e s s i o n a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n s m a d e b e t w e e n solicitor and client i n preparation o f litigation as w e l l as those b e t w e e n potential witnesses and parties or their legal advisers are also p r o t e c t e d .  66  F u r t h e r m o r e , the p r i v i l e g e extends to 'quasi-legal authorities' , i.e. to tribunals, w h i c h carry out 67  Royal Aquarium and Summer and Winter Gardens Society v. Parkinson, [1892] 1 Q.B. 431, at p.442. Fleming, supra n.22, at p.618. More v. Weaver, [1928] 2 K.B. 520, Lord Scrutton, atp.522. More v. Weaver, ibid, at p.522. Seaman v. Netherclift (1876), 2 C.P.D.53; Hargreaves v. Bretherton, [1959] 1 Q.B. 45. More v. Weaver, supra n.63; Watson v. Mc'Ewan, [1905] A.C. 480; Hasselblad v. Orbinson, [1985] Q.B. 475 (C.A.). However, protected are only those remarks that are 'relevant' to the issue. Especially in the relationship between solicitor and client the privilege only extends to matters related to the litigation, excluding irrelevant gossip dropped in the course of the interview. Sussman v. Eales (1985), 33 C.C.L.T.156 (Ont. H.C.). 61  6 2 a  64 65 66  67  49  q u a s i - l e g a l functions, equivalent to those o f a court o f justice.  O n c e a n o c c a s i o n is r e c o g n i z e d as absolutely p r i v i l e g e d , n o cause o f action c a n b e m a i n t a i n e d for d e f a m a t i o n . M a l i c e does not affect the defence o f absolute p r i v i l e g e . A l t h o u g h this rule m i g h t prevent actions  i n cases where the c o n d u c t o f the protected  speaker w a s otherwise  actionable, it is preferable to h a v i n g n u m e r o u s actions brought against persons honestly acting i n the discharge o f their duties, w h i c h w o u l d i m p a i r the j u d i c i a l process. H o w e v e r , to b e protected, the utterance must b e relevant to the issue a n d reasonably related to the subject o f the j u d i c i a l i n q u i r y .  69  E n t i r e l y extraneous matters w i l l not be protected.  (ii) Parliamentary P r o c e e d i n g s W i t h regard to parliamentary p r o c e e d i n g s , the p u b l i c has a right to expect a frank a n d v i g o r o u s debate i n its d e m o c r a t i c institutions, w h i c h m i g h t be destroyed b y the fear o f liability, i n v o l v i n g caution. T h e r e f o r e f r e e d o m o f p o l i t i c a l debate receives its a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t through absolute p r i v i l e g e . T h i s p r i v i l e g e extends to any c o m m u n i c a t i o n m a d e b y a M e m b e r o f Parliament i n the exercise o f his duties d u r i n g the course o f Parliamentary p r o c e e d i n g s as l o n g as m a d e o n the floor o f the H o u s e o f C o m m o n s . •  7 0  N o t protected  are c o m m u n i c a t i o n s m a d e  outside the  71  p r o c e e d i n g s o f that b o d y  so i f a m e m b e r repeats his statement ( p r e v i o u s l y m a d e inside) outside  Parliament it generally w i l l not be c o v e r e d b y the p r i v i l e g e .  (iii) H i g h E x e c u t i v e C o m m u n i c a t i o n s T h e reason, w h y h i g h executive c o m m u n i c a t i o n s are s p e c i a l l y protected is, once m o r e , to secure  To qualify as a quasi-judicial proceeding the tribunal must possess certain characteristics such as for example the power to adjudicate upon and determine legal rights between parties or to require their attendance, or the power to hear evidence under oaths, impose punishments, administer fines and enforce orders. Brown, supra n.51, at p.420 6 8  6 9 7 0  Allan M. Linden, Canadian Tort Law, (6 ed., Butterworth, Toronto, 1997), at p.700. This common law rule found its reinforcement in sec.51(2) of the Constitution Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.66. th  50  the free a n d fearless discharge o f h i g h p u b l i c duty - here for the executive  department  of  government. T h e r e f o r e a defamatory statement m a d e b y a h i g h executive o f f i c e r is absolutely p r i v i l e g e d i f he is acting i n the p e r f o r m a n c e o f his o f f i c i a l duties relating to the affairs o f state. T h e extent o f this part o f p r i v i l e g e is somewhat uncertain. W h i l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s M i n i s t e r s o f the C r o w n  7 2  between  are certainly protected as l o n g as they are m a d e i n the course o f p u b l i c  duties a n d as l o n g as the subject matter relates to state affairs, not a l l p u b l i c servants are so p r i v i l e g e d . T h e p r i v i l e g e o n l y attaches to " h i g h officers o f S t a t e " .  73  (iv) M a r i t a l C o m m u n i c a t i o n s F i n a l l y , c o m m u n i c a t i o n s between h u s b a n d a n d w i f e enjoy absolute p r i v i l e g e to protect and respect the c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y o f the m a t r i m o n i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p .  74  A p a r t from this there is the fiction  o f the spouses b e i n g regarded as f o r m i n g a n integrated w h o l e w i t h the result that p u b l i c a t i o n is m i s s i n g . H o w e v e r , defamatory remarks o n e spouse m a k e s about the other are o f course not protected.  b) Q u a l i f i e d P r i v i l e g e O n certain o c c a s i o n s a n d for s p e c i f i c p u b l i c p o l i c y reasons the l a w affords protection for untrue and defamatory statements b y q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e , p e r m i t t i n g a p e r s o n to say s o m e t h i n g w h i c h otherwise m i g h t b e actionable. C a s e s o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e are b a s e d o n the p r i n c i p l e that the publisher o f a defamatory matter s h o u l d not b e entirely free from r e s p o n s i b i l i t y but he s h o u l d be protected  i n so far as he has acted  in good faith.  75  T h e r e f o r e this  defence  only  confers  c o n d i t i o n a l i m m u n i t y ; the defendant loses h i s p r i v i l e g e i f it is s h o w n that he p u b l i s h e d the  71 72 73 74 75  Stopforth v. Goyer (1978), 20 O.R. (2 ) 262; Winfield & Jolowicz, supra n.34, at p.429. Chatterton v. Secretary of State of India, [1895] 2 Q.B. 189 (C.A.). Fleming, supra n.22, at p.620. Linden, supra n.69, at p. 703; Fleming, supra n.22, at p.621. John King, The Law of Defamation in Canada, (Carswell, Toronto, 1907), at p.493. nd  51  statement w i t h m a l i c e .  M o r e o v e r , the p u b l i c a t i o n has to b e m a d e  purpose o f the p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n .  77  to serve the legitimate  O n l y those statements w h i c h are relevant to the interest  that justifies the p r i v i l e g e are protected.  7R  In  Adam v. Ward  L o r d A t k i n s o n describes s u c h a p r i v i l e g e d situation as one " w h e r e the person  w h o m a k e s the c o m m u n i c a t i o n has a n interest o r a duty, legal, s o c i a l o r m o r a l , to m a k e it to the p e r s o n to w h o m it is m a d e , a n d the p e r s o n to w h o m it is m a d e has a c o r r e s p o n d i n g interest or duty to r e c e i v e i t . " S o a legitimate  duty a n d interest relationship  is necessary,  w h i c h is  c o n c e i v a b l e i n three constellations. E i t h e r o n e p e r s o n has a legal, social o r m o r a l duty to speak to another w i t h a legitimate interest to receive the i n f o r m a t i o n or he has a legitimate interest i n g i v i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n to someone  w i t h a duty to receive it, or, f i n a l l y , b o t h sides  have  c o r r e s p o n d i n g interests i n p r o v i d i n g and r e c e i v i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n ( c o m m o n interest).  T h e first constellation focuses o n the duty-aspect a n d c o n c e r n s statements m a d e pursuant to a duty (either legal, s o c i a l or m o r a l ) to a p e r s o n w h o has a c o r r e s p o n d i n g duty or interest i n r e c e i v i n g it. T h e interest i n the i n f o r m a t i o n has to b e r e c i p r o c a l .  79  O t h e r w i s e the defence o f  q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e fails - e v e n i f the defendant honestly b e l i e v e d that the recipient possessed the required interest. F o r the existence o f the duty it is not relevant whether the p u b l i s h e r b e l i e v e d it was there. T h e actual facts are d e c i s i v e .  80  W h i l e a legal duty c a n easily b e determined, the m o r e difficult question is what is understood b y  Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto, (1995) 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 129 at p.171. Fleming, supra n.22, at p.622. [1917] A.C. 309, atp.334. Bureau v. Campell, [1928] 3 D.L.R. 907 (Sask. C.A.); Globe & Mail Ltd. v. Boland (1960), 22 D.L.R. (2 ) 277. Watt v. Longsdon, [1930] 1 K.B. 130, where Watts believed himself obliged to disclose the immoral conduct o f a man to his wife and therefore interfered as a stranger into the affairs of spouses. 76  th  7 7 78 79  nd  80  52  a m o r a l o r s o c i a l duty. A c c o r d i n g to L o r d L i n d l e y  this means " a duty r e c o g n i z e d b y people o f  o r d i n a r y intelligence a n d m o r a l p r i n c i p l e , but at the same time not a duty enforceable b y legal p r o c e e d i n g s . . . " In v i e w o f this rather b r o a d a n d indefinite d e f i n i t i o n it is understandable that courts s e e m to be m o r e i n c l i n e d to a c k n o w l e d g e s u c h a duty i f the statement is m a d e i n answer to an i n q u i r y rather than volunteered, w h i c h also indicates that the i n f o r m a t i o n is o f significance for the recipient.  Q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e lies for e x a m p l e where a f o r m e r e m p l o y e r gives character references o f a d i s m i s s e d e m p l o y e e i n response to the request o f a person w h o p r o p o s e d to e m p l o y h i m , or where o n e b u s i n e s s m a n p r o v i d e s i n f o r m a t i o n after i n q u i r y about the f i n a n c i a l situation o f a prospective c u s t o m e r .  82  S u c h a n i n q u i r y , h o w e v e r , is o n l y o n e factor to be taken into account.  V o l u n t e e r e d statements c a n also be regarded as uttered i n discharge o f a m o r a l o r social duty i n certain relationships s u c h as e m p l o y e r a n d e m p l o y e e , where the latter m a y tell w o r k related things, o r o f course parent a n d c h i l d , where a father c a n w a r n his daughter against her s u i t o r .  83  T h e s e c o n d constellation concerns statements where a p e r s o n seeks to protect h i s o w n legitimate interests,  o r o n e he shares w i t h s o m e o n e else, o r even the interest  o f another person. F o r  instance, s o m e o n e w h o has b e e n subject to an attack o n his reputation has a clear interest i n r e s p o n d i n g to this attack to restore h i s d a m a g e d reputation a n d those w h o have heard the p r e v i o u s attack h a v e a m o r a l duty to receive the response. T h e r e f o r e a statement i n self-defence is protected b y q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e i f it is m a d e i n r e p l y to an attack u p o n one's o w n character or conduct, o r to protect one's proprietary interests.  T h e defendant m a y e v e n protect the interests  ' In Stuart v. Bell, [1891] 2 Q.B. 341, atp.350. Beevis v. Dawson, [1956] 2 Q.B. 165; Robshaw v. Smith (1878), 38 L.T. 423. Cooke v. Wildes (1855), 119 E.R. 504; Bordeaux v. Jobs (1913), 6 Alta L.R. 440, at p.443. Folk v. Smith, [1941] O.R. 17 (C.A.); Pleau v. Simpsons-Sears Ltd. (1976), 75 D.L.R. (3 ) 747 (C.A.).  2 3 4  rd  53  o f his e m p l o y e r  since he has a personal interest i n the business i n v o l v e d .  T h e defence is restricted to those statements w h i c h are necessary to meet the initial attack.  8 6  T h i s means that o n l y s u c h i n f o r m a t i o n related to the attack is protected. T h e r e p l y must not b e c o m e a counterattack. A s m e n t i o n e d before, the c o m m u n i c a t i o n is o n l y protected so l o n g as the recipient has a legitimate interest o r duty to receive it but the requirement o f reciprocity needs to b e seen i n context regarding the nature o f the o r i g i n a l attack. I f an i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation w a s attacked i n p u b l i c he is entitled to r e s p o n d to the general p u b l i c , so for instance i f the press has b e e n the m e a n s to p u b l i s h the initial attack the defendant is free to respond b y the same m e d i u m .  In the case o f a ' c o m m o n interest' the p u b l i s h e r a n d the recipient share a legitimate c o m m o n or m u t u a l interest i n c o m m u n i c a t i n g a n d r e c e i v i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n . It has to b e m o r e than just QQ  curiosity or n e w s - g a t h e r i n g  a n d u s u a l l y concerns p e c u n i a r y interests, a r i s i n g from association  between the parties for business purposes. Protected under q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e are for e x a m p l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s a m o n g shareholders, discussions between m e m b e r s o f r e l i g i o u s congregations, c o m p l a i n t s b y tenants to the l a n d l o r d c o n c e r n i n g the c o n d u c t o f other tenants, i n f o r m a t i o n b e t w e e n m e m b e r s o f trade a n d p r o f e s s i o n a l associations  the f l o w o f  or u n i o n s , or between  QQ  creditors f o r the same debtor.  A n y legitimate interest w o r t h y o f protection b y law w i l l be  sufficient. B u t the p r i v i l e g e o n l y covers  c o m m u n i c a t i o n s that relate to issues o f c o m m o n  c o n c e r n to the m e m b e r s o f the group. I f a statement goes b e y o n d the g r o u p ' s interest or is Penton v. Calwell (1945), 70 C.L.R. 219; similar Gillett v. Nissen Volkswagen Ltd., [1975] 3 W.W.R. 520. Whitaker v. Huntington (1980), 15 C.C.L.T. 19 (B.C.S.C.). Penton v. Calwell (1945) 79 C.L.R. 219; Adam v. Ward, [1917] A.C. 309. Howe v. Lees (1910), 11 C.L.R. 361, at p. 398. Telegraph Newspaper v. Bedford (1934), 50 C.L.R. 632 at p.658; Slocinsky v. Radwan (1929), 144 Atl. 787 (N.H.); Toogood v. Spyring (1834) 149 E.R. 1044; Thompson v. Amos (1949), 23 A.L.J. 98; Smith Bros. & Co. v. W.C Agee & Co. (1912), 50 So.647 (Ala).  85 86 87 88  89  54  c o m m u n i c a t e d to s o m e o n e w h o is not m e m b e r o f the group, i.e. w h o does not have the c o m m o n interest, the q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e is l o s t . necessary  90  A p a r t from this, once m o r e a c o r r e s p o n d i n g interest is  so that it is not sufficient i f o n l y the recipient h a d a n interest  i n hearing the  information.  N o t e w o r t h y is that i n the past courts generally have refused to r e c o g n i s e a c o m m o n interest between newspapers a n d readers. A l t h o u g h a l l p r i v i l e g e c a n b e traced b a c k to some p u b l i c interest i n the p u b l i c a t i o n , the mere fact that a matter is o f p u b l i c interest does not necessarily m e a n that the d i s c u s s i o n o f it is p r i v i l e g e d . In that respect m e d i a have n o greater protection f r o m d e f a m a t i o n action than a n y other m e m b e r o f the p u b l i c . legitimate  interest  i n receiving  the i n f o r m a t i o n  91  A c c o r d i n g l y , the p u b l i c has to have a  while  the p u b l i s h e r  would  require  a  c o r r e s p o n d i n g duty to p u b l i s h the report.  B e c a u s e o f this requirement o f reciprocity there are rarely a n y cases i n w h i c h a p u b l i c a t i o n to the w o r l d at large w i l l attract the protection o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e . A p r i v i l e g e has o n l y been r e c o g n i z e d under certain circumstances, f o r e x a m p l e i n cases o f p u b l i c w a r n i n g s against dangers s u c h as c o n t a m i n a t e d f o o d .  A p a r t from s u c h exceptions the fact that a matter is o f p u b l i c  interest has i n general not b e e n regarded as sufficient to constitute a p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n at c o m m o n law o f defamation.  G e n e r a l l y , the press has to rely o n the defence o f fair c o m m e n t ,  w h i c h o n l y refers to c o m m e n t s b a s e d o n true facts but not to m e r e statements o f f a c t s .  94  Guise v. Kouvelis (1947) C.L.R. 102. King, supra n.75, at p.279. Camporese v. Partem (1983), 150 D.L.R. (3rd) 208 (B.C.S.C.); Blackshaw v. Lord, [1984] Q.B. 1. Globe & Mail Ltd. v. Boland, [1960] S.C.R. 203; Winfield & Jolowicz, supra n.33, at p.445. However, recently there has been a development towards acknowledging public interest further. Within the scope of the case of Moises v. Canadian Newspaper Co. [(1996) 24 B.C.L.R. (3 ) 211] the court deals at great length with the question whether qualified privilege should be extended for newspapers against the background that 'the difficulties involved in verifying the truth of allegations made by others have a chilling effect upon the willingness of newspapers to publish statements that are in fact true.' In Parlett v. Robinson [(1986) 30 D.L.R. (4 ) 247] the court did not consider the publication of a statement of a Member of Parliament to the public at large through the  90  91 92 93  9 4  rd  th  55  A s already m e n t i o n e d , there is s o m e special reason o f p u b l i c p o l i c y i n a l l cases o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e w h y the l a w accords i m m u n i t y from a d e f a m a t i o n suit. T h e defendant might  have  s o m e p u b l i c o r private duty w h i c h justifies the c o m m u n i c a t i o n o f a statement, or s o m e interest o f his o w n w h i c h he is entitled to protect b y d o i n g so. H o w e v e r , it is not a n absolute p r i v i l e g e , and i f the defendant f o r s o m e reason abuses the o c c a s i o n w h i c h gives rise to the p r i v i l e g e , instead o f legitimately u s i n g it, h e loses the d e f e n c e .  95  T h e o c c a s i o n c a n b e m i s u s e d i n different  ways.  O n e w a y is the excess o f p r i v i l e g e , where the w o r d s c o m p l a i n e d o f are outside the scope o f the p r i v i l e g e . T h e defendant m i g h t e x c e e d his p r i v i l e g e b y g o i n g b e y o n d the limits o f his duty or interest, f o r e x a m p l e  b y m a k i n g statements that are c o m p l e t e l y  unrelated  to the p r i v i l e g e d  subject matter. T h e r e is n o protection w i t h regard to statements that are not relevant to the purpose  f o r w h i c h the p r i v i l e g e is g i v e n , o r that are k n o w n to b e u n t r u e .  96  Accordingly,  unnecessarily attacking another's character to d e f e n d o n e ' s o w n character is not c o v e r e d b y the privilege.  97  O r the defendant loses the p r i v i l e g e i f he goes b e y o n d the audience that c a n legitimately receive the  information b y publishing and communicating  legitimate interest o r duty i n r e c e i v i n g i t .  98  the i n f o r m a t i o n to those w h o have no  T h e n the p u b l i c a t i o n itself is unjustifiably w i d e . It is  a different case i f a person, w h o w a s the v i c t i m o f an attack i n p u b l i c , has the right to defend h i m s e l f before the same audience. A p a r t f r o m this the circle o f legitimate recipients i n general is  media as unduly wide. They held the member had a duty to express his concerns and they regarded the electorate in Canada as a group that had a bonafideinterest in the published matter. Wattv. Longsdon, [1930] 1 K.B. 130, Scrutton L.J., atp.143. Adam v. Ward, [1917] A.C. 309, at pp.320-21, 'Anything that is not relevant and pertinent to the discharge of the duty or the exercise of the privilege or the right or the safeguarding of the interest which creates the privilege will not be protected'; Klar, supra n.33, at p.577. Botiuk v. Toronto Free Press (1995), 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 609, at p.628. 'Jones v. Bennett, [1969] S.C.R. 277, where the defendant, a Premier, had spoken defamatory words during a meeting of party supporters in spite of his knowledge of the presence of reporters. Assuming his awareness and 95 96  97  th  98  56  more limited. E x c e s s o f p r i v i l e g e is a matter f o r the determination o f the trial j u d g e w h i l e the j u r y has to decide whether the defendant acted w i t h m a l i c e . "  S e c o n d l y , m a l i c e defeats the q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e , i.e. the defence is lost i f the c o m m u n i c a t i o n is p u b l i s h e d m a l i c i o u s l y . T h e term ' m a l i c e ' i n this context needs to b e understood i n a broad sense, i.e. it not o n l y covers cases where the defamer is m o t i v a t e d b y spite, i l l w i l l , hatred or the desire to i n f l i c t h a r m f o r its o w n sake. A b o v e that it includes m i s u s e o f the p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n for other i m p r o p e r purposes. S u c h a purpose c a n b e a n y indirect m o t i v e - other than honest b e l i e f i n the truth - that is not connected to the p u r p o s e for w h i c h the p r i v i l e g e was g i v e n . In  Royal Aquarium and Summer & Winter Garden Society Ltd. v. Parkinson™ , 1  acting  1 0 0  bona fide  (i.e. without m a l i c e ) w a s understood i n the sense that the defendant uses the p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n for the p r o p e r p u r p o s e a n d does not abuse it. T h e r e f o r e , a c c o r d i n g to L o r d E s h e r , the question is whether the o c c a s i o n is used honestly o r is abused. F u r t h e r m o r e it w a s h e l d that a p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n m i g h t b e abused i f the c o m m u n i c a t i o n is the result o f s o m e m o t i v e other than that o f c a r r y i n g out one's duty. T h e defendant there acted i n 'gross a n d u n r e a s o n i n g prejudice' w i t h regard to the subject matter a n d not s i m p l y f r o m consideration o f his duty. H e h a d ' a l l o w e d his m i n d to get into s u c h a reckless state o f prejudice that he w a s regardless o f the interests o f the other p e r s o n , a n d whether what he was s a y i n g was true or false.'  C l u e s to p r o v e m a l i c e m a y b e extrinsic o r intrinsic. S o f o r e x a m p l e the existence o f personal  even intention that the reporters would publish his statement he had exceeded his privilege by communicating 'to the world'. Linden, supra n.69, at p.712. Jones v. Bennett, [1969] S.C.R. 277; Hill v. Church of Scientology, (1995) 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 129, atp.171. [1892] 1 Q.B. 431; see Watt v. Longsdon, [1930] 1 K.B. 130, at p.155; 'the defendant was in fact giving effect to his malicious or otherwise improper feelings towards the plaintiff and was not merely using the occasion for the protection....'. 9 9  100  th  101  57  a n i m o s i t y m a y b e extrinsic evidence, but o n l y i f it a l l o w s the c o n c l u s i o n o f i m p r o p e r m o t i v e o n the part o f the p u b l i s h e r .  102  T h e lack o f honest b e l i e f or reckless disregard f o r the truth o f the  statement generally is c o n c l u s i v e e v i d e n c e for m a l i c e .  1 0 3  M a l i c e m a y also b e inferred f r o m the  contents o f the allegation itself, from the language i n w h i c h the statement is e x p r e s s e d .  104  A t a n y rate, that o n e participant i n the p u b l i c a t i o n acted m a l i c i o u s l y does not affect the p r i v i l e g e p l e a d e d b y another p a r t i c i p a n t .  105  E a c h participant has a n independent right to c l a i m p r i v i l e g e  and the m i s u s e o f one cannot be i m p u t e d to the other.  3. F a i r C o m m e n t Resulting  from  the nature  o f the subject  matter,  the p u b l i c  has a legitimate  interest i n  g o v e r n m e n t activity, p u b l i c services a n d institutions, the c o n d u c t o f p u b l i c figures, p o l i t i c a l debate a n d p u b l i c affairs i n general. A free d i s c u s s i o n o f matters o f p u b l i c interest is essential i n a democratic society, a n d honest c r i t i c i s m supports the proper discharge o f p u b l i c d u t i e s .  106  T h e r e f o r e , fair c o m m e n t o n matters o f p u b l i c interest is protected from l i a b i l i t y for defamation, as l o n g as it is b a s e d o n facts. T h e right o f fair c o m m e n t furthermore extends to matters o f art s u c h as m u s i c , paintings, literature o r theatrical performances. In s u c h cases, the character o f a person, the artist, is not the object o f c r i t i c i s m but his w o r k , w h i c h he v o l u n t a r i l y d i s p l a y e d in p u b l i c a n d submitted to p u b l i c attention and c r i t i c i s m . T h e defence o f fair c o m m e n t requires the defendant to establish that the statement itself consists o f c o m m e n t , that this c o m m e n t is based o n fact, that the subject matter is o n e o f p u b l i c interest and f i n a l l y that the c o m m e n t is fair. T h e defence fails, h o w e v e r , i f the p l a i n t i f f is able to p r o v e m a l i c e o n the part o f the defendant.  102 103 104 105 106  Fleming, supra n.22, at p.638. McLoughlin v. Kutasy, [1979] 2 S.C.R. 311, at p.321; Winfield & Jolowicz, supra n.33, at p.435. Fleming, supra n.22, at p.638. Stephens v. WA Newspaper (1994), 182 C.L.R. 211, at p.253; in spite of Smith v. Streatfeild, [1913] 3 K.B. 764. Whitford v. Clarke, [1939] S.A.S.R. 434, at p.439 (Napier J.). 58  T h e first requirement is that the statement has to b e o n e o f c o m m e n t o r o p i n i o n and not o n e o f fact.  107  S i n c e the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n is not c o n c e r n e d w i t h the intention o f the publisher the  statement's c l a s s i f i c a t i o n depends o n h o w it w o u l d b e interpreted b y the o r d i n a r y unprejudiced  108 reader o r listener.  T h e c o n v e y e d i m p u t a t i o n has to b e understood as a subjective assessment  or o p i n i o n o f the defendant. T h e reason f o r this distinction is that it m a k e s a difference whether the recipient c a n r e c o g n i z e that the remark expresses the p e r s o n a l v i e w o f the p u b l i s h e r w i t h w h i c h he m a y o r m a y not agree and whether he has the chance o f f o r m i n g his o w n j u d g e m e n t . T h e statement is c o m m e n t i f an o p i n i o n is expressed o n the basis o f p r o v i d e d facts, but a l l e g i n g s o m e t h i n g without referring to facts w i l l i n general b e treated as a statement o f fact. F o r e x a m p l e , to say that s o m e o n e is a n i m m o r a l p e r s o n w o u l d not q u a l i f y as c o m m e n t . O n the other hand, to describe e x a c t l y s o m e o n e ' s c o n d u c t and say this w a s i m m o r a l is o p i n i o n . H o w e v e r , it is sufficient to indicate w i t h reasonable clarity b y the w o r d s themselves, seen i n their context comment.  1 0 9  a n d s u r r o u n d i n g circumstances,  that the utterance has to b e understood as  T h e r e f o r e it is possible to refer to facts, w h i c h are notorious, l i k e f o r example the  conduct o f p o l i t i c i a n s ,  110  without e x p l i c i t l y i n c l u d i n g t h e m i n the c o m m u n i c a t i o n . D e c i s i v e is  whether the i m p u t a t i o n c o n v e y e d c a n b e understood as c o m m e n t .  B u t i f the expression is  a m b i g u o u s a n d c a n b e understood i n either w a y the risk goes to the debit o f the publisher.  H o w e v e r , the c o m m e n t has not o n l y to b e b a s e d o n facts but those facts have to be true and undistorted otherwise the c o m m e n t itself cannot b e f a i r . s i m p l y b e l i e v e d h i s facts to b e t r u e .  112  111  It is not e n o u g h i f the defendant  C o m m e n t i n g o n the basis o f m i s t a k e n facts m a d e at a  p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n , o n the other h a n d , is treated differently. T h e i r disclosure is i n the p u b l i c  If facts are published, the defendant can only plead the defence of justification. Clarke v. Norton, [1910] V.L.R. 494, atp.500. Radio 2 UE Sydney v. Parker (1992), 29 N.S.W.L.R. 448 (C.A.); Kemsley v. Foot, [1952] A.C. 345, at p. 357. Bjelke-Petersen v. Burns, [1988] 2 Qd. R. 129. " ' Linden, supra n.69, atp.714. 107 108 109 110  59  interest.  113  T h e subject matter o f the c o m m e n t must b e a matter o f p u b l i c interest, i.e. o n e i n w h i c h the p u b l i c is legitimately interested o r c o n c e r n e d . A s already m e n t i o n e d this c a n b e governmental actions a n d the c o n d u c t o f those i n v o l v e d i n the p o l i t i c a l process, p u b l i c affairs s u c h as sports, arts, r e l i g i o u s events, the c o n d u c t o f all p u b l i c figures etc. B u t the free e x p r e s s i o n is restricted to the p u b l i c d i m e n s i o n o f those activities a n d persons. O n l y the c o n d u c t o r w o r k o f p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s a n d figures is o f p u b l i c interest a n d not their private life o r m o r a l s . T h e p u b l i c a t i o n o f matters unrelated to this p u b l i c d i m e n s i o n does not fall under the protection o f fair c o m m e n t . In this case the p l a i n t i f f s interest i n p r i v a c y p r e v a i l s .  114  T h e c o m m e n t m u s t b e a fair o n e . F a i r i n this context does not necessarily m e a n that the c o m m e n t has to b e reasonable o r b a l a n c e d . Instead fairness depends o n the circumstance that the defendant h o n e s t l y expresses his o p i n i o n . b y the defence, as w e l l as exaggerated,  1 1 5  E v e n strong language a n d harsh critique is c o v e r e d  obstinate o r p r e j u d i c e d r e m a r k s .  116  S o l o n g as the  expressed o p i n i o n is honestly h e l d b y the publisher, it is protected - p r o v i d e d a n h o n e s t - m i n d e d person m i g h t h o l d this v i e w o n the facts it is based o n .  1 1 7  N e w s p a p e r s d o not receive a n y special treatment i n this respect, w h i c h is illustrated i n the case  Chernesky v. Armadale Publishers Ltd.  us  It dealt w i t h a letter to the editor, p u b l i s h e d b y the  newspaper, that d e s c r i b e d the attitude o f the p l a i n t i f f as racist. W h e t h e r this w a s the honest  Douglas v. Stephenson (1898), 29 O.R. 616; Price v. Chicoutimi Pulp Co. (1915), 51 S.C.R. 179. Cook v. Alexander, [1974] Q.B. 279, at p.288 (C.A.); Mangena v. Wright, [1909] 2 K.B. 958, at p. 977 (commenting on excerpt from Parliamentary paper); Grech v. Odhams Press, [1958] 2 Q.B. 275, at p.285. 112 113  114 1 , 5 116 117  Mutch v. Sleeman (1928), 29 S.R. (N.S.W.) 125, at p. 137 (MP called a wife beater). Chernesky v. Armadale Publishers Ltd. (1979), 90 D.L.R. (3 ) 321, atp.330. Ibid at p.325; Fleming, supra n.22, at p.653. Merivale v. Carson (1887), 20 Q.B.D. 275, at p.281 (Lord Esher). rd  60  b e l i e f o f the t w o writers o f the letter was not clear. T h e defendant p u b l i s h e r d i d not agree with the contents o f the letter. A c c o r d i n g to the m a j o r i t y o f the S u p r e m e C o u r t , the defence o f fair c o m m e n t failed due to the lack o f honest b e l i e f i n the allegation contained i n the letter o n the part o f the n e w s p a p e r .  119  F i n a l l y , a c o m m e n t distorted b y m a l i c e cannot c l a i m the protection o f the defence o f fair c o m m e n t . It is the p l a i n t i f f s task to p r o v e that the defendant acted m a l i c i o u s l y , i.e. to s h o w that the c o m m e n t opinion.  1 2 0  was  not d e s i g n e d to serve the purpose o f expressing o n e ' s  honest  and real  In this c o n n e c t i o n mere hostility or i l l w i l l alone is not e n o u g h to answer  the  question o f m a l i c e i n the affirmative.  4.) C o n s e n t . A p o l o g y a n d R e t r a c t i o n T h e p l a i n t i f f s consent to the p u b l i c a t i o n o f d e f a m a t i o n w i l l protect the defendant from liability as a c o m p l e t e defence. It is p o s s i b l e that the p l a i n t i f f instigated or i n v i t e d the  defamatory  statement h i m s e l f , for e x a m p l e b y starting r u m o u r s about h i m s e l f or p r o v i d i n g false i n f o r m a t i o n to a newspaper. O r he m a y try to p r o v o k e the defendant to d e f a m e h i m for the purpose o f s u i n g him  afterwards.  In cases like that the p l a i n t i f f w i l l be d e e m e d to h a v e  consented  to  the  (1979) 90 D.L.R. (3 ) 321. The minority criticised this decision for creating an unreasonable restriction of freedom of expression. They argued that, if newspapers are limited to publish opinions with which they agree, competing ideas will no longer gain access although the free and general discussion of public matters is fundamental to a democratic society. Therefore they emphasised the distinction between the question of fairness and the question of malice. In the first step it needs to be determined whether the statement can be regarded as one an honest person, although prejudiced, might make in the circumstances. In a second step the burden of proof shifts to the plaintiff to show that the publisher acted maliciously. They continued that, while it normally is the strongest possible evidence of malice if the plaintiff is able to show that the defendant does not hold the opinion expressed, cases where publisher and author are not identical have to be treated differently. The fact that the publisher did not agree with the contents of the comment does not give information about malice on his part. Here it should be sufficient if the comment was objectively fair and the individual publisher was not actuated by malice. It should not be necessary that the publisher himself had the same point of view as the writer. Winfield & Jolowicz, supra n.33, at p.427 is of the same opinion. Fleming, supra n.22, at p.654. 1,8  rd  119  120  61  defamatory p u b l i c a t i o n .  121  F i n a l l y , there are the partial defences o f a p o l o g y a n d retraction. T h e y are o f particular interest to the m e d i a i n v i e w o f the strict liability i n cases o f l i b e l . T h e y d o not affect liability itself but they operate to mitigate damages. I f the defendant a p o l o g i z e d to the p l a i n t i f f for m a k i n g the defamatory  statement  this fact  will  b e reflected as m i t i g a t i o n i n the a w a r d o f damages.  A c c o r d i n g l y , i f the defendant refrains from a p o l o g i z i n g , damages c a n e n d u p b e i n g relatively h i g h as for e x a m p l e i n the  Hill-case  or i n the  Cassidy-case.  122  is o f s i g n i f i c a n c e o n l y f o r newspapers a n d broadcasters.  R e t r a c t i o n , a statutory c o n c e p t  123  ,  O n c o n d i t i o n that there has been a  c o m p l e t e a n d f u l l retraction, f u l f i l l i n g the requirements o f the respective statute, liability is restricted to the p l a i n t i f f s actual damage.  Fleming, supra n.22, at p.627; Brown, supra n.51, at p.389. Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto (1995), 126 D.L.R. (4th) 129, where the defendant did not attempt to apologize after being aware that his allegations were false and therefore ended up with a total of $ 1.6 millions in damages. In Cassidy v. Daily Mirror Newspapers Ltd., [1929] 2 K.B. 331 the defendant persisted in doing right after he learned the truth in front of the trial instead of apologizing. See sec.7 ofthe Libel and Slander Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.263. 121 122  123  62  CHAPTER  3:  F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n a n d the C h a r t e r  H a v i n g d e s c r i b e d the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n as the source o f l a w that protects reputational interests, it is n o w time to have a l o o k at the  Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms w h i c h  guarantees f r e e d o m o f expression. I w i l l b r i e f l y place the Charter i n its historical context and e x p l a i n under w h i c h circumstances  it applies. A f t e r w a r d s I w i l l concentrate o n freedom  of  expression, d e s c r i b i n g the scope o f this fundamental right a n d h o w it is subject to limitations a c c o r d i n g to s. 1 o f the Charter.  A . I n t r o d u c t i o n o f the C h a r t e r  I. H i s t o r i c a l C o n t e x t B e f o r e the Charter, Canada's p r i m a r y constitutional d o c u m e n t was the  Act, 1867  (renamed the  Constitution Act, 1867  i n 1982)  British North America  w h i c h contained two m a j o r features: a  parliamentary s y s t e m o f government a n d federalism. T h e first, i.e. the s u p r e m a c y o f Parliament, refers to the u n l i m i t e d p o w e r the elected representatives o f the p e o p l e , a s s e m b l e d i n Parliament, have to m a k e the l a w . T h e s e c o n d element concerns the d i v i s i o n o f legislative p o w e r s between the P a r l i a m e n t o f C a n a d a and the p r o v i n c i a l legislatures. T h e role o f the courts was l i m i t e d to d e c i d i n g cases b y interpreting the law, b a s i c a l l y without the authority to invalidate d u l y enacted laws, except w h e n they acted as referee i n d e c i d i n g whether legislative matters fell w i t h i n federal or p r o v i n c i a l j u r i s d i c t i o n . T h e n they c o u l d invalidate a p r o v i n c i a l law that c a m e w i t h i n federal j u r i s d i c t i o n o r v i c e versa.  63  A l t h o u g h the  Constitution Act, 1867  secured certain democratic and m i n o r i t y rights, it d i d not  i n c l u d e a b i l l o f rights. H o w e v e r , as a consequence o f the increased interest i n b i l l s o f rights f o l l o w i n g the S e c o n d W o r l d W a r , Parliament enacted the  Canadian Bill of Rights  in  1960  w h i c h , as an o r d i n a r y act o f Parliament, was m e r e l y a statutory instrument. S i n c e it d i d not a p p l y to the p r o v i n c i a l legislatures and m o r e o v e r h a d b e e n g i v e n little effect application  to  the  federal  government,  this  bill  proved  inadequate  e v e n in its  in  its  protection  of  its  Canadian Charter  fundamental rights.  F i n a l l y , w i t h the enactment o f the  of Rights and Freedoms.  Constitution Act, 1982, C a n a d a r e c e i v e d  A s part o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n the Charter c a n o n l y be altered b y  constitutional a m e n d m e n t , it applies to b o t h federal a n d p r o v i n c i a l levels o f g o v e r n m e n t and it 1  expressly overrides inconsistent statutes.  V a r i o u s rights are i d e n t i f i e d and e m b o d i e d i n the  Charter s u c h as the f u n d a m e n t a l freedoms o f c o n s c i e n c e , r e l i g i o n , thought, belief, o p i n i o n , expression, a s s e m b l y and association as w e l l as democratic rights, m o b i l i t y rights, legal rights, the right to equality a n d language rights. H o w e v e r , the guarantees set out i n the Charter are not absolute. T h e C h a r t e r i t s e l f expressly a c k n o w l e d g e s that rights c a n b e l i m i t e d to protect other i n d i v i d u a l rights o r broader c o m m u n i t y interests b y i n c l u d i n g s . l i n its p r o v i s i o n s .  3  A t any rate, the C h a r t e r has g i v e n the courts i m m e n s e n e w p o w e r to protect the rights and freedoms o f i n d i v i d u a l s a n d minorities, and at the same time l i m i t e d the p o w e r s o f the federal Parliament as w e l l as the p r o v i n c i a l legislatures b y i n c l u d i n g an explicit s u p r e m a c y c l a u s e  4  and  ' According to s.52(3) the constitutional amending procedure must be employed to alter the Constitution, of which the Charter is Part I. S.52(l) declares that any law inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force and effect. S. 1 allows the state to limit the rights and freedoms provided that the limit is 'reasonable', 'prescribed by law' and 'can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society'. 2  3  4  Supra n.2. 64  a l l o w i n g extensive j u d i c i a l r e v i e w .  II. A p p l i c a t i o n o f the Charter  T h e question c o n c e r n i n g the a p p l i c a t i o n o f the Charter is addressed i n s . 3 2 ( l ) o f the Charter, w h i c h p r o v i d e s that the Charter applies to 'the Parliament a n d g o v e r n m e n t o f C a n a d a i n respect o f a l l matters w i t h i n the authority o f Parliament...' a n d to the 'legislature a n d g o v e r n m e n t o f each p r o v i n c e i n respect o f a l l matters w i t h i n the authority o f the legislature o f each p r o v i n c e . . . '  F o r e m o s t , the S u p r e m e C o u r t m a d e it clear that the Charter is c o n f i n e d to g o v e r n m e n t a l action, i.e. that it applies o n l y where the g o v e r n m e n t a l l e g e d l y infringes a right o r f r e e d o m guaranteed i n the C h a r t e r .  5  T h i s f o l l o w s f r o m the p r o p o s i t i o n that the Charter w a s set u p to regulate the  relationship b e t w e e n i n d i v i d u a l s a n d government, w i t h the intention o f restraining government action i n order to protect the i n d i v i d u a l . T h e r e f o r e , i f the act under c h a l l e n g e c o m e s f r o m an entity that is part o f the government, the Charter w i l l a p p l y whether o r not the action is i n v o k e d i n p u b l i c o r private litigation.  In  Dolphin Delivery,  the C o u r t further determined that s . 3 2 ( l ) refers to the legislative, executive  and administrative branches but not the j u d i c i a r y b r a n c h . T h i s c o n c l u s i o n w a s supported b y a 6  textual analysis o f s . 3 2 ( l ) . B e c a u s e  that p r o v i s i o n refers to the P a r l i a m e n t a n d legislatures  separately from the 'government' it treats them as s p e c i f i c branches, separate f r o m the executive b r a n c h o f g o v e r n m e n t . It does not expressly refer to the j u d i c i a r y as a b r a n c h o f government to w h i c h the C h a r t e r applies. T h u s , a different treatment o f the j u d i c i a l versus the legislative,  R.W.S.D.U. v. Dolphin Delivery Ltd., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573; reaffirmed in McKinney v. University of Guelph, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 229; also Hunter v. Southam Inc., [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145, at p. 156. R.W.S.D.U. v. Dolphin Delivery Ltd., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573, para.31. Subsequent cases such as B.C.G.E.U. v. B.C., [1988] 2 S.C.R. 214 or Rahey v. The Queen, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 588 might appear inconsistent with this holding in  5  6  65  executive a n d administrative branches o f g o v e r n m e n t is j u s t i f i e d . In the o p i n i o n o f the S u p r e m e C o u r t , the term 'government' is not u s e d i n the generic sense to refer to the w h o l e o f the g o v e r n m e n t a l apparatus o f the state, but rather o n l y i n the sense i n w h i c h o n e generally speaks o f the G o v e r n m e n t o f C a n a d a or o f a p r o v i n c e , m e a n i n g the executive branches o f g o v e r n m e n t .  7  o r administrative  A c c o r d i n g l y , a l l statutory laws a n d regulations are subject to Charter  scrutiny, as is every exercise o f statutory authority.  T h e Charter also applies i f the act c o m p l a i n e d o f c o m e s f r o m an entity w h i c h is d e e m e d to be part o f g o v e r n m e n t . W i t h respect to s u c h 'quasi-governmental' b o d i e s , d i f f i c u l t i e s sometimes arise.  F o r instance,  the Charter does  not a p p l y to universities, e v e n t h o u g h they  receive  g o v e r n m e n t f u n d i n g a n d are created b y statute , but c o m m u n i t y colleges have b e e n regarded as 8  part o f g o v e r n m e n t .  9  I n general, the result depends o n the degree  to w h i c h the entity is  c o n t r o l l e d b y g o v e r n m e n t ministers or their o f f i c i a l s i n their d a y - t o - d a y o p e r a t i o n s .  10  However,  even a private entity c a n b e subject to the Charter, n a m e l y i n respect o f certain inherently g o v e r n m e n t a l actions, i.e. w h e n its activity c a n b e said to b e 'governmental' i n nature. T h i s is i n order  to prevent  governments  from  escaping  Charter  scrutiny  b y entering  into  'arrangements' a n d delegating the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f their p o l i c i e s to private entities.  private  11  A t a n y rate, the C h a r t e r w i l l not b e a p p l i c a b l e to private litigation b e t w e e n private parties unless one party i n v o k e s o r relies u p o n the exercise o f g o v e r n m e n t a l action to p r o d u c e a n infringement  Dolphin since they also include the judicial branch, at least in so far as the criminal sphere is concerned. This issue will be raised in chapter six. Dolphin Delivery, ibid. McKinney v. University of Guelph, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 229. Douglas/Kwantlen Faculty Association v. Douglas College, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 570. Robert Sharpe and Kathrine Swinton, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, (Irwin Law, Toronto, 1998), at p.63. In Douglas College, for instance, the college was established by the government to implement government policy. Its board was appointed and removable at pleasure by the government which also could direct its operation by law. The college performed acts of government in carrying out its function. Eldrige v. British Columbia, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 624m at para. 103. 7 8  9  10  11  66  o f the Charter right o f a n o t h e r .  12  A s already m e n t i o n e d , court orders were not c o n s i d e r e d as g o v e r n m e n t a l action. T h e y were e x c l u d e d f r o m the scope o f s . 3 2 ( l ) although the S u p r e m e C o u r t stressed i n  Dolphin Delivery  that courts are b o u n d b y the Charter and b y a l l law. T h e i r e x c l u s i o n was e x p l a i n e d b y referring to the f u n c t i o n o f courts as neutral arbiters w h e n a p p l y i n g the l a w , i.e. they are not i n v o l v e d as c o n t e n d i n g parties  i n private  litigation.  13  M c l n t y r e J.,  who  d e l i v e r e d the j u d g e m e n t ,  was  c o n c e r n e d that the scope o f Charter a p p l i c a t i o n w o u l d be w i d e n e d to v i r t u a l l y all private litigation i f court orders w e r e regarded as an element o f g o v e r n m e n t a l intervention sufficient to i n v o k e the Charter since a l l cases must e n d , i f carried to c o m p l e t i o n , w i t h an order.  14  To  private  litigation, h o w e v e r ,  the  Charter  was  not  s u p p o s e d to  enforcement  apply.  While  g o v e r n m e n t a l action c o u l d effectively be restricted o n l y b y constitutional limits, private conduct is regulated b y the tort system and b y other laws, w h i c h are better d e s i g n e d for this purpose and contain m o r e details as to the appropriate scope o f private rights a n d o b l i g a t i o n s .  W i t h respect to the c o m m o n law, the C o u r t r e c o g n i z e d , that the Charter must a p p l y to it because o f s.52(1) o f the  Constitution Act, 1982, w h i c h  refers to 'any law' i n d e c l a r i n g it o f no force in  case it is inconsistent w i t h the p r o v i s i o n s o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n . T h e b o d y o f the c o m m o n law, w h i c h i n great part governs the rights a n d obligations o f the i n d i v i d u a l s i n society, definitely is 'any l a w ' .  15  H o w e v e r , the C o u r t then p r o c e e d e d to restrict this r u l i n g b y c o n c l u d i n g that the  Charter w i l l a p p l y to the c o m m o n law o n l y i n so far as a g o v e r n m e n t a l actor is r e l y i n g o n it to abrogate C h a r t e r rights, i.e. o n l y w h e n the c o m m o n l a w is the basis o f some governmental  R. W.S.D.U. v. Dolphin Delivery Ltd., supra n.5, at para.37. With respect to abuse of private power, the authority for legal control is said to be best left with the legislature. For courts it would be inappropriate to assume responsibility for all issues of social justice for all elements of society. Sharpe/Swinton, supra n.10, at p.62. Dolphin Delivery, ibid, para.34. Ibid, para.34. 12  13  14  67  action w h i c h (allegedly) infringes a guaranteed right o r itself does n o t demonstrate  freedom.  16  T h e c o m m o n l a w i n and o f  a sufficient c o n n e c t i o n to government  to i n v o k e the Charter's  protection. T h u s , b e t w e e n private parties the Charter w i l l not a p p l y to the c o m m o n law because o f the absolute requirement for g o v e r n m e n t a l action.  In this respect, the d e c i s i o n i n Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto determined that i n the context o f c i v i l litigation i n v o l v i n g e x c l u s i v e l y private parties, the C h a r t e r w i l l indirectly apply to the c o m m o n l a w , n a m e l y to the extent that the c o m m o n law is f o u n d to b e inconsistent with Charter v a l u e s .  17  T h e issue i n s u c h cases a c c o r d i n g l y is whether the p r i n c i p l e s u n d e r l y i n g the  c o m m o n l a w rule are consistent  w i t h the values enshrined i n the Charter.  T h i s aspect is  important for the question o f the Charter's impact o n the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n and w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n greater detail i n chapter six.  B . Structure o f s.2(b) A n a l y s i s  I. T h e S c o p e o f F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n 1. M e a n i n g o f E x p r e s s i o n In contrast to the a p p r o a c h f o l l o w e d b y the U . S . S u p r e m e C o u r t , the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a chose the broadest p o s s i b l e d e f i n i t i o n o f expression: protected is f r e e d o m o f expression, not 18  freedom  o f speech.  " E x p r e s s i o n " , thereafter, has b e e n h e l d to i n c l u d e every activity that  c o n v e y s o r attempts to c o n v e y m e a n i n g .  19  N o t o n l y the f r e e d o m to speak, write or p u b l i s h ideas  Ibid, para.23. Ibid, para.32. (1995) 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 129,atp.l57. Ford v. Quebec, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712, at p.766: Rights and freedoms should be given a large and liberal interpretation. Irwin Toy v. Quebec, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, at p.968; R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697, at pp.729, 826. 15  16  17  th  18  19  68  is protected, b u t arts a n d p h y s i c a l gestures o r acts c a n also b e c o v e r e d .  I f an activity has  expressive content it prima facie falls w i t h i n the scope o f the guaranteed free expression. T h i s d e f i n i t i o n excludes h a r d l y a n y t h i n g a n d places all f o r m s o f expression o n an equal footing.  An  explanation f o r this b r o a d a p p r o a c h c a n b e f o u n d i n the acceptance o f three different  rationales for f r e e d o m o f expression w h i c h c o v e r various facets o f expression. T h e d e m o c r a c y rationale c o m p r i s e s p o l i t i c a l expression as b e i n g essential for the w o r k i n g o f a parliamentary d e m o c r a c y since this f o r m o f government cannot exist without the f r e e d o m to express n e w ideas and to put f o r w a r d o p i n i o n s about the f u n c t i o n i n g o f p u b l i c institutions. By  a c k n o w l e d g i n g the truth d i s c o v e r y rationale  a n d the 'marketplace  o f ideas', the C o u r t  b r o a d e n e d the scope o f protection to the expression o f ideas c o n c e r n i n g all branches o f h u m a n k n o w l e d g e . F i n a l l y , r e g a r d i n g expression as intrinsic w o r t h for the i n d i v i d u a l , as a n important element o f p e r s o n a l s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t and a u t o n o m y , results i n the broadest p o s s i b l e definition. T h i s last rationale covers m o r e than speech, n a m e l y expression through h u m a n activity such as, for instance, art, m u s i c or d a n c e .  21  Important is that the right o f f r e e d o m o f expression extends to the listener as w e l l as to the speaker. It also protects the i n d i v i d u a l f r o m b e i n g r e q u i r e d to express a particular v i e w , i.e. there is a right not to e x p r e s s .  22  L a m e r J . said i n Slaight Communications  Inc. v. Davidson,  23  that  It-win Toy, supra n.19, at p.970. Human activity most of the time combines physical and expressive elements. It is, however, possible that activity is purely physical without the intention to carry a message. Certain day-to-day tasks can generally not be regarded as attempts to convey meaning, such as parking a car, for instance. In such cases it is incumbent on the plaintiff to show that his act in fact was performed to convey a meaning (Irwin Toy v. Quebec, supra n.19, at p.969). So in the example of parking a car, a plaintiff who parked without authority in a zone reserved for spouses of government employees might argue that he did this as part of a public protest, to express his anger at his exclusion from the allocation of a limited resource. In that context his activity has expressive content. National Bank of Canada v. R.C.U., [1984] 1 S.C.R. 269, at p.295 (Beetz J.); R. v. Big M Drug Mart, [1985] 1 S.C.R.295, Dickson at p.336 about the meaning of freedom; Slaight Communications Inc. v. Davidson, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1038. [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1038, atp.1080. 21  22  2 3  69  ' f r e e d o m o f expression necessarily entails the right to say n o t h i n g , o r the right not to say certain things'.  T h e f o l l o w i n g examples  serve to get a general idea o f the scope o f f r e e d o m o f expression  a c c o r d i n g to the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a . C o m m e r c i a l expression w a s h e l d to be c o v e r e d b y the protection o f s.2(b) i n Ford v.  Quebec.  24  T h e C o u r t rejected the argument that the Charter was not intended to protect e c o n o m i c interests and instead e m p h a s i s e d the intrinsic value o f advertising. T h e recipients o f i n f o r m a t i o n p r o v i d e d b y advertising are enabled to m a k e i n f o r m e d e c o n o m i c  decisions, w h i c h is important with  regard to i n d i v i d u a l f u l f i l m e n t a n d autonomy. T h e r e f o r e , protection is not o n l y afforded to c o m m e r c i a l advertising a n d the advertisers but at the same time to the recipients o f advertising. Later court decisions f o l l o w e d this v i e w a n d also regarded c o m m e r c i a l advertising as protected b y f r e e d o m o f expression.  F r e e d o m o f expression  is also i n v o l v e d i n cases o f p i c k e t i n g since a n y f o r m o f p i c k e t i n g  contains at least s o m e element o f c o n v e y i n g m e a n i n g . p i c k e t e d under pressure  a n d cause h i m e c o n o m i c  C e r t a i n l y it intends to put the person  loss. B u t apart  from  that it c o n v e y s the  message to the general p u b l i c that the organisation p i c k e t i n g is ' i n v o l v e d i n a dispute, that it is seeking to i m p o s e its w i l l o n the object o f the p i c k e t i n g , a n d that it solicits the assistance o f the  [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712, at p.766, where the issue was the constitutionality of a provincial law restricting the language of advertising. For example: Irwin Toy, supra n.19, where a legislative act prohibited commercial advertising directed at persons under thirteen years of age, or Rocket v. Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 232, where the constitutionality of a provision was challenged that explicitly restricted dentists' advertising. However, the fact that expression is commercial is not necessarily without constitutional significance, as can be seen later on, because the circumstance of how close expression is to the core values of freedom of expression (political or social participation, truth or self-fulfilment) may effect the sec.l analysis. R. W.D.S.U. v. Dolphin Delivery, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 537, at p.587; see also B.C.G.E.U. v British Columbia, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 214. 2 5  26  70  p u b l i c i n h o n o u r i n g the picket l i n e . '  T h e p i c k e t i n g tries to persuade customers to refrain f r o m  d o i n g business w i t h the p e r s o n p i c k e t e d . T h e r e f o r e , p i c k e t i n g is a n activity w i t h  expressive  content a n d receives Charter protection, as l o n g as it is p e a c e f u l .  Since  postering  a n d leafleting  offer  an  effective  a n d relatively  inexpensive  way of  c o m m u n i c a t i n g p o l i t i c a l , cultural o r social ideas w h i c h e s p e c i a l l y helps the less p o w e r f u l m e m b e r s o f society to g i v e v o i c e to their o p i n i o n s a n d to support their concerns, this expressive activity also receives Charter p r o t e c t i o n .  28  C o m m u n i c a t i o n s w h i c h p r o m o t e hatred against a n identifiable group are c o v e r e d b y f r e e d o m o f expression  as w e l l .  T h e y contribute  to v i g o r o u s a n d o p e n debate  essential  to  democratic  government a n d they foster a vibrant and creative society through the marketplace o f i d e a s . stressed i n Irwin  Toy,  30  29  As  the type o f m e a n i n g c o n v e y e d is irrelevant to the question o f whether an  expressive activity is protected b y sec.2(b). S i n c e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s p r o m o t i n g hatred c o n v e y a m e a n i n g a n d are intended to d o so b y those w h o m a k e them, they cannot b e d e p r i v e d o f the protection a c c o r d e d b y sec.2(b), n o matter h o w o f f e n s i v e the content o f a statement m a y be. T h e content o f an e x p r e s s i o n cannot d e p r i v e it o f its constitutional protection.  Dolphin Delivery, ibid, atp.588. Ramsden v. Petersborough, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 1084 (the decision furthermore dealt with the question whether postering on public property is protected as well and came to the conclusion that this is the case at least on some occasions); Ford v. Quebec, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712 (where the Supreme Court held that a law requiring public signs and posters to be printed only in French violated sec. 2 (b)); United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1518 (U.F.C.W.) v. Kmart Canada Ltd., [1999] S.C.J. No.44 (where members of the appellant union peacefully distributed leaflets at secondary sites during a labour dispute with two KMart stores. The Court cited the Labour Relations Board in para.27 and said it is 'permissible for employees to publish letters, issue press releases, take out newspaper advertisements or use billboards in order to publicize the labour dispute and attempt to gain public sympathy.' They stressed how important it is for workers to disseminate accurate information in a lawful manner with regard to a labour dispute). R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697, at p.732; In this case a high school teacher was charged under the Criminal Code with unlawfully promoting hatred against Jews by making anti-Semitic statements to his students. The Court had to decide whether the particular section of the Criminal Code infringed freedom of expression. 2  28  29  71  O n the same g r o u n d , the distribution o f p o r n o g r a p h i c material was h e l d to b e w i t h i n the scope o f f r e e d o m o f expression.  In creating a (pornographic) f i l m for instance, the m a k e r o f the f i l m  is c o n s c i o u s l y c h o o s i n g particular images, w h i c h together constitute the f i l m , and thereby is attempting to c o n v e y s o m e m e a n i n g . T h e content o f the f i l m a n d the reaction o f the audience are o f no relevance for the question o f whether the activity is p r o t e c t e d .  32  S i m i l a r l y , deliberate falsehoods h a v e b e e n regarded as protected, because the truth or falsity o f such c o m m u n i c a t i o n s c a n o n l y b e determined b y referring to its c o n t e n t .  33  A p a r t f r o m the  concept o f content-neutrality it w o u l d b e difficult to c o n c l u s i v e l y determine the falsity o f a statement. A n d e v e n i f a statement is false it c o u l d still have a v a l u e since 'the challenge o f this false i d e a to r e c e i v e d understanding promotes a r e - e x a m i n a t i o n that vitalizes t r u t h . ' In v i e w o f this, defamatory  expression that is untrue s h o u l d  deserve  34  protection  as w e l l .  H o w e v e r , I w i l l c o m e b a c k to this issue i n chapter six.  2. T h e V i o l e n c e - E x c e p t i o n T h e r e is one restriction p l a c e d o n the protection o f conduct o f expressive nature: v i o l e n c e as a f o r m o f e x p r e s s i o n is e x c l u d e d f r o m sec.2(b) p r o t e c t i o n .  35  Although  acts o f v i o l e n c e , for  e x a m p l e terrorist attacks, c a n o b v i o u s l y b e intended to c o n v e y a m e a n i n g , the S u p r e m e C o u r t  [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927. R. v. Butler, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 452 dealt with the constitutionality of the obscenity provisions of the Criminal Code. Ibid, atpp.489-90. In R. v. Zundel, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 731 the section of the Criminal Code, which punished the act of wilfully publishing a statement, that the publisher knows is false and that causes or is likely to cause injury or mischief to a public interest, infringed sec. 2 (b) of the Charter. Publishing a pamphlet alleging that the killing of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust is a myth therefore fell within the guarantee of freedom of expression. Kent Greenawalt, "Free Speech Justifications' in: 'Constitutional Law in Canada" by Magnet, (4th ed., vol.2, Yvon Blais Inc., Montreal, 1989), at p.283. Irwin Toy, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, atp.970;/?. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 967, atp.731. 3 0 31  3 2 3 3  3 4  35  72  d e c i d e d that they  would  not receive  constitutional protection.  T h e j u s t i f i c a t i o n for this  exception is that v i o l e n c e is i n i m i c a l to the rule o f law o n w h i c h all rights a n d freedoms depend and to the values supporting  freedom  o f expression.  37  While  freedom  o f expression exists to  ensure the enhancement o f the freedom to choose between ideas o r courses o f conduct, v i o l e n c e is c o e r c i v e a n d takes a w a y free c h o i c e . It u n d e r m i n e s the freedom o f action.  Initially, threats o f v i o l e n c e h a d also b e e n unprotected. refrained  from  In  R. v. Keegstra , h o w e v e r ,  e x c l u d i n g threats o f v i o l e n c e . T h e starting  p o i n t has to b e that  the C o u r t activities  c o n v e y i n g o r attempting to c o n v e y m e a n i n g are regarded as expression f o r the purpose o f sec.2(b). Further, s u c h expressive activities cannot b e e x c l u d e d f r o m the scope o f guaranteed free expression o n the basis o f the content or m e a n i n g c o n v e y e d .  40  Y e t , a c o m m u n i c a t i o n can  o n l y be c l a s s i f i e d as a threat o f v i o l e n c e b y reference to the content o f its m e a n i n g (as o p p o s e d to  its form).  T h e d e c i s i o n stated clearly that the v i o l e n c e e x c e p t i o n  refers  to expression  c o m m u n i c a t e d d i r e c t l y through p h y s i c a l h a r m . W h a t m a y lead to v i o l e n c e is not itself violent so threats o f v i o l e n c e are c o v e r e d b y freedom o f expression. A c c o r d i n g l y , the determination o f the scope o f f r e e d o m o f expression is g o v e r n e d b y the p r i n c i p l e o f content-neutrality.  II. L i m i t a t i o n o f F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n If the activity o f the litigant w h o alleges an infringement o f freedom o f expression is c o v e r e d b y sec.2(b), the next step is to determine whether there has b e e n a v i o l a t i o n o f the asserted right. In  Richard Moon criticizes this decision of the courts in his article "The Supreme Court of Canada on the structure of Freedom of Expression Adjudication", (1995) 45 University of Toronto Law Journal 419. He sees that the Court might have felt that inclusion of acts of violence in the Charter protection would give them a 'small but undeserved amount of legitimacy'. But he suggests proceeding according to the Court's general approach, i.e. to define expression broadly (which means to include violent acts) and use sec. 1 to deal with difficulties. R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697, atp.731 (Dickson) andp.830 (McLachlin). R. W.S.D.E. U. v. Dolphin Delivery, [1986] 2 S.C.R.537, at p.588. Supra n.35, at p.733 (Dickson C.J.); the activity of wilfully promoting hatred did not fall within the violence exception according to the majority of the Court. Irwin Toy, supra n.19, at p.969. 37  38  3 9  40  73  Irwin Toy  the S u p r e m e C o u r t d e s c r i b e d h o w to p r o c e e d i n this respect: the initial test o f  constitutional v a l i d i t y is to e x a m i n e the purpose o f legislation. I f the g o v e r n m e n t ' s purpose was to i m p o s e a l i m i t o n expression, there has b e e n a v i o l a t i o n o f sec.2(b) a n d a sec. 1 analysis is required  to  determine  whether  this  l i m i t a t i o n is consistent  with  the p r o v i s i o n s  o f the  C o n s t i t u t i o n . In case the g o v e r n m e n t a l action fails this purpose test, i.e. the purpose is to limit expression, there is n o need to c o n s i d e r its effects. A t this point, legislation w i t h an i n v a l i d purpose cannot b e saved b y r e l y i n g o n its effects. In case the c o n c l u s i o n o f this test is that the legislation has a v a l i d purpose the litigant c a n still argue that the effects o f the legislation restrict his f r e e d o m o f expression. A c c o r d i n g l y , there is a distinction between content-based and those that m e r e l y h a v e the effect o f l i m i t i n g e x p r e s s i o n .  restraints  41  A g o v e r n m e n t a l p u r p o s e to l i m i t f r e e d o m o f expression exists where the g o v e r n m e n t intends to restrict the actual type o f speech, i.e. the content o f expression, b y s i n g l i n g out particular m e a n i n g s that are not to b e c o n v e y e d . T h i s is, f o r instance, the case w i t h the c r i m i n a l offence o f defamatory l i b e l , restrictions o n advertising o r the p r o h i b i t i o n o f p o r n o g r a p h y ; l i k e w i s e , i f the g o v e r n m e n t ' s p u r p o s e is to restrict a f o r m o f expression i n order to c o n t r o l access b y others to the m e a n i n g b e i n g c o n v e y e d , o r to c o n t r o l the ability o f the o n e c o n v e y i n g the m e a n i n g to do so. A n e x a m p l e o f a case o f restricting a ' f o r m ' o f expression w o u l d b e a l a w that prohibits h a n d i n g out pamphlets. S u c h a l a w is indifferent to the particular content o f the pamphlets but bans whatever content they h a v e a n d thus, restricts expression.  Hogg  42  refers to those  restrictions,  w h i c h he labels ' p r i o r restraint' o n p u b l i c a t i o n , as the most severe restrictions since 'expression that is never  p u b l i s h e d cannot  contribute  i n a n y w a y to the d e m o c r a t i c  process,  marketplace o f ideas o r to personal f u l f i l m e n t ' .  41 42  [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, at pp.972-976. Peter W. Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada, (4 ed., Carswell, Toronto, 1996), at p.788. th  74  to the  W h e r e the g o v e r n m e n t aims o n l y to control the p h y s i c a l consequences  o f particular h u m a n  activity, regardless o f the m e a n i n g b e i n g c o n v e y e d , its purpose is not to c o n t r o l expression. A rule against littering for e x a m p l e , as o p p o s e d to one that prohibits the h a n d i n g out o f pamphlets (i.e. a certain f o r m o f expression), o n l y aims to control the p h y s i c a l consequences o f certain conduct.  43  T h e r e f o r e the question arises as to what the m i s c h i e f o f the i m p u g n e d action is. If it  consists o n l y i n the direct p h y s i c a l result o f h u m a n conduct, the government's purpose is not to restrict f r e e d o m o f expression. O n the other h a n d , where thoughts, o p i n i o n s , beliefs, particular m e a n i n g s o r the i n f l u e n c e that a m e a n i n g has o n the b e h a v i o u r o f others are the target o f the regulation, the government's p u r p o s e is to restrict expression.  L i m i t a t i o n s that a i m at s o m e other aspect o f the activity, i.e. those w h e r e the  government's  purpose was not to control or restrict attempts to c o n v e y a m e a n i n g m a y nevertheless  have  impact o n expression. C o u r t s still have to decide whether the effect o f the government action was to restrict the p l a i n t i f f s free expression. H e r e the p l a i n t i f f must be able to show that the activity i n question advances at least one o f the p r i n c i p l e s a n d values u n d e r l y i n g freedom o f expression, w h i c h h a v e b e e n identified before as participation i n social a n d p o l i t i c a l d e c i s i o n m a k i n g , s e e k i n g a n d attaining the truth, a n d p r o m o t i n g i n d i v i d u a l s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t . T h e p l a i n t i f f has to i d e n t i f y the m e a n i n g he intended to c o n v e y a n d demonstrate h o w it relates to the pursuit o f one o f these values.  III. Justification o f the L i m i t under s !  o f the Charter  Section  the conditions under w h i c h a v i o l a t i o n o f freedom  1 o f the Charter prescribes  of  expression c a n b e j u s t i f i e d . N e c e s s a r y is a 'reasonable l i m i t ' ' p r e s c r i b e d b y l a w ' that can be  Unfortunately, rules can be formulated to appear content-neutral while they actually aim to control attempts to convey meaning. 75  43  ' d e m o n s t r a b l y j u s t i f i e d i n a free a n d democratic s o c i e t y ' . T h i s is the c r u c i a l stage i n f r e e d o m o f expression cases. S i n c e almost e v e r y t h i n g qualifies as expression a n d since the establishment that expression has b e e n l i m i t e d b y the state is rather a f o r m a l matter, the real issue is to determine whether the particular l i m i t c a n be j u s t i f i e d under s e c . l . H e r e the c o l l e c t i v e interests,  as w e l l as the c o m p e t i n g interests  a n d rights o f other  i n d i v i d u a l s , have to b e b a l a n c e d against those o f the claimant, a n d a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n o f these c o m p e t i n g interests needs to b e f o u n d .  In the case o f  R. v. Oakes , 44  the S u p r e m e C o u r t l a i d d o w n the criteria that m u s t be satisfied to  s h o w that a l i m i t is j u s t i f i e d . It also expressed the i d e a that s e c . l o f the Charter has a dual purpose. N o t o n l y does it serve as constitutional guarantee for the rights a n d freedoms set out i n the p r o v i s i o n s o f the Charter but it also states e x p l i c i t l y the e x c l u s i v e justificatory criteria. T h e r e f o r e the standard s h o u l d be h i g h for the government to p r o v e that a l i m i t a t i o n is j u s t i f i e d . A c c o r d i n g to the outline o f the general p r i n c i p l e s a p p l i c a b l e to a s e c . l i n q u i r y g i v e n i n  Oakes,  a  law that q u a l i f i e s as a reasonable l i m i t first o f all must pursue a n objective that is sufficiently important to j u s t i f y a l i m i t a t i o n o f a Charter right. W i t h i n the f o l l o w i n g p r o p o r t i o n a l i t y stage, the l a w must b e rationally connected to this objective, it must i m p a i r the right n o m o r e than is necessary to a c c o m p l i s h the objective and it must have a p r o p o r t i o n a l effect o n the person to w h o m it a p p l i e s .  45  [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103, atpp.135-142. See Peter W. Hogg, "Section 1 Revisited", National Journal of Constitutional Law 1, 1991/92 1, at pp. 3-4. In Oakes the Court suggested that the standard for justification is high. However, in subsequent cases, such as Irwin Toy the Court retreated from this position. In RJR-MacDonald v. Canada ([1995] 3 S.C.R. 199), for instance, LaForest suggested not to apply s.l strictly in cases where the form of expression is placed far from the 'core' of values underlying freedom of expression. It should only be demonstrated that Parliament had a rational bases for introducing the measure. However, he was dissenting in this case and the majority of the Court decided for a stricter standard. I will refer to this aspect later on p.81. Libman v. Quebec ([1997] 3 S.C.R. 569) is another example that shows how the Court seemed to allow legislature some leeway (see p.84).  4 4  4 5  76  T h e onus to d e f e n d a l a w as a reasonable limit rests u p o n the g o v e r n m e n t . A s the party w h o seeks to u p h o l d the l i m i t a t i o n , it has to p r o v e o n a balance  o f p r o b a b i l i t y that a limit is  reasonably a n d d e m o n s t r a b l y j u s t i f i e d i n a free a n d democratic society. It bears the b u r d e n o f p r o v i n g that the i m p u g n e d legislation is d e s i g n e d to address a p r e s s i n g a n d substantial concern, and that the particular means e m p l o y e d b y it are proportionate to this g o a l .  4 6  A l t h o u g h a l l f o r m s o f expression q u a l i f y equally for constitutional protection, it w i l l be easier to j u s t i f y limits o n s o m e f o r m s o f expression than o n others. W i l s o n J . said i n Edmonton Journal v. Alberta  47  that not a l l expression is e q u a l l y w o r t h y o f protection a n d that not a l l infringements o f  free expression are e q u a l l y serious. W h e n a f o r m o f expression lies near the ' c o r e ' m e a n i n g o f freedom  o f expression, for instance p o l i t i c a l s p e e c h , there w i l l b e a strict a p p l i c a t i o n o f sec. 1 48  whereas a l i m i t a t i o n b y a legislature is m o r e l i k e l y to s u r v i v e w h e n the expression at issue is peripheral to the core m e a n i n g . T h e m o t i v e s primarily  economic.  f o r c o m m e r c i a l expression,  A l i m i t a t i o n i n this respect does  for example, are  not so m u c h result  i n loss  o f the  opportunity to participate i n the p o l i t i c a l process or the marketplace o f ideas, o r the realization o f one's s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t .  49  Irwin Toy, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, atpara.69 (p.986). [1989] 2 S.C.R. 1326. See Libman v. Quebec, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 569, where the Court said in para.60 that political expression is at the very heart of freedom of expression and therefore should normally benefit from a high degree of constitutional protection, that is, that the courts should generally apply a high standard of justification to legislation that infringes the freedom of political expression. In Rocket v. Royal College ([1990] 2 S.C.R. 232, at p.247) the Court suggested that restrictions on expression of this kind might be easier to justify. A sensitive, case-orientated approach has been permitted if commercial expression in concerned. In RJR-MacDonald v. Canada ([1995] 3 S.C.R. 199, at para.75 and 77) La Forest said that commercial expression with regard to tobacco advertisement is entitled only to a very low degree of protection because this form of expression lies far from the 'core' of freedom of expression values. Its purpose is only to inform consumers about, and promote the use of, a product that is harmful to the consumers with the main motive of making profit. Therefore he found an attenuated level of sec. 1 justification appropriate in view of provisions limiting this form of expression. (La Forest was part of the minority in this judgement.) 46  47 48  49  77  1. ' P r e s c r i b e d b y L a w ' T h e l i m i t a t i o n i n question has to b e traced b a c k to a l a w as o p p o s e d to a n arbitrary restriction. T h i s also applies to actions b y p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s under the authority o f a l a w w h i c h grants a general  discretion.  regulation.  T h e exercise  o f discretionary  power  has to b e based  on a  statutory  50  O n e basic requirement f o r a l a w to constitute a l i m i t prescribed b y l a w is that it has to b e drafted w i t h p r e c i s i o n a n d certainty a n d a v o i d vagueness o r overbreadth. T o s u r v i v e a challenge, a l a w that i m p o s e s a l i m i t o n Charter rights s h o u l d b e 'expressed i n terms s u f f i c i e n t l y clear to permit a determination o f where a n d what the l i m i t i s ' .  51  A l a w that is u n d u l y vague, a m b i g u o u s ,  uncertain o r subject to too m u c h discretionary determination is therefore an unreasonable limit. T h i s is because the citizens have to b e able to k n o w their rights a n d the scope o f these rights. T h e y have to b e i n f o r m e d o f what c o n d u c t is permitted a n d p r o h i b i t e d so they c a n regulate their activities a c c o r d i n g l y . O t h e r w i s e they m i g h t b e deterred from c o n d u c t w h i c h i n fact is l a w f u l and not p r o h i b i t e d just because o f the uncertainty c o n c e r n i n g the extent to w h i c h the exercise o f a guaranteed f r e e d o m m a y b e restrained.  S u c h deterrence is particularly h a r m f u l where  freedom  o f expression is c o n c e r n e d , a freedom  w h i c h has b e e n said to underlie the existence o f v i r t u a l l y a l l other rights a n d l i b e r t i e s .  52  It has to  be kept i n m i n d that statutes restricting s.2(b) are enacted b y a g o v e r n m e n t w h o s e l e g i t i m a c y depends  o n the citizens'  consent,  w h i c h has a s e l f - s e r v i n g t e n d e n c y  a n d an interest i n  suppressing dissenting v i e w s . B r o a d l y formulated statutes w h i c h leave the citizens i n the dark  In Slaight Communications v. Davidson, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1038 an arbitrator appointed by the Minister under the Canada Labour Code imposed a limit on the appellants right of freedom of expression. The Court moved on to sec.l in that case. Likewise, in Douglas/Kwantlen Association v. Douglas College, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 570, where a college was regarded as government agent. Re Luscher and Deputy Minister, Revenue Canada, Customs & Exercise (1985), 17 D.L.R. (4*) 505, at p.506. 5 0  51  78  about their r e a c h are i n the government's interest. In v i e w o f the elementary i m p o r t a n c e o f free expression, this has to be a v o i d e d . A s a result, a statute w h i c h describes i n u n d u l y v a g u e terms what it regulates a n d that does not g i v e clear i n f o r m a t i o n about what the l i m i t is (for instance i f it confers o p e n - e n d e d discretion to limit protected rights), does not meet the requirement o f b e i n g p r e s c r i b e d b y l a w .  5 3  H o w e v e r , the ' v a g u e n e s s - a r g u m e n t ' needs to be seen against the b a c k g r o u n d that there rarely is absolute p r e c i s i o n i n the law. S i n c e laws define standards o f general a p p l i c a t i o n they inherently posses  an element o f uncertainty. T h e y  a l w a y s have  a discretionary element because  the  standard o f interpretation c a n never s p e c i f y a l l the instances i n w h i c h they a p p l y . A s l o n g as the legislature does not g i v e a p l e n a r y discretion to the courts to do whatever seems best i n a w i d e set o f circumstances, but p r o v i d e s an intelligible standard a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h the j u d i c i a r y must decide, the ' v a g u e n e s s - a r g u m e n t ' f a i l s .  54  2. P r e s s i n g a n d Substantial P u r p o s e T h e next step is to have a l o o k at the objective w h i c h the l i m i t a t i o n is d e s i g n e d to serve. T h i s objective must be ' o f sufficient importance to warrant o v e r r i d i n g a constitutionally protected right or f r e e d o m ' a n d it must 'relate to concerns w h i c h are p r e s s i n g a n d s u b s t a n t i a l ' .  55  Most of  the time courts are reluctant to reject the objectives p u r s u e d b y the g o v e r n m e n t at this stage o f the scrutiny.  Cardozo J in Palco v. Connecticut, (1937) 302 U.S. 319. For example the Court found that the phrase 'likely to cause injury or mischief to a public interest' in a section of the Criminal Code was undefined and capable of almost infinite extension. The complain in this case (R. v. Zundel, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 731) concerned not only the breadth of the section's contextual reach but also that it was particularly invasive by choosing prosecution for an indictable offence as sanction. For fear of prosecution individuals might be restrained from saying what they would like to. Therefore the section in question was overbroad. See Irwin Toy, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, atpara.63 (p.983). R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103, atpara.69. 53  54 55  79  It is d i f f i c u l t to define the purpose o f a l a w . D i f f e r e n t purposes c a n b e f o u n d at different levels o f generality. F o r e x a m p l e , there is the purpose o f a statute as a w h o l e a n d the purpose o f a particular section o f a statute. T h e higher the l e v e l o f generality at w h i c h a legislative objective is expressed, the m o r e o b v i o u s l y desirable the objective w i l l a p p e a r .  56  But depending o n how  b r o a d l y a p u r p o s e is d e f i n e d , the next stages o f the sec. 1 analysis w i l l b e i n f l u e n c e d . A h i g h l e v e l o f generality w i l l , for instance, b e p r o b l e m a t i c a l for the g o v e r n m e n t w i t h regard to the 'least drastic m e a n s ' requirement: there w i l l b e a greater p o s s i b i l i t y o f f i n d i n g a less drastic means that interferes less w i t h the Charter right since a w i d e objective c a n b e a c c o m p l i s h e d i n many ways.  Initially, a h i g h standard o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n w i t h regard to the p r e s s i n g a n d substantial purpose h a d been r e q u i r e d b y the C o u r t to a v o i d the p o s s i b i l i t y that the rights and f r e e d o m s enshrined in the Charter w o u l d b e stripped o f most o f their v a l u e . made  f o r not a p p l y i n g  such  a high  standard.  57  In Irwin Toy, h o w e v e r , excuses have been  T h e C o u r t retreated  from  the evidentiary  requirements set out i n Oakes a n d d e c i d e d that the legislature h a d to ' d r a w u p o n the best e v i d e n c e currently a v a i l a b l e ' .  T o j u s t i f y their v i e w that j u d g e s d i d not h a v e to intervene i n  cases l i k e the one at bar the C o u r t referred, for instance, to Ford v. Quebec , 59  where government  was a f f o r d e d a ' m a r g i n o f a p p r e c i a t i o n ' to f o r m legitimate objectives b a s e d o n somewhat i n c o n c l u s i v e s o c i a l science evidence. T h e y also cited R. v. Edwards Books and Art Ltd.  60  where  it was h e l d that courts are not c a l l e d u p o n to substitute j u d i c i a l o p i n i o n s for legislative ones as to the place  at w h i c h a precise  line h a s to b e d r a w n , where  o n e set o f c o m p e t i n g  claims  Hogg, "Section 1 Revisited", supra n.45, atp.5. R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103, atp.138. For example, legislative debates and statements of the Minister responsible for the legislature, commenting on the reasons for proceeding the way he did, have been accepted as evidence. There even have been competing credible scientific reports, which came to different conclusions. [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712, atp.777-79. [1986] 2 S.C.R.713, at p.781-82. 56 57  58  5 9 6 0  80  legitimately  begins  a n d another  o n e ends.  Therefore,  courts  have  to accept  reasonable  estimations o f the legislature as to where this line is most p r o p e r l y d r a w n .  S i m i l a r l y , i n his dissent i n  RJR-MacDonald  v.  Canada L a  Forest argued that a greater degree o f  deference s h o u l d b e a c c o r d e d legislatures w h e n courts are d e a l i n g w i t h legislation that requires m e d i a t i n g between c o m p e t i n g issues and protecting v u l n e r a b l e groups, a n d w h e n c o n f l i c t i n g scientific e v i d e n c e must b e considered. D e c i s i o n s i n s u c h cases are p r o p e r l y assigned to the elected representatives o f the p e o p l e o f C a n a d a , w h o have the necessary resources to m a k e them and w h o are responsible a n d accountable to the electorate.  61  T h u s , a l o w e r standard actually c a n a p p l y w i t h regard to the determination whether there is a pressing a n d substantial purpose.  3. P r o p o r t i o n a l i t y Stage If an objective o f sufficient s i g n i f i c a n c e is r e c o g n i z e d , it still needs to b e s h o w n that the means c h o s e n are d e m o n s t r a b l y j u s t i f i e d i n a free a n d democratic society. T h e p u r p o s e for w h i c h the Charter o r i g i n a l l y was i n c l u d e d i n the C o n s t i t u t i o n is that C a n a d i a n society is to b e free a n d democratic. T h e r e f o r e courts have to keep i n m i n d the values a n d p r i n c i p l e s w h i c h are essential to a free a n d d e m o c r a t i c s o c i e t y .  62  A g a i n s t this b a c k g r o u n d it is necessary that the means c h o s e n  to achieve legislature's objective are appropriate.  A t this stage courts are r e q u i r e d to consider the effect o f a particular g o v e r n m e n t a l action o n rights a n d to b a l a n c e that against the purpose u n d e r l y i n g the action. T h e y have to determine  [1995] 3 S.C.R. 199, at para.68; La Forest belonged to the minority here and McLachlin J. did not share such a generous view. She suggested a stricter standard. However, R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R.103, at para.64; Dickson J. named as such values respect for the inherent dignity o f the human person, commitment to social justice and equality, accommodation of a wide variety of beliefs, respect 61  62  81  whether  the  act  goes  too  far  i n the  impairment  of  rights,  which  involves  a  form  of  p r o p o r t i o n a l i t y test. T h r e e c o m p o n e n t s constitute this test.  a) R a t i o n a l C o n n e c t i o n T h e first c o m p o n e n t is that the measures adopted b y legislature to limit a Charter right must be rationally c o n n e c t e d to the objective o f the l i m i t a t i o n . T h e y must be ' c a r e f u l l y designed to achieve the objective i n q u e s t i o n ' a n d must not be 'arbitrary, unfair or based o n irrational considerations'.  63  The  infringement and  the  sought  benefit  must  be  connected,  g o v e r n m e n t must s h o w that the restriction o n the right serves the intended p u r p o s e .  64  i.e.  the  It rarely  happens that courts d e c i d e that a law is not rationally connected to its objective.  The  Oakes  case itself, h o w e v e r , was d e c i d e d o n the basis that the i m p u g n e d law l a c k e d  rationality. A t issue was a p r o v i s i o n o f the federal  Narcotic Control Act,  w h i c h p r o v i d e d that i f a  court finds the a c c u s e d i n possession o f a narcotic, he is p r e s u m e d to b e i n p o s s e s s i o n for the purpose o f t r a f f i c k i n g . T h e rational c o n n e c t i o n between the basic fact o f p o s s e s s i n g a narcotic and the p r e s u m e d fact o f possessing for the purpose o f t r a f f i c k i n g w a s h e l d to be m i s s i n g . T h e C o u r t f o u n d it irrational to infer that a p e r s o n h a d intent to traffic o n the basis o f his possession (especially o f a v e r y s m a l l quantity) o f n a r c o t i c s .  65  b) M i n i m u m Impairment A f t e r the rationality o f the p r o v i s i o n has b e e n c o n s i d e r e d it is necessary that the adopted means s h o u l d i m p a i r the right or freedom i n question as little as p o s s i b l e . T h e l a w s h o u l d pursue the  for cultural and group identity and faith in social and political institutions, which enhance the participation of individuals and groups in society. R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103, atpara.70. RJR-MacDonald v. Canada, [1995] 3 S.C.R. 199, a para.153. R. v. Oakes, supra n.62, at para.77, 78.  63 64 65  82  desired objective b y the least drastic means without affecting the right m o r e than is necessary to a c c o m p l i s h the objective.  T h e question b e c o m e s  whether  other m e a n s  are available to the  legislative b o d y w h i c h w o u l d still a c c o m p l i s h the objective but w h i c h w o u l d i m p a i r the Charter right less. U s u a l l y the m i n i m a l i m p a i r m e n t test is the centre o f the i n q u i r y into s. 1 justification.  In  Ford v. Quebec , 66  f o r instance,  the requirement that p u b l i c signs b e o n l y i n the F r e n c h  language has b e e n regarded as too drastic a means o f protecting the F r e n c h language. T o ensure that the " v i s a g e  l i n g u i s t i q u e " reflected  the d e m o g r a p h y  o f Q u e b e c , i.e. that F r e n c h is the  p r e d o m i n a n t language, other less intrusive possibilities c o u l d have b e e n c h o s e n . F o r example, F r e n c h c o u l d b e required i n a d d i t i o n to any other language o r it c o u l d b e required to have greater v i s i b i l i t y than that accorded to other languages. E x c l u s i v i t y f o r F r e n c h c o u l d not b e justified.  67  O t h e r cases adopted a m o r e relaxed m i n i m u m i m p a i r m e n t test. In  Edwards Books and Art Ltd.  v.  into whether  .ft. , 68  f o r instance,  D i c k s o n J . reformulated the requirement  the right was  i m p a i r e d as little as reasonably p o s s i b l e , a n d suggested that the l i m i t a t i o n o n l y needs to b e the least intrusive g i v e n the objective a n d other c o m p e t i n g interests. Instead o f insisting that o n l y the least p o s s i b l e infringement c o u l d s u r v i v e , a reasonable  legislative effort to m i n i m i z e the  infringement w a s sufficient. L i k e w i s e , L a Forest w h o stressed that the m i n i m a l impairment requirement does not i m p o s e an o b l i g a t i o n o n the government to e m p l o y the least intrusive measure available, but rather the least intrusive i n the light b o t h o f the legislative objective and the i n f r i n g e d r i g h t ;  69  m o r e o v e r , the less restrictive measure has to b e e q u a l l y effective.  [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712. Ibid, at para.72 (p.780). [1986] 2 S.C.R. 713. RJR-MacDonald v. Canada, [1995] 3 S.C.R. 199, at para.96 (La Forest was part of the minority in that case). 83  F u r t h e r m o r e , i n Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Quebec o f m i n i m a l i m p a i r m e n t , take a restrictive legislatures to c h o o s e the least  D i c k s o n J. said that the ' C o u r t w i l l not, i n the name a p p r o a c h to s o c i a l science  ambitious means to protect  e v i d e n c e a n d require  vulnerable groups'. Finally, i n  71 Libman v. Quebec  the C o u r t e x p l a i n e d once m o r e that great deference has to b e accorded to  the legislature's c h o i c e where legislature must r e c o n c i l e c o m p e t i n g interests i n c h o o s i n g o n e p o l i c y a m o n g several that m i g h t be acceptable, because it is i n the best p o s i t i o n to m a k e such a choice.  T h e r e are d i f f e r i n g v i e w s w i t h regard to the question o f h o w strict the m i n i m a l i m p a i r m e n t test s h o u l d be a p p l i e d . O n the one h a n d it has b e e n s a i d that the degree o f constitutional protection m a y v a r y d e p e n d i n g o n the nature o f the expression at issue a n d that e v e n i f a basic f o r m o f expression is restricted, the legislature must b e a c c o r d e d a certain deference to enable it to mediate b e t w e e n c o m p e t i n g v a l u e s . Inc. v. Canada  13  72  A c c o r d i n g l y , L a Forest J . contrasts i n  RJR-MacDonald  the importance o f P a r l i a m e n t ' s objective w i t h the l o w v a l u e o f the expression  at issue, n a m e l y c o m m e r c i a l expression, and argues the importance o f the objective justifies m o r e deference to the g o v e r n m e n t at the stage o f evaluating m i n i m a l i m p a i r m e n t . O n the other h a n d , M c L a c h l i n J. emphasises that even o n d i f f i c u l t s o c i a l issues, Parliament does not have the right to determine unilaterally the limits o f its intrusion o n the rights and freedoms guaranteed  b y the Charter.  Furthermore,  S h e points out that the C o n s t i t u t i o n determines  care h a s to b e taken not to o v e r v a l u e the legislature's objective  those  limits.  a n d not to  undervalue the e x p r e s s i o n at issue. A l t h o u g h c o m m e r c i a l speech arguably is less important than  [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, atpara.88 (p.999). [1997] 3 S.C.R. 569, atpara.59. Libman v. Quebec, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 569, at para.60 and 61; At issue in this case were provisions that restricted spending on referendum campaigns with the primary purpose to promote political expression by ensuring an equal dissemination of points of views. Legislature had to balance the values of freedom of expression and referendum fairness. The Court decided that the particular provisions failed the minimum impairment test. [1995] 3 S.C.R. 199. 7 0 71 72  73  84  some other f o r m s o f speech it s h o u l d not be lightly d i s m i s s e d .  c) Proportionate E f f e c t F i n a l l y there must be proportionality between the effects o f the measure i n question, and its objective. T h i s test o n l y applies w h e n a l l the other aspects o f p r o p o r t i o n a l i t y have b e e n satisfied, i.e. after the m e a n s h a v e b e e n j u d g e d to be rationally connected to the objective and to be the least intrusive available. T h e m o r e severe the deleterious effects o f a measure are the more important must b e the objective. S o e v e n i f all elements o f the s e c . l analysis are satisfied it is still p o s s i b l e that a l i m i t w i l l not be j u s t i f i e d b y the purposes it intends to serve because its deleterious effects are too severe.  In  Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp.  the C o u r t rephrased the third step o f the above-  d e s c r i b e d " O a k e s - t e s t " . Instead o f o n l y r e q u i r i n g proportionality b e t w e e n the objective o f the i m p u g n e d g o v e r n m e n t a l measure a n d its deleterious effects, the C o u r t r e c o g n i z e d the necessity to measure effects.  76  the  actual  salutary  T h e question b e c o m e s  effects  o f the  i m p u g n e d legislation against  its  that o f h o w e f f e c t i v e l y the a p p l i e d measure  deleterious achieves  its  purpose. O f t e n the adopted means w i l l result i n the (nearly) f u l l r e a l i z a t i o n o f the legislative objective. T h e r e the balance b e t w e e n the objective i n question a n d the deleterious effect has to be e x a m i n e d . B u t i f the measure w i l l result i n o n l y the partial a c h i e v e m e n t o f its objective it is necessary to ask whether b o t h the u n d e r l y i n g objective and the salutary effects are proportional  For the majority in RJR-MacDonald, at para. 168, 169. The majority decided in this case that the challenged provisions are of no force and effect under sec. 52 of the Charter because they could not satisfy the requirement of minimum impairment. Instead of fully prohibiting any advertising of tobacco products government could have chosen for instance a partial ban which would allow information and brand preferences advertising, or a ban on lifestyle advertising only. These alternatives would have been a reasonable impairment given the objective and legislative context. And with regard to the requirement of placing health warnings on tobacco packaging government failed to show that the warning had to be unattributed to achieve the objective of reducing tobacco consumption. 75 76  [1994] 3 S.C.R. 835. Ibid, at para.93. 85  to the deleterious effects the measure has o n fundamental rights and freedoms.  C h i e f Justice D i c k s o n , w h o authored the majority j u d g e m e n t i n Oakes,  later o n expressed  c o n c e r n about the j u d i c i a r y potentially intruding into the legislative sphere, a n d argued for a less strict a p p l i c a t i o n o f the criteria set out i n Oakes i n certain cases. S i m i l a r l y L a Forest J., e m p h a s i s e d i n RJR-MacDonald  v. Canada  19  that the C o u r t o n l y established guidelines i n Oakes  to p r o v i d e a f r a m e w o r k for the determination o f whether an infringement c a n be j u s t i f i e d . H e further said that the balance w h i c h the courts have to strike between i n d i v i d u a l rights a n d c o m m u n i t y needs c o u l d not be a c h i e v e d i n the abstract. T h e r e f o r e courts s h o u l d not stick strictly to a formalistic test but rather s h o u l d take into account the nature o f the i n f r i n g e d right and the specific values and p r i n c i p l e s u p o n w h i c h the state seeks to j u s t i f y the infringement. T h i s means that the requirements described i n Oakes must b e a p p l i e d f l e x i b l y , w i t h regard to the specific factual and s o c i a l context o f each case. L a Forest supported this v i e w b y referring to the w o r d 'reasonable' i n s e c . l , w h i c h , he argued, i m p l i e s f l e x i b i l i t y .  In this respect, the question arises whether s u c h e r o d i n g o f the initial test is r e c o n c i l a b l e w i t h the rationales u n d e r l y i n g f r e e d o m o f expression as described i n C h a p t e r 1. T h e s e rationales made a strong p l e a f o r a n extensive protection o f f r e e d o m o f expression. I f the courts continue to u n d e r m i n e the strictness o f the test w h i c h justifies limitations o n s.2(b), they surely undercut the purposes u n d e r l y i n g this right.  See Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp., [1994] 3 S.C.R. 835, at pp.887-8. At issue in the case was an injunction prohibiting the CBC from broadcasting a series entitled "The Boys of St. Vincent', a fictional account of sexual and physical abuse of children in a Catholic institution. The appellants, members of a Catholic religious order, were charged with abuse of children in their care at training schools and therefore applied for the injunction. The Court concluded that a publication ban has a serious deleterious effect onfreedomof expression and has few salutary effects on the fairness of trial. Therefore they did not authorize the ban. R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103. 77  78  86  In m o s t o f the cases courts d o not spend v e r y m u c h time w i t h this c o n c l u d i n g stage o f the s e c . l analysis. In Irwin Toy? the C o u r t s i m p l y h e l d that 'there is n o suggestion that the effects o f the 0  b a n are so severe as to o u t w e i g h the g o v e r n m e n t ' s p r e s s i n g and substantial o b j e c t i v e ' . It offered as s u p p o r t i n g reason the fact that advertisers were free to direct their messages at parents a n d other adults, o r to participate i n educational advertising; they were just not a l l o w e d to a i m advertisements at c h i l d r e n .  81 In Rocket v. Royal College of Dental Surgeons  , h o w e v e r , the p r o v i s i o n restricting dentists'  advertising d i d not pass this proportionality test. Its effect w a s c l e a r l y to p r o h i b i t expression, and  it , d i d not further  its objectives  o f promoting  professionalism,  a n d o f preventing  irresponsible a n d m i s l e a d i n g advertising. T h e e x c l u s i o n o f m u c h o f the p r o h i b i t e d speech was not necessary. F o r e x a m p l e , i n f o r m a t i o n about dentists' o f f i c e h o u r s , the languages they speak o r other objective facts relating to their practise is v e r y u s e f u l a n d the p u b l i c has a n interest i n o b t a i n i n g this k i n d o f i n f o r m a t i o n . S u c h u s e f u l i n f o r m a t i o n w a s restricted without justification. T h e r e f o r e the p r o v i s i o n ' s effects were h e l d to be disproportionate to its objective.  Hogg  has expressed  doubts  about  the use a n d s i g n i f i c a n c e o f this  last  step w i t h i n the  proportionality stage. I f a l a w is s u f f i c i e n t l y important to j u s t i f y o v e r r i d i n g a Charter right (first step), i f this l a w is rationally connected to the objective (second step), a n d i f it also impairs the right at issue n o m o r e than is necessary to a c c o m p l i s h the objective (third step), the question is h o w the l a w ' s effects c o u l d then b e j u d g e d to b e too severe (fourth step). H e c o n c l u d e d that an affirmative answer o f the first three steps has to result i n the a f f i r m a t i o n o f the fourth step and that therefore this last step has n o w o r k to d o a n d c a n b e i g n o r e d .  79  [1995] 3 S.C.R. 199, at para.62 (dissenting opinion).  80  [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, atpara.89.  87  82  H o w e v e r , i n m y o p i n i o n , there c o u l d also be a different interpretation o f the proportionality test outlined  in  Oakes.  T h e questions whether  the l i m i t a t i o n pursues  a s u f f i c i e n t l y important  objective, whether it is rationally connected to this objective, a n d whether it is the least drastic means have to be answered o n a n abstract l e v e l , i.e. the c h a l l e n g e d l a w has to meet these requirements i n general. T h e last issue, whether the l a w has disproportionate effects, then refers to the particular situation that leads to the challenge. A c c o r d i n g l y , it c o u l d h a p p e n that a law, w h i c h is g e n e r a l l y v a l u a b l e , cannot be a p p l i e d to o n e particular p e r s o n because  it has a  disproportionately severe effect o n this v e r y person. T h e p r o p o r t i o n a l i t y analysis i n G e r m a n y , for instance, proceeds this w a y , first s c r u t i n i z i n g the constitutionality o f the l i m i t a t i o n i n general, then testing whether the a p p l i c a t i o n o f the l i m i t i n g statute is j u s t i f i e d i n the s p e c i f i c case at b a r .  83  I V . 'Indirect' A p p l i c a t i o n o f the Charter A different question is, what k i n d a n d h o w m u c h o f a n impact the Charter is to have i f it does not directly a p p l y , f o r e x a m p l e i n the context o f c i v i l litigation i n v o l v i n g private parties o n l y that r e l y o n a c o m m o n l a w rule. In  Dolphin Delivery*  4  the C o u r t h e l d that i n such a case the  c o m m o n l a w has to b e d e v e l o p e d i n accordance w i t h Charter values, i.e. that the Charter applied 'indirectly' i n so far as the c o m m o n l a w c a n be f o u n d to b e inconsistent w i t h Charter H o w e v e r , the C o u r t d i d not elaborate  values.  o n the differences b e t w e e n the direct a n d 'indirect'  application o f the Charter a n d h o w exactly the c o m m o n l a w is to be d e v e l o p e d i n a manner consistent w i t h Charter p r i n c i p l e s .  Hill v. Church of Scientology*  5  S u p r e m e C o u r t deals w i t h 'indirect' Charter application.  81 82 83 84 85  [1990] 2 S.C.R. 232. Hogg, "Section 1 Revisited", supra n.47, at p.24. See Chapter 4 on pp. 103-105. R.W.D.S.U. v. Dolphin Delivery (1986), 33 D.L.R. (4 ) 174. (1995), 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 129. th  th  88  gave us a sense o f h o w the  L o g i c a l l y , the test to be a p p l i e d i f the court is d e a l i n g o n l y w i t h Charter values s h o u l d be less strict than under a direct application o f the Charter. O t h e r w i s e , the distinction between rights and values  does not m a k e  rigorous standard o f  Oakes. It  sense. A c c o r d i n g l y , the C o u r t i n  Hill  departed  Charter  from  the  d e c i d e d not to utilize the traditional s . l analysis but to a p p l y a  m o r e f l e x i b l e standard: the p r i n c i p l e s o f the c o m m o n law (in that case the law o f defamation) s h o u l d be w e i g h e d against the values u n d e r l y i n g the Charter, w h i c h w i l l p r o v i d e guidelines for the m o d i f i c a t i o n o f the c o m m o n law rule - i f s u c h a m o d i f i c a t i o n proves n e c e s s a r y . a test c o m p a r a b l e detected i n  Hill.  to that set out i n  Oakes,  86  However,  p r o v i d i n g s o m e degree o f certainty, cannot be  T h e S u p r e m e C o u r t o n l y stated that courts s h o u l d be cautious w h e n a m e n d i n g  the c o m m o n l a w and s h o u l d not go further than necessary, l e a v i n g far-reaching changes to the legislatures.  A m a j o r difference b e t w e e n the direct and 'indirect' application o f the Charter established i n  Hill  is the onus shift: a c c o r d i n g to the S u p r e m e C o u r t , the party c h a l l e n g i n g the c o m m o n law bears the onus o f p r o v i n g b o t h that the c o m m o n law fails to c o m p l y w i t h Charter values and that, w h e n these v a l u e s are b a l a n c e d , the c o m m o n law s h o u l d be m o d i f i e d . T h e reason  for this  d e c i s i o n was that a private party s h o u l d be able to rely u p o n the c o m m o n law, w h i c h m a y have a l o n g history o f acceptance i n the c o m m u n i t y , and s h o u l d not be p l a c e d i n the p o s i t i o n o f h a v i n g to d e f e n d it.  In m y o p i n i o n it is neither reasonable to a p p l y a different test o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n i f the c o m m o n law is c o n c e r n e d ,  i n contrast to statutory law, n o r c a n I actually detect any test at all i n  H o w e v e r , this issue w i l l be discussed further i n chapter six.  Ibid, at p. 157. 89  Hill.  CHAPTER  4:  T h e t w o C o m p e t i n g V a l u e s i n the G e r m a n J u r i s d i c t i o n  T h i s chapter describes s o m e c r u c i a l aspects o f h o w the G e r m a n legal system deals w i t h the c o l l i s i o n o f the right to f r e e d o m o f expression and the protection o f an i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation. I w i l l shows the concept o f constitutional scrutiny a n d d e f a m a t i o n i n G e r m a n y as  representative  o f a c i v i l law j u r i s d i c t i o n i n the h o p e that the ideas u n d e r l y i n g this different approach might p r o v i d e s o m e inspiration. T h e d i s c u s s i o n o f this country's a p p r o a c h is not so m u c h intended as a comparative a p p r o a c h , but rather to point out that f r e e d o m o f expression receives m u c h stronger protection outside o f C a n a d a i n order to support m y c o n c l u s i o n s i n C h a p t e r 6.  T h e legal s y s t e m i n G e r m a n y is i n p r i n c i p l e based o n c o d i f i e d l a w w i t h a traditional distinction between p u b l i c a n d private l a w . T h e most important feature c o n c e r n i n g constitutional cases is the b a l a n c i n g , o r rather w e i g h i n g , o f c o m p e t i n g values b y d e c i d i n g c o n f l i c t s i n the light o f the i n d i v i d u a l i t y o f the case a n d its special circumstances. T h i s strong orientation o f judgements b y the concrete case has parallels w i t h the c o m m o n l a w system. B o t h f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n a n d the individual's reputation, are constitutionally protected in G e r m a n y . T h u s , it is not a c o n f l i c t between constitutional f r e e d o m o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n and values w h i c h are enshrined i n o r d i n a r y statutory texts (such as p r o v i s i o n s o f the C i v i l C o d e ) that needs to be r e s o l v e d but the c o l l i s i o n o f two constitutional v a l u e s .  90  1  A . T h e V a l u e s at Issue  I. F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n F r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n o f o p i n i o n is guaranteed i n article 5 o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n . case  In the  Liith  the F e d e r a l C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t h e l d that the basic right to f r e e d o m o f expression, the  most i m m e d i a t e aspect o f the h u m a n personality i n society, is o n e o f the most precious rights o f m a n . It is absolutely essential to a free a n d democratic  state, f o r it alone permits  'constant  spiritual interaction', the 'conflict o f o p i n i o n ' , w h i c h is its vital element. T h i s f r e e d o m advances and guarantees the p o s s i b i l i t y o f f o r m i n g a free i n d i v i d u a l and p u b l i c o p i n i o n w i t h a w i d e range o f disparate v i e w s a n d i n a certain sense is the basis o f f r e e d o m itself.  Article  5 protects  statements  j u d g e m e n t s ' (Werturteile)  o f opinion,  d i s t i n g u i s h i n g o p i n i o n s i n the sense  f r o m 'factual assertions' ( T a t s a c h e n b e h a u p t u n g e n ) .  4  T h e term 'value  j u d g e m e n t ' covers the expression o f thoughts, c o n v i c t i o n s , evaluations, rejections, assessments,  5  comments,  i.e. generally a l l k i n d s o f expressions where the subjective element prevails. T h e  protection o f s u c h o p i n i o n s does not d e p e n d o n their reasonableness content.  o f 'value  o r the v a l u e o f their  W h i l e v a l u e j u d g e m e n t s enjoy p r e s u m p t i v e protection, factual assertions,  statements  that c a n be p r o v e d as correct o r false, are not protected as generously. H o w e v e r , since they are  Michael Sachs, Grundgesetz Kommentar, (CH. Beck Verlag, Miinchen, 1999), Art.5 Rn.162, Berthge. Art.5 I 'Everyone shall have the right to freely express and disseminate his opinion by speech, writing, and pictures and to inform himself without hindrance through generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.' Art.5 II 'These rights shall find their limit in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of youth, and in the right to personal honour.' BVerfGE 7, 198 (Liith, 1958) [BVerfGE = Bundesverfassungsgerichtsentscheidung = decision of the Federal Constitutional Court; the Bundesverfassungsgericht is the highest German Court and a guardian of the Basic Law. Statements are not only protected in the dimension of their dissemination but also in the dimension of their effect. Freedom of expression accordingly includes the right to choose those forms and circumstances which ensure the greatest possible effect for the statement. BVerfGE 25, 256, 265 (Blinkfuer, 1969). BVerfGE 33, 1, 14 (Strafgefangene, 1972); 90, 241, 247 (Ausschwitzliige, 1994). 'Every person may assert and disseminate his opinion irrespective of whether it is valuable, valueless, true or false, well grounded or not, emotional or irrational. Sharp and exaggerated opinions are also protected. Especially in public debate, criticism, 1  2  3  4  ?  91  often c l o s e l y c o n n e c t e d to the f o r m i n g o f an o p i n i o n , factual assertions w i l l b e protected i f they are a prerequisite o r f o u n d a t i o n for the f o r m a t i o n o f o p i n i o n s . Y e t , statements about facts are 6  not c o v e r e d b y the protection o f article 5 i f they are o b v i o u s l y false at the time o f their utterance since false facts d o not contribute to the f o r m a t i o n o f real p u b l i c o p i n i o n and therefore d o not deserve any constitutional p r o t e c t i o n .  7  T h u s , intentional lies and the d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f facts that  are ' c o n s c i o u s l y false', o r 'false as has b e e n p r o v e d ' fall outside the scope o f protection. In contrast to this, the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a h e l d that e v e n deliberate protected b y s.2(b) i n the case o f  R.  v.  Zundef.  falsehoods are  H o w e v e r , C a n a d i a n constitutional law also has  one e x c e p t i o n c o n c e r n i n g the scope o f guaranteed free expression: expressive acts o f v i o l e n c e w i l l not receive constitutional p r o t e c t i o n .  9  T h e right to f r e e d o m o f the press, w h i c h is also m e n t i o n e d i n A r t . 5 I G G , is not regarded as a special basic right (no  lex specialis  i n relation to f r e e d o m o f expression). Indeed, the expression  o f o p i n i o n c o n t a i n e d i n a press report is protected b y the general right to f r e e d o m o f expression. T h e right to a free press refers to institutional prerequisites a n d general c o n d i t i o n s such as the procurement  o f i n f o r m a t i o n , its technical transformation a n d the d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f the final  news. F u r t h e r m o r e , the m e d i a are granted certain p r i v i l e g e s . F o r instance, the right o f editorial confidentiality is seen as a prerequisite o f a free press since it secures its i n d e p e n d e n c e .  10  O n the  other h a n d , heightened duties c o r r e s p o n d w i t h this constitutional right, as there is a journalistic duty o f care, w h i c h d e m a n d s their journalists to c a r e f u l l y e x a m i n e their news stories for truth,  even in exaggerated and polemical form must be accepted if one is to avoid limiting the process by which public opinion is formed.' BVerfGE 61, 1, 8 (NPD Europas, 1982). BVerfGE 54, 208, 219 (Boll/Walden, 1980); 61, 1, 8 (NPD Europas, 1982). [1992] 2 S.C.R. 731. Irwin Toy v. Quebec, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, at p.970. Martin Kriele, "Ehrschutz und Meinungsfreiheit", NJW 1994, 1897, 1902; Fritz Ossenbuhl, "Medien zwischen Macht und Recht", JZ 1995, 633, 635. 6  7  8 9  10  92  contents a n d o r i g i n . T h e demands o f this duty increase i f personality rights are c o n c e r n e d .  11  F i n a l l y , constitutional protection m i g h t not e v e n be r e m o v e d from the p u b l i c a t i o n o f illegally obtained pieces o f i n f o r m a t i o n i f the p u b l i c a t i o n serves a s o c i a l l y u s e f u l f u n c t i o n , f o r instance i f it reveals s o m e illegality.  II. T h e Individual's R e p u t a t i o n T h e reputation o f an i n d i v i d u a l is protected as part o f the right to 'personal h o n o u r ' . to personal h o n o u r c a n b e f o u n d i n A r t . 5 II G G It receives  its constitutional protection  personality r i g h t ' ,  1 3  12  T h e right  as one o f the limits o f freedom o f expression.  as the most  important  component  w h i c h is not e x p l i c i t l y m e n t i o n e d i n the basic  rights  o f the 'general o f the G e r m a n  C o n s t i t u t i o n . Indeed, this personality right is a conceptual creation o f the c i v i l administration o f justice; the G e r m a n F e d e r a l C o u r t o f Justice d e r i v e d it from A r t . l I i n c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h Art.2 I o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n In  14  where h u m a n d i g n i t y a n d personal f r e e d o m are g r a n t e d .  15  Schacht, a l a n d m a r k d e c i s i o n i n 1 9 5 4 , the G e r m a n F e d e r a l C o u r t established that a h u m a n 16  i n d i v i d u a l is not o n l y protected i n his h u m a n d i g n i t y a n d the free d e v e l o p m e n t o f his personality but also that a general right o f personality exists w h i c h must be regarded as constitutionally guaranteed a n d s h o u l d therefore be r e c o g n i z e d w i t h i n the C i v i l C o d e . T h u s , the n e w institution 'general personality right' w a s construed i n the c i v i l l a w b y r e a d i n g it into the general delict  Ossenbiihl, supra n.10, at p.636; Schmidt-Bleibtreu, Kommentar zum Grundgesetz, (9 ed., Luchterhand, Neuwied, 1999), Art.5, Rn.226 With respect to honour there is a dual understanding. On the one hand, there is the 'inner honour' as aspect of human dignity. The 'outer honour', on the other hand, refers to a claim to social recognition, to a good reputation within society. Peter Tettinger, "Das Recht der personlichen Ehre in der Weltordnung des Gesetzes", JuS 1997, 769, 770. 'GG' is the abbreviation for 'Grundgesetz', i.e. the German Constitution and Art.5 II GG stands for article 5 section two of the Constitution. Art.l I GG 'Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority'. Art.2 I GG 'Every person shall have the right to free development of his personality insofar as he does not violate the rights of others or offend against the constitutional order or the moral law'. The Supreme Court of Canada linked personal reputation to human dignity as well. In Hill v. Church of Scientology, (1995) 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 129 it is said on p.163 that 'the good reputation of the individual represents and reflects the innate dignity of the individual...' BGHZ 13, 334 (Schacht, 1954) [BGH = Bundesgerichtshof = highest court for civil matters]. 11  th  12  13  14  15  th  16  93  p r o v i s i o n o f the G e r m a n C i v i l C o d e , § 823 B G B  1 7  , under the designation o f ' o t h e r right'.  T h i s d e v e l o p m e n t is to b e seen against the b a c k g r o u n d o f the i d e a that basic rights have two different functions. O n the one h a n d they are 'subjective rights', relating to the f r e e d o m o f the i n d i v i d u a l . T h e m a i n purpose o f the B i l l o f R i g h t s i n this respect is to constrain p u b l i c p o w e r and to protect the i n d i v i d u a l against state intervention. B u t b e y o n d this, the basic rights are regarded as establishing an  'objective  order o f v a l u e s ' that centres o n the f r e e d o m o f the h u m a n  b e i n g to d e v e l o p i n society a n d w h i c h must, as a constitutional a x i o m , a p p l y throughout the entire legal s y s t e m . An  18  i n d i v i d u a l ' s d i g n i t y a n d personality l i e at the core o f this v a l u e order reflected i n the  f u n d a m e n t a l rights that are protected b y the C o n s t i t u t i o n . T h e y must be respected and protected b y all organs o f the state. T h u s , the concept o f h u m a n personality is one o f the supra-legal basic values o f the l a w a n d a basis for free a n d responsible self-determination o f the personality. T o respect the inner r e a l m o f the personality and to refrain f r o m i n v a d i n g it without authorisation is a legal c o m m a n d i s s u i n g from the B a s i c L a w itself. T h e r e f o r e , general personality rights are incorporated i n the b a s i c r i g h t s .  19  F r o m the standpoint o f the C i v i l C o d e the protection o f property interests a l w a y s stood i n the f o r e g r o u n d , whereas the p e r s o n a l w o r t h o f i n d i v i d u a l s o n l y r e c e i v e d  fragmentary  protection.  B u t i n r e c o g n i z i n g a general personality right a n d granting it the protection o f § 823 B G B the court drew f o r c i v i l l a w purposes the consequences resulting from the rank the C o n s t i t u t i o n assigned to the w o r t h o f h u m a n personality.  § 823 I 'A person who, wilfully or negligently, unlawfully injures the life, body, health, freedom, property or other right of another is bound to compensate him for any damage arising therefrom'. § 823 II 'The same obligation is placed upon a person who infringes a statute intended for the protection of others. If, according to the provision of the statute, an infringement of this is possible even without fault, the duty to make compensation arises only in the event of fault'. BVerfGE 7, 198 (Liith, 1958). BGHZ 26, 349 (Herrenreiter, 1958). 17  18  19  94  The  decision in  Schacht  was  confirmed in  a p p r o v e d b y the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t i n  Herrenreiter  Soraya  (show-jumper)  and was  finally  w i t h the result that a 'right to be let alone' has  2X  e m e r g e d i n G e r m a n c i v i l l a w . T h u s , the constitutional values o f liberty a n d d i g n i t y p r o v i d e d the foundations o n w h i c h c i v i l p r i v a c y rights c o u l d be d e v e l o p e d j u d i c i a l l y . W i t h the r e c o g n i t i o n o f a constitutional right o f p r i v a c y , the i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation as part o f this right was constitutional status.  granted  22  G u a r a n t e e d b y this personality right is a 'personal sphere  o f living',  an 'area o f free  self  d e v e l o p m e n t o f the personality', i.e. a sphere where the i n d i v i d u a l remains u n o b s e r v e d and o n his o w n .  Part o f this is the representation o f a p e r s o n i n p u b l i c ; e v e r y b o d y can decide for  h i m s e l f h o w he wants to represent h i m s e l f towards others, what s h o u l d define his c l a i m to social recognition, a n d i f a n d to what extent others are a l l o w e d to disclose parts o f his l i f e .  24  T h i s does  not m e a n that a p e r s o n has a c l a i m o n l y to be represented to the p u b l i c i n a manner w h i c h corresponds to his s e l f - i m a g e or w h i c h is pleasant for h i m . It does, h o w e v e r , protect h i m against representations  which  distort  d e v e l o p m e n t o f his p e r s o n a l i t y .  or  falsify  or  which  can  substantially  interfere  with  the  25  T h e r e are v a r i o u s possibilities o f h o w an i n d i v i d u a l w h o s e personality rights are v i o l a t e d can p r o c e e d against s u c h a n infringement.  I U 1 U .  In B V e r f G E 34, 269 (Soraya, 1973). The development o f the personality is according to article 2 confined within the boundaries of the constitutional order. This is to be understood as including a l l legal norms that are formally and materially i n harmony with the basic law. Therefore, the basic right is subject to statutory limits. A certain part o f the personality right, however, w h i c h refers to the human dignity i n A r t . l I G G , is inviolably corresponding to the constitutional mandate o f the inviolability o f human dignity, w h i c h underlies a l l basic rights. M a r t i n K r i e l e , "Ehrschutz und Meinungsfreiheit", N J W 1994, 1897, 1898. B V e r f G 35, 202 (Lebach, 1973); Hans Jarass, " D a s allgemeine Personlichkeitsrecht i m Grundgesetz", NJW 1989, 957, 858. A c c o r d i n g l y , an individual has the right not to be misquoted and is protected against having statements attributed to h i m w h i c h he d i d not make and w h i c h impair his self-defined c l a i m to social recognition. Furthermore, the bearer o f the right is protected against commercial appropriation, for instance through unauthorized advertising, i.e. he has the right to his o w n words and picture. Hans Jarass, supra n.24, at p.858; B V e r f G E 63, 131, 142 (1984); 35, 202, 220 (Lebach, 1973); B G H Z 30, 7 (1959) and 36, 346 (1961). 21  2 2  2 3  2 4  2 5  95  In c i v i l l a w , e s p e c i a l l y § 8 2 3  a n d § 1004  o f the C i v i l C o d e g i v e expression to the right to  personality, p r o v i d i n g a cause o f action before a c i v i l court. F u r t h e r m o r e there are § 12 referring to the right to one's n a m e , as w e l l as § § 2 2 , 2 3 a n d 3 3 K U G  BGB  2 8  ,  for the v i o l a t i o n to a  person's right to his o w n picture, a barrier i n cases o f press reporting. P o s s i b l e remedies i n c i v i l law are a p r o h i b i t o r y i n j u n c t i o n  , a right to retraction  or to r e p l y  as w e l l as  IT compensation.  2 6  2 7  In a d d i t i o n to the causes o f actions before a c i v i l court, the i n d i v i d u a l  monetary  can also  Supra n.17. § 1004 B G B grants the proprietor a claim to eliminate any impairment or disturbance of property. In so far as  there is a danger of further disturbances the proprietor has an action for injunction. A n action for injunction also is possible in cases of violation of the right to one's name, according to § 12 B G B . This provision deals with cases where one person denies another person's right to use a specific name, or where another person injures the interest of a person who is entitled to a certain name through the unauthorized use of this name. § 22 K U G [ K U G = Kunsturhebergesetz = law on copyright in works of art] determines that pictures of people can only be disseminated or displayed publicly with the consent of the person portrayed while § 23 K U G states certain exceptions of this rule, for instance in cases where a person of contemporary history is concerned. If there is a violation of these provisions, § 33 K U G allows imposing a fine or imprisonment up to one year. For the assertion of an injunction it is sufficient to set forth the objective unlawfulness of the offending statement. It is not necessary to prove fault on the part of the person making the utterance. A further condition is that the alleged violation of rights is imminent or that there is the danger of a repeated violation, which the courts usually assume when there was a prior violation of rights. The right to retraction also does not require fault. The plaintiff claiming this right to correction or revocation has to prove that the disputed factual statement is in fact false and that the impairment of it still lasts. Moreover the retraction has to be necessary with regard to the concrete circumstances of the case and, finally, unlawful. The right to reply is a special right concerning media publication. It confers the right to supplement a published text through one's own reply in the same section as the text complained of appeared in and in the same type and manner as to attract the same measure of attention among the readers. This right immediately derives from the general personality right. However, in so far as the personality right is allegedly violated by another person's utterance, the right to a reply or a retraction are only available if the complaint is about statements of facts. Bonner Grundgesetz, (C.F. Miiller, Heidelberg, Stand Nov.2000), Art.5 Rn.185 ff; Degenhart, "Monetary compensation can be achieved through either § 823 I of the Civil Code or § 823 II B G B in combination with for instance the defamation regulations of the criminal code. In order to succeed the plaintiff has to show that the defendant unlawfully disparaged his personality right, that he attacked the protected sphere of this right 'blameworthy' and that he was 'responsible' for the infringement. Finally, the plaintiff has to prove that the damage occurred as a causal consequence of the disparagement. Difficulties arise if there is no pecuniary loss involved because § 253 of the Civil Code determines that for an injury which is not a pecuniary loss compensation may only be awarded in the cases specified by law. Accordingly, mere immaterial damage, expressed for example in a degradation of the personality, cannot give rise to a money claim in the absence of an express legal provision. Such a legal provision does not exist with respect to the infringement of personality rights. (The latter are themselves not even explicitly mentioned in the enumeration of § 823 I BGB.) Nevertheless, it is now established that the articles 1 and 2 of the Constitution shall be used to enforce immaterial damage which a person has suffered as a result of the invasion of his personality. The reasoning is as follows. The law of delict deals with the disturbance of essential values and makes the doers of injury owe satisfaction to the victim for the wrong done to him. It has to pay attention to the value-decision of the Constitution, where the protection of human dignity and of the right to free development is at the head of the fundamental rights. If a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed personality right did not give rise to an adequate sanction, the protection of this right would be incomplete. The elimination of damages for immaterial loss from the protection of personality would mean that injury to the dignity and honour of a human being remains without any sanction of the civil law. 2 8  2 9  3 0  31  3 2  96  have a c r i m i n a l cause o f action b a s e d o n defamation, slander or c a l u m n y w h i c h is regulated i n § § 185 - 194 o f the G e r m a n P e n a l C o d e .  3 4  B . C o n s t i t u t i o n a l R e v i e w w i t h respect to the V i o l a t i o n o f B a s i c R i g h t s  B e f o r e h a v i n g a l o o k o f h o w f r e e d o m o f expression and reputation are b a l a n c e d i n G e r m a n y , s o m e basic features o f the country's constitutional law have to be e x p l a i n e d .  I. T h e C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o m p l a i n t T h e constitutional c o m p l a i n t is a p r o c e d u r a l means p r o v i d e d b y the C o n s t i t u t i o n to g i v e effect to the c o m m i t m e n t l a i d d o w n i n A r t ! I l l G G that 'the basic rights shall b i n d the legislature, the executive and the j u d i c i a r y as directly as applicable law'. A c c o r d i n g l y , the issue o f such a c o m p l a i n t is a n 'act o f p u b l i c a u t h o r i t y ' .  35  A court d e c i s i o n is seen as s u c h an act o f state because the rules w h i c h the court applied had been f a s h i o n e d b y the state. In a case where a private entity h a d v i o l a t e d another person's basic rights  the  lower  courts  perpetuate  the  constitutional  violation b y  not  acknowledging  it.  T h e r e f o r e , the c r u c i a l element is not the fact that the dispute is between private i n d i v i d u a l s but the p u b l i c character o f the court d e c i s i o n i n c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h the p r o v e n a n c e  o f the a p p l i e d  rule, w h i c h w a s f o r m u l a t e d b y the state. T h i s v i e w is contrary to the one expressed i n  Dolphin Delivery,  w h e r e the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f  C a n a d a expressly e x c l u d e d the j u d i c i a l b r a n c h from the scope o f s.32(1) and, thus, f r o m Charter  Therefore, in cases of substantial violations of the personality right damages for pain and suffering will be awarded although there was no pecuniary loss. They are treated as punitive damages, awarded to punish the wrongdoer and to deter others from behaving similarly. (BVerfGE 34, 269, 293). § 185 punishes insult, § 186 malicious gossip and § 187 defamation. Both, malicious gossip and defamation, deal with the dissemination of facts which disparage another in the public opinion but in the latter case those facts have to be untrue. As far as disparaging opinions are concerned only insult is possible. Art.93 I No.4a GG determines that "The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule on constitutional complaints, which may be filed by any person alleging that on of his basic rights ... has been infringed by public authority.' 34  35  97  application.  H o w e v e r , the constitutional c o m p l a i n t e m p o w e r s the court to r e v i e w j u d i c i a l decisions o n l y w i t h i n narrow limits. It is not for the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t to c h e c k j u d g e m e n t s o f c i v i l courts for errors o f l a w i n general, i.e. it cannot r e v i e w the facts as f o u n d a n d evaluated b y the lower court, the assessment o f e v i d e n c e , or the a p p l i c a t i o n o f the c i v i l l a w p r o v i s i o n s i n the i n d i v i d u a l case. T h e s e are matters for the regular courts a n d the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t is not, like a court o f appeal, e m p o w e r e d to substitute its o w n o p i n i o n o f the case for that o f the p r o p e r j u d g e .  37  The  C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t c a n o n l y scrutinize whether there is a v i o l a t i o n o f 'specific constitutional 38  law'.  JO  T h i s m e a n s that the court must determine whether the regular courts have  ascertained the reach a n d effect o f the b a s i c rights i n private l a w .  correctly  3 9  II. H o r i z o n t a l E f f e c t o f the B a s i c R i g h t s S i n c e the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t scrutinizes whether the j u d g e m e n t o f the c i v i l court sufficiently took the i n f l u e n c e o f b a s i c rights into account, these rights must have s o m e h o r i z o n t a l effect, i.e. they must also regulate the relationships between private i n d i v i d u a l s to s o m e d e g r e e .  40  A s already m e n t i o n e d , the p r i m a r y f u n c t i o n o f the b a s i c rights does not exhaust itself w i t h the protecting o f the i n d i v i d u a l ' s sphere o f f r e e d o m against encroachment b y p u b l i c p o w e r , i.e. as the citizen's b u l w a r k against the state ( A b w e h r r e c h t e , w h i c h m e a n s d e f e n s i v e r i g h t s ) .  41  They  also incorporate an objective set o f values, against w h i c h subsequent statutes must be tested.  R. W.S.D.U. v. Dolphin Delivery Ltd, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573. "Christian Zacker, "Die Meinungsfreiheit zwischen den Miihlsteinen der Ehrabschneider und der Menschenwtirde", DOV 1997, 238, 239; BVerfGE 30, 173 (Mephisto, 1971). Fritz Ossenbuhl, "Medien zwischen Macht und Recht", JZ 1995, 633, 640. BVerfGE 7, 198, 204-207 (Liith, 1958). At any rate, the belief that in the contemporary world individuals and private entities can interfere with human rights as extensively and more frequently than the state supports the concept that basic rights should have some influence even within private disputes. 36  3 8  3 9  4 0  98  T h i s objective order o f values pervades the entire legal system a n d thus expresses and reinforces the v a l i d i t y o f the basic rights. It affects e s p e c i a l l y strongly those areas i n w h i c h the law prescribes b i n d i n g  rules  (ius congens) that displace the w i l l  o f the parties.  N a t u r a l l y , it  influences private law as w e l l i n so far as n o rule o f private l a w m a y c o n f l i c t w i t h it and all such rules must b e construed i n accordance w i t h its s p i r i t .  42  A l t h o u g h constitutional rights are not directly applicable i n private disputes and cannot override rules o f c i v i l l a w they nevertheless i n f l u e n c e these rules. In v i e w o f this, the Constitutional C o u r t adopted the p r i n c i p l e o f indirect e f f e c t the  constitutional  principles flows  43  w h i c h means that a certain intellectual content o f  a n d radiates  into  the c i v i l  norms  and informs  their  interpretation a n d a p p l i c a t i o n . T h i s effect is m o s t relevant to certain general clauses o f the C i v i l C o d e , w h i c h are described as s o - c a l l e d 'points o f entry' f o r basic rights into private law. O n e e x a m p l e f o r such a general clause is the term 'bonos mores' i n § 826 B G B , a regulation, w h i c h p r o v i d e s a r e m e d y against a 1  person w h o w i l f u l l y causes damages to another i n a m a n n e r contra bonos mores. G e n e r a l clauses a l l o w the courts to r e s p o n d to the i n f l u e n c e o f the v a l u e - s y s t e m o f the constitutional rights since i n d e c i d i n g what is r e q u i r e d i n a particular case b y s u c h s o c i a l c o m m a n d s , they must start f r o m this system. I f the j u d g e disregards the i n f l u e n c e o f basic rights his j u d g e m e n t , as an act o f p u b l i c authority, infringes the constitutional right or rights o f one o f the parties. T h i s party c a n then enforce his c l a i m to consideration o f his rights w i t h a constitutional c o m p l a i n t . A s a result, d e c i s i o n s o f the regular courts are subject to constitutional r e v i e w .  BVerfGE 7, 198, 204 (Liith, 1958). In this respect, the Supreme Court of Canada proceeded similarly by deciding that the common law must be interpreted in a manner which is consistent with Charter principles and by allowing a private party in private litigation to argue that the common law he complains about is inconsistent with Charter values. (Hill v. Church of Scientology (1995), 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 129, at pp. 156-7) This indirect effect approach had already been adopted by the German Federal Court in Schacht, BGHZ 13, 334 in 1954 before the German Constitutional Court confirmed it in Liith, BVerfGE 7, 198 (1958). 41  4 2  th  4 3  99  T h e r e , the F e d e r a l C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t must determine whether i n a p p l y i n g the rules o f private law the j u d i c i a l d e c i s i o n under attack m i s c o n c e i v e d the m e a n i n g o f the basic rights o f whose infringement the c o m p l a i n a n t c o m p l a i n s . T o what extent this r e v i e w w i l l take p l a c e depends o n the seriousness o f the i n v a s i o n b y the ordinary courts. T h e m o r e s e r i o u s l y a d e c i s i o n influences the sphere o f a basic right, the m o r e t h o r o u g h w i l l be the r e v i e w a n d w h e n the intensity o f the i n v a s i o n b y the l o w e r court's d e c i s i o n is at its greatest the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t is e m p o w e r e d to replace the e v a l u a t i o n undertaken b y the c i v i l court w i t h its o w n e v a l u a t i o n .  44  In v i e w o f this, the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l court can h o l d that the basic right o f the l o s i n g party has been infringed  i f the j u d g e  has  f a i l e d to  recognize  that it is  a case  o f balancing  conflicting  constitutional rights, or i f he has based his j u d g e m e n t o n a f u n d a m e n t a l l y false v i e w o f the importance, a n d e s p e c i a l l y scope, o f either o f those rights. T h u s , the C o n s t i t u t i o n exerts an influence  o n private  relationships.  Nevertheless,  the  resolution  in such  cases  of  conflict  ultimately depends o n the a p p l i c a t i o n o f private law.  III. A r t i c l e 5 A n a l y s i s T h e constitutional c o m p l a i n t is j u s t i f i e d i f the complainant's basic right i n question is indeed violated b y a n act o f p u b l i c authority. T h e test i n this c o n n e c t i o n consists o f three steps. First it has to be d e t e r m i n e d whether the i m p u g n e d b e h a v i o u r falls w i t h i n the protected scope o f the basic  right  w h i c h the  individual  interference'  i n this basic  necessary.  T h e third and most  46  complains  right has  to be  important  has  been  s h o w n , i.e. step is the  infringed.  45  Secondly,  some  'state-  a l i m i t a t i o n b y p u b l i c authority  is  'constitutional justification' o f this  interference, s i m i l a r to the C a n a d i a n concept, where the issue o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n under s !  o f the  BVerfGE 42, 143, 149 (Deutschland Magazin, 1976). The allegedly infringed activity of the complainant actually has to be covered by article 5 of the Basic Law. The scope of this basic right has already been defined above within the paragraph 'The values at issue'  44 45  100  Charter is c r u c i a l a n d at the centre o f f r e e d o m o f expression cases.  W i t h i n the test o f 'constitutional justification' the court has to  f i n d out whether  the  state  intervention c o m p l a i n e d o f is c o v e r e d b y a 'constitutional l i m i t a t i o n ' p r o v i d e d b y the basic right itself or otherwise b y the B a s i c L a w . A l m o s t every basic right i n the G e r m a n C o n s t i t u t i o n is subject to certain limitations, for instance to statutory l i m i t s . W h i l e the C a n a d i a n Charter has s . l as a general l i m i t a t i o n clause, p r e c e d i n g the enumeration o f rights a n d freedoms, the basic  rights  i n the G e r m a n C o n s t i t u t i o n often contain specific restrictions, as does article 5 i n his subsection 2.  47  T h u s , the question is whether the basic right itself p r o v i d e s a p o s s i b i l i t y to restrict its  application, i f so, whether the state action, referring to this l i m i t a t i o n , f u l f i l s its requirements and, f i n a l l y , whether the l i m i t a t i o n is proportionate.  1. G e n e r a l L a w s F r e e d o m o f o p i n i o n is o n l y guaranteed w i t h i n the  framework  o f the general laws, the statutory  p r o v i s i o n s for the protection o f the y o u n g a n d the right to p e r s o n a l h o n o u r , i.e. f r e e d o m o f o p i n i o n is, a c c o r d i n g to A r t . 5 II G G , subject to these l i m i t a t i o n s .  48  T h u s , A r t . 5 II a l l o w s the c i v i l  and c r i m i n a l legislators the f r e e d o m to place some limits o n the basic right to free expression. M o s t o f the t i m e , f r e e d o m o f expression w i l l be restricted b y a 'general law', w h i c h is the first p o s s i b i l i t y enumerated i n A r t . 5 II G G . L a w c a n be c l a s s i f i e d as general law i f it does not prohibit a certain o p i n i o n itself and is not directed against the expression o f a certain o p i n i o n , i.e. the l a w has to be neutral. In addition, it has to protect or serve a protected interest that deserves this protection, regardless o f a particular o p i n i o n , and w h i c h takes p r i o r i t y over the  This is the case, for instance, when the basic right has been impaired by an act of public authority, for instance the prohibition, impediment or order of the expression or dissemination of an opinion. It is sufficient if the state action only has limiting effects on free expression, similar to the Canadian purpose or effect approach. See note 2 above. See Art.5 II GG in note 2.  4 6  4 7  4 8  101  f r e e d o m o f expression. § 1 8 5 o f the P e n a l C o d e , for instance, punishes 'insult'. It is a statutory p r o v i s i o n that i n effect prohibits  expression,  namely  expression  that  constituted  the  criminal offence  o f insult.  H o w e v e r , this p r o v i s i o n is not s p e c i f i c a l l y directed against a particular o p i n i o n but applies to everybody.  It  serves  the  protection  o f another  very  important  reputation, w h i c h deserves protection. T h e r e f o r e , § 185 S t G B  5 0  interest,  that  of  personal  qualifies as 'general law' i n the  sense o f A r t . 5 II. T h i s e x a m p l e also explains w h y the l i m i t a t i o n o f 'general law' is the m o s t frequent one i n article 5 analysis: the p r o v i s i o n s that deal w i t h the protection o f y o u n g persons or w i t h the right to personal h o n o u r m o s t l y are general laws just as § 185 S t B G is a general law and, at the same time, one o f the rules c o n c e r n i n g the right to personal h o n o u r .  51  T h e r e f o r e , the first question i n  the stage o f constitutional j u s t i f i c a t i o n o f a limit is whether the l i m i t i n g l e g a l p r o v i s i o n qualifies as general law.  M o s t o f the time the p r o v i s i o n i n question fulfils the requirement o f b e i n g a general law. H a v i n g a general law as s u c h , h o w e v e r , is not sufficient to limit f r e e d o m o f expression. If it were, since almost all statutory restrictions c l a s s i f y as general law, the result w o u l d be that f r e e d o m o f expression c o u l d be v e r y easily restricted.  2. T h e o r y o f R e c i p r o c a l E f f e c t O f great i m p o r t a n c e w i t h regard to the l i m i t a t i o n o f article 5 b y general laws is the theory o f r e c i p r o c a l effect w h i c h is b a s e d o n the i d e a that there is a certain relationship, a reciprocal effect, b e t w e e n the restricting law a n d the restricted basic right. T h e j u d g e has to determine to  Jarass/Pieroth, Grundgesetz fur die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, (3 Rn.45, Jarass. StGB = Strafgesetzbuch, i.e. Penal Code. 49  rd  50  102  ed., C H . Beck, Mtinchen, 1995), Art.5,  what extent the general laws l i m i t the constitutional right. H e r e , the theory d e m a n d s o f the j u d g e to keep i n m i n d that these general laws themselves s h o u l d be seen against the b a c k g r o u n d o f the entire l e g a l system a n d o f the importance this system attaches to free speech. Just as the general laws c a n affect the constitution because o f A r t . 5 II G G so does the constitution, i n its turn, affect them. T h e l i m i t a t i o n has to b e seen ' i n the light o f the importance o f article 5'.  A s a result it is  necessary to search for e q u i l i b r i u m between the c o m p e t i n g values, i.e. the courts have to strive for a b a l a n c i n g o f the  freedom  o f expression a n d the c o l l i d i n g v a l u e protected b y the general  law. T h i s theory amounts to the i n v o c a t i o n o f the p r i n c i p l e o f proportionality.  3. P r o p o r t i o n a l i t y A n a l y s i s T h e G e r m a n concept starts from the assumption that o n l y b y w e i g h i n g a l l the circumstances o f the g i v e n case it c a n b e d e c i d e d whether the l i m i t a t i o n o f the basic right is constitutional. In order to be j u s t i f i e d the general law restricting expression has to b e 'proportional' w h i c h means that it is v a l i d o n l y i f it survives the proportionality analysis c o n s i s t i n g o f three requirements. T h e l a w at issue has to be suitable for the achievement o f a legitimate purpose, necessary to that end  5 3  a n d the b u r d e n it i m p o s e s must not b e excessive i n the light o f the a c h i e v e d benefits, i.e.  its deleterious effects have to b e proportionate to the salutary o n e s .  (In cases c o n c e r n i n g  54  f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n a n d the protection o f the reputation this m e a n s that the damage to personality  resulting  from  a public  representation  must  n o t b e out o f p r o p o r t i o n to the  importance o f the p u b l i c a t i o n u p h o l d i n g the f r e e d o m o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n . )  55  Bonner Grundgesetz, supra n.32, Art.5 Rn.176, Degenhart. BVerfGE 7, 198, 208-210 (Liith, 1958). A limitation is necessary if there is no other means that can achieve the legitimate purpose equally effective but in a less intrusive way. The disadvantages for the person concerned by the limitation have to be in an adequate proportion to the advantages this limitation aims to accomplish. Pieroth/Schlink, Grundrechte, Staatsrecht II, (11' ed., C F . Miiller Verlag, Heidelberg, 1995), Rn.300-324. Here is yet another similarity to Canadian Charter scrutiny. The three step test there requires that the limiting law, which has to pursue a pressing and substantial purpose, is rationally connected to its objective, that it impairs the 51  5 2 53  5 4  55  103  In  a p p l y i n g the last  part  o f the proportionality  analysis  f o r the determination  o f the  reasonableness o f a p u b l i c exposure, i.e. w h e n a n s w e r i n g the question whether the effects o f the l i m i t a t i o n are i n d e e d p r o p o r t i o n a l , various factors have to be c o n s i d e r e d a n d each exposure must be assessed o n its o w n i n light o f the f o l l o w i n g ' w e i g h i n g f a c t o r s ' .  56  O n e important aspect is the subject matter o f the utterance. In case the subject deals w i t h an affair o f p u b l i c i m p o r t a n c e there is a p r e s u m p t i o n o f free s p e e c h .  57  T h i s does not m e a n that  f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n has absolute priority i n s u c h cases. T h e p r e s u m p t i o n rather is a guideline w i t h i n the b a l a n c i n g process a n d gives political speech.  to the circumstance  that courts  favour  58  T h e publisher's m o t i v e s accomplish  expression  b y exposing  c o m m u n i c a t i o n advances  also  have  someone  to b e taken into consideration, i n the p u b l i c  spotlight.  i.e. what  It depends  he h o p e d to  o n whether the  k n o w l e d g e a n d p u b l i c debate or m e r e l y benefits the speaker. F o r  e x a m p l e , to p u b l i s h private i n f o r m a t i o n for a p u r e l y c o m m e r c i a l g o a l , s e e k i n g to capitalize u p o n the  marketing  value  o f somebody's  personal  characteristics at h i s expense,  constitutes an  i n v a s i o n o f p r i v a c y . T h e balance w i l l then be i n f a v o u r o f the personality right. F u r t h e r m o r e , the w e i g h i n g o f interests must take into account the intensity o f the infringement o f the p e r s o n a l s p h e r e .  59  T h e m o r e severe the private intrusion the m o r e l i k e l y freedom o f  speech has to step b a c k . T h e o c c a s i o n o f a n utterance can p l a y an important role. O n e w h o suffered a severe attack o n his h o n o u r i n p u b l i c is j u s t i f i e d to an otherwise excessive counter-attack ( G e g e n s c h l a g ) . H e has the  right no more than is necessary to accomplish the objective, and that it has a proportionate effect on the person to whom it applies The factors described refer to the weighing process applied to cases involving freedom of expression and reputation. BVerfGE 7, 198, 212 (Liith, 1958); BGHZ 139, 95, 102 (1998). Georg Seyfarth, "Der Einflufi des Verfassungsrechts auf zivilrechtliche Ehrschutzklagen", NJW 1999, 1287, 1289. BVerfGE 35, 202 (Lebach, 1973); Seyfarth, ibid, at p. 1290. 5 6  5 7  5 8  5 9  104  right to an appropriate reaction. T h e status o f a p e r s o n , whether or not he is a p u b l i c figure, w i l l also be relevant. O n e b e c o m e s a p u b l i c personage  w h o , b y his a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s , fame or m o d e o f l i v i n g , or b y adopting a  p r o f e s s i o n or c a l l i n g gives the p u b l i c a legitimate interest i n his d o i n g s . S u c h a person tends to benefit from p u b l i c i t y a n d his reasonable expectation o f p r i v a c y is s i g n i f i c a n t l y lower. S o m e o n e w h o deliberately seeks p u b l i c i t y has to endure m o r e .  61  O t h e r aspects i n f l u e n c i n g the b a l a n c i n g m i g h t b e the w a y i n w h i c h the i n f o r m a t i o n was obtained (for instance b y i l l e g a l means), the extent o f the d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f the p u b l i c a t i o n , the  accuracy  o f the statement, or whether the p u b l i c a t i o n c o u l d reasonably have b e e n m a d e w i t h a less farreaching interference, or e v e n without any interference w i t h the protection o f personality. E v e r y other social objective,  w h i c h m i g h t be i n v o l v e d i n the dispute, has to b e i n c l u d e d i n the  b a l a n c i n g process.  H o w e v e r , i f a l i m i t a t i o n s u r v i v e d the proportionality analysis i n general it is still possible that the a p p l i c a t i o n o f this l i m i t a t i o n i n the particular case e x c e s s i v e l y burdens the person concerned. F o r this reason it c a n be necessary for restricting laws to p r o v i d e for exceptions i n order to a v o i d 'excessively b u r d e n i n g ' a single person.  C . F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n a n d the Personality R i g h t  Constellations o f dispute w i t h regard to freedom o f expression a n d d e f a m a t i o n arise f r o m c i v i l actions w h e r e a d e c i s i o n is m a d e against one party, or f r o m c r i m i n a l litigation where one party is sentenced because o f d e f a m a t i o n . T h i s party w i l l then c a l l o n the F e d e r a l Constitutional  BVerfGE 12, 113, 131 (Schmid/Spiegel, 1961). BVerfGE 12, 113, 126 ff. In this context the institution of'person of contemporary history' is important which will be explained later on. 60 61  105  C o u r t , a n d file a 'constitutional c o m p l a i n t ' ( V e r f a s s u n g s b e s c h w e r d e ) a r g u i n g that his basic right to  f r e e d o m o f expression has  not b e e n s u f f i c i e n t l y appreciated  i n r e n d e r i n g the  previous  j u d g e m e n t . W i t h i n this c o m p l a i n t the question is whether the regular court's d e c i s i o n under challenge is r e c o n c i l a b l e w i t h the complainant's right to f r e e d o m o f expression, i n so far as his c o m m u n i c a t i o n is protected b y article 5 o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n at a l l .  T h e court's assessment i n the i n d i v i d u a l case e s p e c i a l l y depends o n whether the c o m m u n i c a t i o n i n question is c l a s s i f i e d as an o p i n i o n (in the sense o f value-judgement) or as factual assertion. W i t h o p i n i o n s the subjective elements p r e v a i l a n d the listener can keep a certain distance more easily. If the recipient r e c o g n i z e s that a remark expresses the p e r s o n a l v i e w o f another person w i t h w h i c h he m a y or m a y not agree he realizes that he has the chance o f f o r m i n g his o w n j u d g e m e n t whereas statements o f facts rather c l a i m to b e o b j e c t i v e l y true. T h e r e is a situation o f acceptance towards factual statements w i t h the consequence that s u c h statements potentially threaten the reputation o f another m o r e than the expression o f an o p i n i o n . T h i s is the reason for the d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n the two k i n d s o f utterances.  62  I. Statements o f O p i n i o n A s already m e n t i o n e d , statements o f o p i n i o n enjoy p r e s u m p t i v e protection. A n extensive caserelated b a l a n c i n g has to take p l a c e between the l i m i t e d basic right ( f r e e d o m o f expression) and the legal v a l u e w h i c h the law l i m i t i n g this right serves (the protection o f the i n d i v i d u a l ' s honour) i n accordance  w i t h the various factors described above. H e r e , u s u a l l y f r e e d o m o f expression  w i l l be f a v o u r e d o v e r the protection o f the individual's h o n o u r a n d reputation. T h e constitutional c o m p l a i n t w i l l be u n s u c c e s s f u l , h o w e v e r , i n cases o f s o - c a l l e d 'defamatory  Dieter Grimm, "Die Meinungsfreiheit in der Rechtsprechung des BVerfG", NJW 1995, 1697, 1702. On the same ground, the common law defence of fair comment provides special protection to the utterance of opinions based on facts. This defence in defamation law also differentiates between comments and statements of facts.  62  106  c r i t i c i s m ' ( S c h m a h k r i t i k ) o r ' f o r m a l insult' ( F o r m a l b e l e i d i g u n g ) . T h e term f o r m a l insult refers to § 192 o f the P e n a l C o d e a n d covers statements where the existence o f an insult results f r o m the f o r m o f the assertion o r d i s s e m i n a t i o n , o r from the circumstances  under w h i c h it occurred.  D e f a m a t o r y c r i t i c i s m , o n the other h a n d , occurs w h e n the c r i t i c i s m is not o n l y relentless a n d insulting but leads to an intentional d i s h o n o u r o f one's d i g n i t y . It is o n l y accepted w i t h i n very narrow l i m i t s , where the speaker gives special emphasis to the disparagement  o f a person  instead o f f o c u s i n g o n the technical argument, thus, where considerations c o n c e r n i n g the subject matter i t s e l f (as o p p o s e d to p e r s o n a l issues) take absolutely n o e f f e c t .  63  II. F a c t u a l A s s e r t i o n s First o f a l l , the constitutional protection is restricted as far as factual statements are c o n c e r n e d since they are o n l y c o v e r e d i f they are prerequisites or the f o u n d a t i o n o f the formation o f o p i n i o n s . I f this is the case it is d e c i s i v e whether they are true o r false. T h e substance o f truth i n s u c h statements i n f l u e n c e s the constitutional protection awarded to t h e m . F o r true statements o f facts, the case-related b a l a n c i n g has to take p l a c e as w e l l , a c c o r d i n g to the weighing  factors  described  above  - s i m i l a r l y to cases where  statements  o f o p i n i o n s are  c o n c e r n e d . A l l the circumstances o f the particular case have to b e taken into consideration and the court has to f i n d a n appropriate p r o p o r t i o n between the severity o f the i m p a i r m e n t o f freedom honour.  o f e x p r e s s i o n a n d the severity o f the i m p a i r m e n t o f the c o l l i d i n g right to personal 64  T h e C o u r t has to keep i n m i n d that the general personality right protects against indiscretions, against the d i s c l o s u r e o f private facts. T h e g o a l o f the protection o f p e r s o n a l d e v e l o p m e n t g i v e n b y articles  63  1 a n d 2 o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n is the maintenance o f the basic conditions o f social  BVerfGE 61, 1, 12 (NPD Europas, 1982); 82, 272, 283 (Zwangsdemokrat, 1990); Kriele, supra n.23, at p. 1899. 107  relationships b e t w e e n the p e r s o n entitled to this basic right and his e n v i r o n m e n t . A c c o r d i n g l y , this protection has to a p p l y e v e n i f statements are true, for instance i f they b e c o m e a cause o f social e x c l u s i o n a n d i s o l a t i o n .  65  T h e right to an undisturbed private life secure from p u b l i c i t y  m i g h t h a v e p r i o r i t y o v e r the p u b l i c interest i n k n o w i n g the truth.  In this respect, the G e r m a n concept o f the general personality right is broader than that o f mere personal reputation under the c o m m o n law o f defamation, where the defence o f justification ensures that the p l a i n t i f f cannot recover damages i f true material is p u b l i s h e d . T h u s , G e r m a n and C a n a d i a n l a w treat truth slightly differently. W h i l e i n C a n a d a , the p l a i n t i f f has to put up w i t h the p u b l i c a t i o n o f true defamatory i n f o r m a t i o n (in that case the defendant benefits f r o m the defence o f justification), he m a y not necessarily h a v e to do so i n G e r m a n y . E v e n i f defamatory statements are i n fact true the right to undisturbed p r i v a c y m a y p r e v a i l , thereby restricting  free  expression.  W i t h respect to true factual statements the courts have d e f i n e d different spheres w i t h a gradation o f protection a c c o r d e d to the respective spheres. T h e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n into intimate, private and social spheres i n fact amounts to a graded test o f p r o p o r t i o n a l i t y .  66  T h e 'intimate sphere' is one o f the closest areas o f personality o f a h u m a n b e i n g . E x a m p l e s are occurrences o f the sexual life, diaries, personal notes, or details o f m e d i c a l examinations. It is the  sphere  o f inner feelings  and thoughts  where  unauthorized coverage  generally  is  not  Grimm, supra n.62, at p. 1703. In the Lebach case (BVerfGE 35, 202) the Court granted personality interests priority over broadcasting freedom because the transmission of a docudrama about a sensational crime was at a point close in time to the release of one of the perpetrators from imprisonment and would have made the reintegration of the person affected more difficult, if it did not entirely prevent it. (Impact of discriminatory consequences.) Bonner Grundgesetz, supra n.32, Art.5 Rn.178, Degenhart. 6 5  6 6  108  allowed  67  a n d a b a l a n c i n g o r ' w e i g h i n g ' o f the c o m p e t i n g values c a n o n l y take place b y w a y o f  exception. H e r e , e v e n the d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f a true statement c a n be a v i o l a t i o n .  68  T h e 'private sphere' covers the rest o f the private life, i.e. the closer f a m i l y relations, descriptions o f the d o m e s t i c life, r e l i g i o u s c o n v i c t i o n s , p e c u n i a r y circumstances, letters w h i c h are not meant to b e p u b l i s h e d , o r the contents o f private c o m m u n i c a t i o n s . T h i s sphere is not c o n f i n e d to the area inside one's o w n house. It c a n also a p p l y i f s o m e b o d y has c o n f i n e d h i m s e l f to solitude and o b v i o u s l y wants to stay o n his o w n , o r i f he behaves i n a special situation i n a w a y in w h i c h he w o u l d never b e h a v e i n p u b l i c because he trusts i n b e i n g secluded. U n l e s s there is a p r e v a i l i n g p u b l i c interest i n the i n f o r m a t i o n its p u b l i c a t i o n is not a l l o w e d without p e r m i s s i o n o f the person c o n c e r n e d . T h i s means that i f the p u b l i c interest i n the i n f o r m a t i o n outweighs the personal rights (for instance i f the press acts w i t h the legitimate interest o f d i s c l o s i n g abuses) a right to p u b l i s h can be granted.  F i n a l l y , the 'social sphere' concerns the area o f p u b l i c d i s p l a y , w h e r e p e r s o n a l d e v e l o p m e n t from the v e r y b e g i n n i n g takes place ' i n the contact w i t h the w o r l d a r o u n d ' , i.e. where the person c o n c e r n e d acted i n p u b l i c . C o v e r e d are the p r o f e s s i o n a l area a n d p u b l i c activity i n general, i.e. every relation to the outside w o r l d . H e r e , c o m m u n i c a t i o n s i n p r i n c i p l e are a l l o w e d .  6 9  T o s u m u p , it c a n b e said that at least i n cases o f h e a v y a n d unjustified intrusion into the i n d i v i d u a l ' s private life the protection o f p e r s o n a l h o n o u r regularly c l a i m s precedence over the  BVerfG 35, 202 (Lebach, 1973); there is no legitimate interest on such communications. The reason for the strong protection in this area is that there has to be a sphere in which the individual remains unobserved and on his own, in which he can interact with people of his particular trust without consideration of social behavioural expectations, i.e. a sphere in which no libel is possible. Such a possibility to retreat is important for the development of the personality because there, the aspect of the articulation of a statement stands less in the foreground than the aspect of self-development. On these occasions it may come to statements of such content or form which would be avoided in regular situations. Compare: BVerfGE 90, 255 (Ausschwitzliige, 1994).  6 7  6 8  6 9  BVerfGE 10, 354, 371 (1960). 109  f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n although this is o n l y a b a l a n c i n g rule, or 'guideline' w h i c h does not h o l d without exception. A p a r t f r o m this, the protection a c c o r d e d to the i n d i v i d u a l , as w e l l as the d i v i s i o n into spheres, depends o n the individual's o w n b e h a v i o u r . I f their private i n f o r m a t i o n is already i n the p u b l i c d o m a i n , the courts w i l l b e reluctant to a c c o r d p r i v a c y protection, i.e. s o m e o n e w h o submits i n f o r m a t i o n about his intimate sphere to the p u b l i c loses the protection i n this c o n n e c t i o n .  T h o s e w h o participate i n the p u b l i c debate have to accept that the p u b l i c w i l l  critically d e a l w i t h t h e m i n turn and i f s o m e o n e expresses c r i t i c i s m i n p u b l i c h e has to r e c k o n w i t h counter-attacks.  71  G e n e r a l l y , i f a legitimate p u b l i c interest exists w i t h regard to an i n d i v i d u a l , he has to put up w i t h the d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f facts c o n c e r n i n g his private life to a greater e x t e n t . 'persons  o f contemporary  history'  form  an important  category  72  In this connection,  o f reduced  constitutional  protection. First, there are 'absolute persons o f c o n t e m p o r a r y h i s t o r y ' , referring to persons w h o have  a special place  i n society  because  o f their p o s i t i o n i n society  or because  o f their  extraordinary achievement. A m o n g these persons are important p o l i t i c i a n s , athletes, m u s i c i a n s or l e a d i n g figures i n the e c o n o m i c sphere. A s e c o n d group are 'relative persons o f contemporary h i s t o r y ' , c o v e r i n g p e o p l e w h o h a v e b e c o m e p r o m i n e n t because o f their c o n n e c t i o n to a current event  o f contemporary  contemporary event.  history.  T h e latter  can only  be portrayed  i n context  w i t h the  73  F a l s e factual assertions that injure someone's reputation generally do not have to b e accepted. In  Friedrich Kiibler, "Ehrschutz, Selbstbestimmung und Demokratie", JZ 1984, 541, 545; Bonner Grundgesetz, supra n.32, Art.5 Rn.181, Degenhart; Yet, the court will investigate in such cases whether a full identification of the person concerned is necessary or in effect is part of a gold-digging operation on the part of the publisher who obviously was driven by commercial motives. This shows again that German courts distinguish between speech which informs and speech which is mere gossip and is motivated by greed. Fundamentally: BVerfGE 35, 202 (Lebach, 1973). BVerfGE 12, 113, 126 (Schmid/Spiegel, 1961). Bonner Grundgesetz, supra n.32, Art.5, Rn.181, Degenhart. 70  71  7 2 7 3  110  cases w h e r e the falsity o f the statement was evident a n d certain b e y o n d doubt at the time o f the utterance this statement w i l l not be constitutionally protected at a l l , i.e. f r e e d o m o f expression cannot be i n v o k e d i n the first place. I f it is not clear whether the statement was i n fact false, i f the p e r s o n w h o m a d e the statement was not aware o f its falsity the onus o f p r o o f w i t h respect to the truth is o n h i m w i t h the result that falsity is p r e s u m e d i n case he is not able to meet his b u r d e n . T h e r e f o r e , the speaker bears the risk o f not b e i n g able to p r o v e the truth o f his allegation.  74  H o w e v e r , the courts have stressed that the d e m a n d s m a d e w i t h respect  to the  b u r d e n o f p r o o f as w e l l as the duty o f care o n the part o f the speaker s h o u l d not be too h i g h in order to prevent a c h i l l i n g effect o n free speech since p e o p l e m i g h t b e deterred f r o m g i v i n g v o i c e to their o p i n i o n i n case o f a v e r y h i g h standard o f p r o o f .  75  ( F o r instance, courts have to  take into account that the possibilities o f m a k i n g investigations differ d e p e n d i n g o n whether the m e d i a or a single p e r s o n is concerned.)  III. C o n c l u s i o n In s u m m a r y , the protection o f h o n o u r u s u a l l y c l a i m s precedence o v e r f r e e d o m o f expression in cases w h e r e  statements o f o p i n i o n i m p a i r the content  personality rights because  o f article  1,  or where  o f h u m a n d i g n i t y contained i n the  s u c h statements  amount  to  'defamatory  c r i t i c i s m ' . or ' f o r m a l insult'. Furthermore, the right to personal h o n o u r w i l l l i k e l y take priority over  free  s p e e c h i f the speaker d i d not meet  the requirements o f his duty o f care w h e n  c o m m u n i c a t i n g factual assertions that were false. A s for the rest, there has to b e a case-related w e i g h i n g b e t w e e n the c o l l i d i n g values i n c l u d i n g a l l the circumstances o f the particular case. If the p u b l i c a t i o n touches u p o n a question o f p u b l i c c o n c e r n this does not automatically m e a n that freedom  o f e x p r e s s i o n has p r i o r i t y but it gives rise to a p r e s u m p t i o n o f free speech. In such  cases the requirements for an explanation are heightened s h o u l d the court d e c i d e i n favour o f the  74  B G H Z 139, 95, 104 (1998). Ill  right to p e r s o n a l h o n o u r .  In a w a y it is i r o n i c that f r e e d o m o f expression receives a m u c h stronger protection i n G e r m a n y than it does i n C a n a d a . T h e G e r m a n C o n s t i t u t i o n confers at the interest i n the individual's reputation a h i g h e r v a l u e than the C a n a d i a n Charter does. N e v e r t h e l e s s , f r e e d o m o f expression m o r e often p r e v a i l s i n litigation whereas C a n a d i a n courts f a v o u r the protection o f reputation.  BVerfGE 54, 208, 220 (Boll/Walden, 1980); 42, 163; BGHZ 139, 95, 106 (1998). To complete the description of the situation in Germany it should be added that opposition exists with regard to the decisions of the Constitutional Court. Voices in literature disagree with the court, complaining about the 'elimination of the protection of honour' against disparaging communications and about the discrimination of persons of contemporary history. They claim that the Federal Constitutional Court misjudges the significance of honour, allows 'character assassination' (for instance: Christian Stark, "Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit und Fachgerichte", JZ 1996, 1032) and moreover accuse the court of exceeding its authority. (See: Kriele, supra n.23, at p. 1897; Walter Schmitt Glaeser, "Meinungsfreiheit, Ehrschutz und Toleranzgebot", NJW 1996, 873). There certainly is a trend to (over) emphasize speech values and a greater willingness to review the constitutionality of the decisions of ordinary courts. 75  76  112  CHAPTER  5:  H o w d o o t h e r C o m m o n L a w J u r i s d i c t i o n s b a l a n c e the t w o C o m p e t i n g V a l u e s ?  The  Canadian  concept  determined b y the case  of  balancing  freedom  of  expression  and  Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto.  reputation Before  basically  dealing with  is the  C a n a d i a n s o l u t i o n , h o w e v e r , it is necessary to h a v e a l o o k at two other cases w h i c h h a d been d e c i d e d b y c o m m o n law countries prior to referred:  New York Times Co. v. Sullivan,  o f the A u s t r a l i a n H i g h C o u r t i n  Hill  and to w h i c h the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a  d e c i d e d b y the U . S . S u p r e m e C o u r t , and the d e c i s i o n  Theophanous v. Herald Weekly Times.  A . U n i t e d States: N e w Y o r k T i m e s C o . v . S u l l i v a n  A m e r i c a n d e f a m a t i o n law d e r i v e d , l i k e C a n a d i a n defamation law, f r o m the E n g l i s h c o m m o n law tradition. C o n s e q u e n t l y , C a n a d i a n and U . S . l i b e l laws used to be v e r y similar. In 1964 case  of  New York Times v. Sullivan  brought  a  change  to  this  close  resemblance  the by  r e v o l u t i o n i z i n g the A m e r i c a n law. T h e r e , the C o u r t was required to decide the extent to w h i c h the constitutional protection for speech and press l i m i t e d a state's p o w e r to award damages i n l i b e l actions. It h e l d that the traditional tort rules were subject to the o v e r r i d i n g constraints o f the First A m e n d m e n t .  In this case, the l o c a l city c o m m i s s i o n e r , M r . S u l l i v a n , sought c o m p e n s a t i o n for injury to his reputation c a u s e d b y s o m e factual misstatements i n a p a i d p o l i t i c a l advertisement r u n in the N e w Y o r k T i m e s newspaper b y a group o f nationally p r o m i n e n t c i v i l rights advocates. T h e editorial  criticized  the  handling o f civil  rights  113  demonstrations  in Montgomery  and  made  reference to the volatile situation i n A l a b a m a . It i n c l u d e d statements about p o l i c e action directed against b l a c k students w h o participated i n a c i v i l rights demonstration a n d recounted, at times inaccurately, several instances o f m i s c o n d u c t b y " S o u t h e r n v i o l a t o r s " , w h o b y clear i m p l i c a t i o n at least partly h a d to b e p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s .  N e i t h e r o f the statements m e n t i o n e d the p l a i n t i f f b y n a m e . B u t M r . S u l l i v a n argued that, as he was generally responsible f o r the p o l i c e i n M o n t g o m e r y the imputations against the p o l i c e referred to h i m as C o m m i s s i o n e r , as supervisor o f the p o l i c e department. A n A l a b a m a j u r y h a d returned a verdict a w a r d i n g the p l a i n t i f f h a l f a m i l l i o n dollars i n damages a c c o r d i n g to the A l a b a m a c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n and the a w a r d w a s a f f i r m e d o n appeal to the State S u p r e m e C o u r t . T h e U . S . S u p r e m e C o u r t , h o w e v e r , reversed the l o w e r court's h o l d i n g and d e c i d e d that the traditional law o f d e f a m a t i o n i n f r i n g e d u p o n the constitutional rights o f free speech a n d free press.  Foremost,  the C o u r t stressed the tremendous  g o v e r n m e n t o f f i c i a l s i n a democratic s o c i e t y .  2  importance  o f the citizen's  right to criticize  It p o i n t e d out that 'debate o n p u b l i c issues s h o u l d  be u n i n h i b i t e d , robust, a n d w i d e - o p e n , a n d that it m a y w e l l i n c l u d e vehement,  caustic, and  sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks o n government a n d p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s . ' T h e circumstance 3  that c r i t i c i s m o f o f f i c i a l conduct is effective  a n d d i m i n i s h e s the reputation o f the officials  i n v o l v e d w a s h e l d to not d e p r i v e this c r i t i c i s m o f its constitutional p r o t e c t i o n .  4  (1964), 376 U.S. 254; the opinion of the majority was written by Brennan J. At p.269 the Court referred to the 'marketplace of ideas' theory and emphasized the significance of unfettered interchange of ideas. Then it continued: 'The maintenance of the opportunity for free political discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people and that changes may be obtained by lawful means, an opportunity essential to the security of the Republic, is a fundamental principle of our constitutional system.' (Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359, at p.369). Ibid, at p.270 (Brennan J.). 1  2  3  114  T h e n it w a s r e c o g n i z e d that the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n h a d a ' c h i l l i n g effect' o n p o l i t i c a l speech w h i c h m a y l e a d to suppression o f matters o f p u b l i c interest a n d o f other issues that ought to receive p u b l i c scrutiny a n d debate. In this respect, B r e r m a n J. p o i n t e d out that, since it is often difficult to p r o d u c e l e g a l p r o o f s that the alleged l i b e l was true i n its factual particulars, the necessity o f p r o v i n g truth as a defence does not deter false speech o n l y . H e stated that a rule ' c o m p e l l i n g the critic o f o f f i c i a l conduct to guarantee the truth o f a l l his factual assertions w i l l be intolerable self-censorship' a n d that under s u c h a rule ' w o u l d - b e critics o f o f f i c i a l conduct m a y b e deterred f r o m v o i c i n g their c r i t i c i s m , e v e n though it is b e l i e v e d to be true and even t h o u g h it is i n fact true, because o f doubt whether it c a n be p r o v e d i n court or fear o f the expenses o f h a v i n g to d o s o ' . T h u s , the C o u r t r u l e d that the existing c o m m o n law o f defamation 5  violated the guarantee o f free speech under the First A m e n d m e n t o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n .  T h e s o l u t i o n adopted was to do a w a y w i t h the c o m m o n law p r e s u m p t i o n s o f falsity and m a l i c e and introduce the requirement o f 'actual m a l i c e ' .  6  It was h e l d that i n cases where defamatory  statements are m a d e i n respect o f p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s the p l a i n t i f f c a n o n l y recover damages  for  d e f a m a t i o n relating to his o f f i c i a l c o n d u c t i f he p r o v e s t h r o u g h clear a n d c o n v i n c i n g evidence that the defendant acted w i t h k n o w l e d g e o f the falsity o f his statement or w i t h reckless disregard as to whether it w a s false or n o t .  7  C o n s e q u e n t l y , the p u b l i c o f f i c i a l p l a i n t i f f has not o n l y to  p r o v e that the statement is false a n d defamatory but also that the defendant either k n e w that he was not p u b l i s h i n g the truth or c o n s c i o u s l y h e l d serious doubts as to the truth o f his statement. (Indifference to truth or falsity is not e n o u g h to satisfy the concept o f 'reckless  disregard'.)  T h e r e b y , a q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e for c r i t i c i s m o f o f f i c i a l c o n d u c t w a s created.  Ibid, atp.273. Ibid,atp.279. Ibid, at p.279: 'The constitutional guarantees require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with 'actual malice'. 4  5  6  115  It is important to note that 'actual m a l i c e ' i n this respect i n a narrower concept than that o f c o m m o n l a w m a l i c e , w h i c h w i l l defeat  a c l a i m to the c o m m o n law defence  p r i v i l e g e . T h e constitutional standard o f m a l i c e adopted i n  New York Times  o f qualified  has n o t h i n g to do  w i t h i l l w i l l , hostility, or b a d or i m p r o p e r m o t i v e but refers o n l y to the defendant's subjective awareness o f the p r o b a b l e falsity o f his allegations. H i s m o t i v e s are irrelevant to liability since the essence is the relationship between falsity o f the statement and k n o w l e d g e o n the part o f the defendant. A l s o , n e g l i g e n c e is not sufficient, i.e. a lack o f reasonable care p r i o r to p u b l i c a t i o n does not satisfy the actual m a l i c e requirement.  T h e S u p r e m e C o u r t ' s d e c i s i o n m o d i f i e d the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n i n various w a y s . O n the one h a n d , instead o f r e q u i r i n g the defendant to j u s t i f y his allegations, the b u r d e n o f p r o o f w i t h respect to  falsity o f the imputations is o n the p u b l i c o f f i c i a l p l a i n t i f f n o w ; falsity o f the  defamatory statement is no longer p r e s u m e d . M o r e o v e r , the C o u r t h e l d that a p u b l i c o f f i c i a l p l a i n t i f f must p r o v e w i t h c o n v i n c i n g clarity that the statements relating to his o f f i c i a l c o n d u c t were false to the k n o w l e d g e o f the defendant or that he acted w i t h reckless disregard i n that respect, i.e. the onus o f p r o o f is raised f r o m a preponderance o f probabilities to p r o o f w i t h c o n v i n c i n g clarity, a standard m o r e rigorous than the one n o r m a l l y a p p l i e d to c i v i l a c t i o n s .  8  F i n a l l y , an element o f fault is added to the tort o f d e f a m a t i o n . T h e defendant is not liable irrespective o f fault a n y m o r e .  It is to a d d , that three c o n c u r r i n g justices, B l a c k , D o u g l a s and G o l d b e r g , e v e n suggested there s h o u l d b e a n absolute bar o f l i b e l actions b y p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s . In their separate reasons they h e l d  7 8  Ibid, atpp.279-280. Ibid, atpp.285-286. 116  that the T i m e s h a d an u n c o n d i t i o n a l right to p u b l i s h their criticisms about p u b l i c affairs.  B . Australia: Theophanous v. H a r o l d & W e e k l y T i m e s  A u s t r a l i a n d e f a m a t i o n l a w traces b a c k to the E n g l i s h c o m m o n l a w tradition as w e l l  since  A u s t r a l i a n c o l o n i e s early accepted that the general p r i n c i p l e s o f the c o m m o n l a w d i d apply i n the  A u s t r a l i a n States. E x c e p t  so far as it has b e e n  altered  since  then b y the A u s t r a l i a n  Parliaments it is still the l a w . T h e r e f o r e , A u s t r a l i a n and C a n a d i a n law o f d e f a m a t i o n is similar. 9  T h e A u s t r a l i a n constitution, h o w e v e r , does not contain a B i l l o f R i g h t s e x p l i c i t l y conferring f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n constitutional protection. Instead the A u s t r a l i a n H i g h C o u r t has distilled an  implication o f freedom  o f communication  from  the p r o v i s i o n s  a n d structure  o f the  C o n s t i t u t i o n , particularly from the concept o f representative g o v e r n m e n t w h i c h is enshrined i n the C o n s t i t u t i o n .  10  T h e relationship between this i m p l i e d  freedom  a n d the c o m m o n law o f  defamation, e s p e c i a l l y the question whether the i m p l i e d constitutional guarantee is apt to protect the p u b l i c a t i o n o f material d i s c u s s i n g the p e r f o r m a n c e o f duties o f m e m b e r s o f Parliament, was treated i n  Theophanous v. Harold Weekly Times.  11  T h i s case arose out o f the initiation o f d e f a m a t i o n p r o c e e d i n g s member  o f the C o m m o n w e a l t h Parliament  m i g r a t i o n regulations.  T h e newspaper  w h o w a s also  against  chairperson  a newspaper  by a  o f a committee o n  h a d p u b l i s h e d a letter to the editor  critical  of Mr.  BlackshielaVWilliams/Fitzgerald, Australian Constitutional Law Theory, (The Federation Press, Riverwood, NSW, 1996), at pp.132. In the cases of Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd v. Commonwealth (1992), 108 A.L.R.577 and Nationwide News Pty Ltd v. Wills (1992), 108 A.L.R.681 the implied freedom of communication was acknowledged with respect to discussion of government and political matters, i.e. 'political discussion'. It includes discussion of the conduct, policies or fitness for office of government, political parties, public bodies, public officers and those 9  10  117  T h e o p h a n o u s ' v i e w s o n Australia's i m m i g r a t i o n p o l i c i e s , w h i c h a c c u s e d h i m o f bias arising f r o m his o w n ethnic b a c k g r o u n d a n d questioned his fitness to h o l d o f f i c e as a M e m b e r o f Parliament. T h e matter w a s r e m o v e d to the H i g h C o u r t because the defence p l e a d e d that the p u b l i c a t i o n was pursuant to a f r e e d o m guaranteed b y the A u s t r a l i a n C o n s t i t u t i o n to p u b l i s h certain p o l i t i c a l material.  First o f a l l , the court r e c o g n i z e d that the i m p l i e d constitutional f r e e d o m , w h i c h was h e l d to a p p l y i n the case, not o n l y is a restriction o n legislative a n d executive p o w e r but also shapes and controls the c o m m o n law. C o r r e s p o n d i n g l y , the d e v e l o p m e n t o f the c o m m o n law must accord w i t h the content o f the i m p l i c a t i o n o f f r e e d o m . Relying on  New York Times v. Sullivan  12  the court then noted that the c o m m o n law o f defamation  h a d a ' c h i l l i n g effect' o n p o l i t i c a l speech. T h e balance reflected i n the c o m m o n law defences was regarded to tilt too far i n favour o f the protection o f the i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation at the expense o f f r e e d o m o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h the consequence unconstitutional.  13  that the current  law o f defamation  was  H o w e v e r , the A u s t r a l i a n H i g h C o u r t rejected the u n c o n d i t i o n a l adoption o f  the 'actual m a l i c e rule' established i n the U n i t e d States without changes. It m o d i f i e d the c o m m o n law rule i n a different w a y .  Instead  o f r e q u i r i n g the p u b l i c o f f i c i a l p l a i n t i f f to p r o v e actual  m a l i c e o n the part o f the  defendant w i t h c o n v i n c i n g clarity, the C o u r t d e c i d e d it was for the defendant to establish that he d i d not k n o w the defamatory statement was false a n d was not reckless as to whether it was false or true. C o n c e r n i n g the substance o f the constitutional defence, the defendant additionally h a d to  seeking public office as well as the discussion of the political views and public conduct of persons who are engaged in activities that have become the subject of political debate. " (1994) 124 A.L.R.I; the majority judgement was delivered by Mason CJ., Toohey and Gaudron JJ. Ibid, at p. 15. Ibid, at pp. 19 and 20. 12 13  118  p r o v e that the p u b l i c a t i o n was reasonable i n the circumstances, i.e. he h a d to s h o w that he either h a d taken steps to c h e c k the accuracy  o f the i m p u g n e d material or that he was  j u s t i f i e d i n p u b l i s h i n g without t a k i n g s u c h steps or steps w h i c h were  adequate.  otherwise 14  If these  requirements are met the p u b l i c a t i o n is a p u b l i c a t i o n o n an o c c a s i o n o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e and not a c t i o n a b l e .  15  O n e significant d i f f e r e n c e to the U . S . S u p r e m e Court's d e c i s i o n is that the b u r d e n o f p r o v i n g the (three parts  o f the)  reasonableness whether the defendant's  defence, i.e. n o k n o w l e d g e o f f a l s e h o o d , absence  o f the p u b l i c a t i o n , rests o n the defendant. A p a r t  defamatory  i m p u t a t i o n is i n fact true  belief in truth.  Theophanous  16  Most  important  to  from  or false since the note  is  that  the  o f recklessness  and  that, it is irrelevant test focuses  defence  on  articulated  the in  operates o n l y i n respect o f p o l i t i c a l d i s c u s s i o n , the o n l y e x p r e s s i o n protected b y  the i m p l i e d freedom o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n .  T h e H i g h C o u r t ' s d e c i s i o n also h a d consequences for the c o m m o n law defence o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e . It w a s n o t e d that this defence w o u l d have little a p p l i c a b i l i t y w h e r e a p u b l i c a t i o n occurs i n the course o f the d i s c u s s i o n o f p o l i t i c a l matters ( w h i c h w i l l be protected b y the constitutional  freedom)  a n d that it w o u l d n e e d to be r e c o n s i d e r e d i n the light o f the i m p l i e d 17  constitutional guarantee. W i t h regard to the n o t i o n o f r e c i p r o c a l interest a n d duty contained i n the c o m m o n law p r i v i l e g e the C o u r t h e l d that the p u b l i c at large has an interest i n the d i s c u s s i o n o f p o l i t i c a l matters such that every p e r s o n has a n interest i n c o m m u n i c a t i n g his v i e w s o n those matters and every person  Ibid, at p.23; In order to establish that he acted reasonable, the defendant basically had to show that he had taken reasonable steps to verify the truth of the published statement. Ibid, at p.26. Ibid,atp.24. Ibid, atp.25. 14  15 16  17  119  has an interest i n r e c e i v i n g i n f o r m a t i o n o n those m a t t e r s .  18  T h u s , the A u s t r a l i a n H i g h C o u r t , without h a v i n g a general constitutional p r o v i s i o n e x p l i c i t l y protecting  freedom  of  expression,  accorded  a  considerably  fundamental right than the C a n a d i a n S u p r e m e C o u r t d i d i n  Hill  stronger v.  protection  to  Church of Scientology,  this as I  w i l l s h o w i n the f o l l o w i n g chapter.  F i n a l l y , one j u d g e , Justice D e a n , took the v i e w that absolute constitutional i m m u n i t y s h o u l d be granted w h e r e statements about the o f f i c i a l conduct or the suitability o f a M e m b e r o f Parliament for his o f f i c e are p u b l i s h e d , i.e. i n s u c h cases the a p p l i c a t i o n o f d e f a m a t i o n laws s h o u l d be precluded completely.  Ibid, at p.26. 120  C H A P T E R 6: R e - T h i n k i n g the C a n a d i a n L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n  T h i s chapter deals w i t h the questions whether d e f a m a t i o n l a w i n C a n a d a has a c h i e v e d the correct b a l a n c e b e t w e e n f r e e d o m o f expression a n d the protection o f p e r s o n a l reputation, or whether  it needs  to b e m o d i f i e d i n order  to c o m p l y w i t h the Charter  a n d what  such a  m o d i f i c a t i o n m i g h t l o o k l i k e i n case it f o u n d to b e necessary. T h e attitude o f the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d i a n i n this respect w a s presented i n Hill v. Church of Scientology. T h e r e f o r e , I w i l l first o f a l l , r e v i e w this decisions. M y critical l o o k at the Hill case and m o r e g e n e r a l l y at the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n itself w i l l reveal that the c o m m o n l a w o f defamation, i n m y o p i n i o n , does not take f r e e d o m o f expression s u f f i c i e n t l y into consideration. I w i l l also discuss the issue o f Charter a p p l i c a t i o n to the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n and argue that the c o m m o n l a w s h o u l d b e subject to s !  o f the Charter just as statutory l a w . F i n a l l y ,  proposals for c h a n g i n g d e f a m a t i o n l a w i n order to constitutionalize it w i l l b e introduced.  A . Hill v. C h u r c h o f Scientology  T h e starting p o i n t for the question o f the Charter's impact o n C a n a d i a n d e f a m a t i o n l a w is Hill v. Church of Scientology^ where the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a f i n a l l y w a s asked to reconsider the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n i n the light o f the Charter protection o f f r e e d o m o f expression. T h e C o u r t , h o w e v e r , neither adopted the actual m a l i c e rule i n t r o d u c e d i n New York Times v. Sullivan, n o r the defence o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e f o u n d i n Theophanous v. Herald Further,  Weekly Times,  it d i d not f o l l o w the r a d i c a l a p p r o a c h o f a n absolute b a r o n d e f a m a t i o n  actions  suggested b y m i n o r i t i e s i n b o t h o f these cases. Instead, the S u p r e m e C o u r t refused to alter the  121  c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n a n d opted to retain the strict liability standard as the appropriate balance b e t w e e n reputation a n d f r e e d o m o f expression.  I. T h e Court's D e c i s i o n i n H i l l T h e p l a i n t i f f i n this case, M r . H i l l , w a s a l a w y e r e m p l o y e d w i t h the M i n i s t r y o f the A t t o r n e y G e n e r a l i n O n t a r i o . H e h a d acted for the C r o w n o n legal matters arising f r o m the seizure o f d o c u m e n t s b e l o n g i n g to the C h u r c h o f S c i e n t o l o g y a n d w a s a c c u s e d b y the latter o f h a v i n g v i o l a t e d court orders sealing these documents. A t a press conference c o u n s e l for the C h u r c h o f S c i e n t o l o g y a n n o u n c e d that contempt proceedings were b e i n g instituted against H i l l and read the contempt m o t i o n a l l e g i n g that H i l l h a d breached the order o f the court a n d h a d m i s l e d the j u d g e . B o t h allegations were factually untrue a n d the a p p l i c a t i o n f o r contempt was ultimately d i s m i s s e d . A f t e r H i l l w a s exonerated he sued the C h u r c h o f S c i e n t o l o g y a n d its l a w y e r for defamation. D u r i n g the trial the defendants c o n t i n u e d to attack the plaintiff, repeating the libel despite  prior  knowledge  that  the allegations  were  false,  and maintained  their  j u s t i f i c a t i o n . T h e j u r y a w a r d e d H i l l a total o f $ 1.6 m i l l i o n i n damages ($ 300,000 damages against b o t h defendants a n d $ 500,000 aggravated p u n i t i v e damages against  the C h u r c h o f S c i e n t o l o g y ) .  plea  of  general  damages as w e l l as $ 800,000  O n appeal the j u r y assessment was  a f f i r m e d . B e f o r e the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a the defendants c h a l l e n g e d the constitutionality o f the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n .  T h e first q u e s t i o n w a s , whether the c o m m o n l a w c o u l d be subject to Charter scrutiny at all. T h e Court affirmed actions  Dolphin Delivery  o f legislative,  i n h o l d i n g that s . 3 2 ( l ) restricts the Charter's a p p l i c a t i o n to the  executive a n d administrative  branches  o f government  a n d that the  constitutionality o f c o m m o n l a w rules a n d p r i n c i p l e s c a n o n l y b e e x a m i n e d i n so far as the  1  (1995), 126 D.L.R. (4th) 129. 122  c o m m o n l a w is the basis o f s o m e g o v e r n m e n t a l action w h i c h a l l e g e d l y i n f r i n g e d a Charter right.  2  W i t h respect to this, the C o u r t h e l d that neither H i l l ' s e m p l o y m e n t as a p u b l i c o f f i c i a l itself, n o r the fact that the d e f a m a t o r y statements were m a d e i n relation to acts undertaken i n his o f f i c i a l capacity,  automatically  engaged  the Charter. F u r t h e r m o r e ,  there w a s not to be a d i v i s i o n  between h i s p e r s o n a l reputation a n d h i s reputation as a p u b l i c o f f i c i a l . Instead,  the C o u r t  f o c u s e d o n H i l l ' s initiating the l i b e l suit i n response to the allegations i m p u g n i n g his o w n character, c o m p e t e n c e  a n d integrity. S i n c e he brought the action i n h i s p e r s o n a l capacity, not  instructed or o b l i g e d to do so b y the government, he w a s acting outside the scope o f his statutory  duties a n d independently of, as w e l l as distinct f r o m , h i s status as agent for the  government. A c c o r d i n g l y , the criteria for government action were not met.  However, in  Dolphin Delivery  it w a s also h e l d that the c o m m o n l a w c o u l d b e subjected to some  sort o f constitutional scrutiny i n the absence o f government action because o f s . 5 2 ( l ) o f the  Constitution Act, 1982. Dolphin Delivery, that  In this respect, the C o u r t i n  Hill  r e c o n f i r m e d the rule laid d o w n i n  the c o m m o n l a w s h o u l d be a p p l i e d and d e v e l o p e d i n a m a n n e r consistent  w i t h the values enshrined i n the C o n s t i t u t i o n a n d , thus, agreed to measure the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n against the Charter's u n d e r l y i n g v a l u e s .  3  It stressed the d i s t i n c t i o n between Charter rights a n d Charter values, e x p l a i n i n g that the first c o u l d not be asserted b y private litigants i n the absence o f government a c t i o n , and elucidated 4  R. W.S.D. U. v. Dolphin Delivery Ltd., [1986] 33 D.L.R. (4 ) 174, at p.195. For the application of the Charter also see chapter three above. Ibid, at p. 198.1 have already referred to this issue in chapter three. In Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto (supra n.l, at p. 157) it was held that while the cause of action is founded upon a Charter right when government action is challenged (the claimant alleges that the state has breached its constitutional duty, and the state, in turn, must justify this breach), private parties owe each other no constitutional duties and therefore cannot found their cause of action upon a Charter right. The party challenging the common law cannot allege that the common law violates a Charter right because Charter rights do not exist in  2  th  3 4  123  the consequences o f this distinction. O n e consequence was, that i n a c o n f l i c t between p r i n c i p l e s and values the traditional s . l analysis was not appropriate. Instead, a m o r e f l e x i b l e b a l a n c i n g , i.e. w e i g h i n g , o f the values at issue w a s n e c e s s a r y .  5  T h e values o f the Charter were said to  p r o v i d e the g u i d e l i n e s for any m o d i f i c a t i o n to the c o m m o n law. F u r t h e r m o r e , the court f a s h i o n e d an onus shift. It h e l d that the party a l l e g i n g that the c o m m o n law is inconsistent w i t h the Charter s h o u l d bear the onus o f p r o v i n g b o t h that the c o m m o n law threatens C h a r t e r values a n d that, w h e n these values are b a l a n c e d against other interests, the c o m m o n l a w s h o u l d b e m o d i f i e d . T h i r d l y , the S u p r e m e C o u r t , referring to  competing  6  R. v. Salituro ', h a d 1  r e c o g n i z e d that courts i n general  have the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f s c r u t i n i z i n g the c o m m o n law i n light o f the Charter a n d o f m a k i n g incremental changes w h e n appropriate i n order to have the c o m m o n l a w c o m p l y w i t h Charter values.  N e v e r t h e l e s s , it e m p h a s i z e d that far-reaching changes to the c o m m o n law have to b e  left to the legislatures.  H a v i n g d e t e r m i n e d that the c o m m o n law s h o u l d b e d e v e l o p e d i n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h the Charter's u n d e r l y i n g v a l u e s , the C o u r t went o n to c o n s i d e r whether the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n struck an appropriate b a l a n c e b e t w e e n f r e e d o m o f expression a n d the v a l u e o f p e r s o n a l reputation. A f t e r b r i e f l y r e c o g n i z i n g the importance o f f r e e d o m o f expression the C o u r t stressed that this right h a d n e v e r b e e n regarded as absolute a n d has o n o c c a s i o n g i v e n w a y to other c o m p e t i n g values. It was c l a r i f i e d , that f r e e d o m o f expression s h o u l d not p r e d o m i n a t e s i m p l y because it is protected  b y the Charter,  e s p e c i a l l y i n the case o f defamatory  expression.  Because  o f its  the absence of state action. The most the private litigant can do is argue that the common law is inconsistent with Charter values. Ibid, at p. 157. Ibid, at p. 157. Usually one party must prove a prima facie violation while the other bears the onus of defending it. [1991] 3 S.C.R. 654, at p.670: 'The judiciary should confine itself to those incremental changes which are necessary to keep the common law in step with the ... fabric of our society.' Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto (1995), 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 129, at p.156. In this respect s.52(l) needs to be kept in mind, which renders inoperative any law that is inconsistent with provisions of the Constitution. 5 6  7  8  th  124  considerable distance f r o m the core p r i n c i p l e s u n d e r l y i n g free expression, defamatory  speech  was regarded as particularly vulnerable. It was h e l d that defamatory statements are tenuously related to the c o r e values w h i c h underlie s.2(b). T h e C o u r t was o f the o p i n i o n that false and injurious statements are i n i m i c a l to the search for truth and cannot enhance self-development. They  discourage  participation i n p u b l i c  affairs  o f the  community,  are  detrimental  advancement o f these values, and h a r m f u l to the interests o f a free a n d democratic  to  society.  the  9  In the course o f the assessment o f the values to b e b a l a n c e d the C o u r t further r e a f f i r m e d the importance o f p e r s o n a l reputation to a person's s e l f - w o r t h a n d d i g n i t y . N o t i n g the  consistent  sanction o f d e f a m a t i o n across c o m m u n i t i e s a n d throughout history, p e r s o n a l reputation  was  declared to b e the fundamental f o u n d a t i o n o n w h i c h p e o p l e are able to interact w i t h each other in social environments.  10  T h e j u d g e s tied the i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation, a l t h o u g h not e x p l i c i t l y  protected b y the Charter, to the innate d i g n i t y o f the i n d i v i d u a l a n d associated it w i t h the right to p r i v a c y , w h i c h has b e e n a c c o r d e d constitutional protection i n s.8. T h u s , reputation was g i v e n a quasi-constitutional stature.  11  T h e C o u r t p r o c e e d e d to r e v i e w the d e c i s i o n i n  New York Times.  H e r e , it gave an  extensive  account o f A m e r i c a n s c h o l a r l y o p i n i o n c r i t i c i z i n g the actual m a l i c e rule, a n d added that this standard h a d b e e n rejected i n the U n i t e d K i n g d o m as w e l l as b y the A u s t r a l i a n H i g h C o u r t i n  Theophanous  v.  Herald Weekly Times.  In v i e w o f this, it refused the a d o p t i o n o f the remedy  p r o p o s e d b y the U . S . S u p r e m e C o u r t .  Ibid, at pp. 159-160. Ibid, at pp. 161-162. " Ibid, atp.163.  9  10  125  T h e j u d g e s p o i n t e d out that it w a s not u n d u l y onerous for p e o p l e to h a v e to ascertain the truth o f statements before their p u b l i c a t i o n , a n d that the p u b l i c is not w e l l served b y p e r m i t t i n g the circulation o f defamatory  facts o n matters o f p u b l i c interest.  A p a r t from that, the available  defences p r o v i d e d b y the law o f d e f a m a t i o n were regarded as sufficient to protect the public's interest i n free s p e e c h . F o r these reasons,  12  the C o u r t d i d not agree that the law f a i l e d to b a l a n c e appropriately the  interests o f free speech a n d the reputation o f i n d i v i d u a l s . It c o n c l u d e d that the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n w a s consistent w i t h Charter values and d i d not need to be m o d i f i e d .  H o w e v e r , the C o u r t was careful to absolve the law o f d e f a m a t i o n o n l y i n its a p p l i c a t i o n to the parties i n the action at bar. T h e c o n c l u s i o n was rather cautiously f o r m u l a t e d , s a y i n g that the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n , ' i n its a p p l i c a t i o n to the parties i n that action, c o m p l i e d w i t h the u n d e r l y i n g values o f the C h a r t e r . '  13  It c a n be inferred that j u d i c i a l reconsideration  o f the  c o m m o n l a w as it m i g h t a p p l y i n a different context is p o s s i b l e , w h i c h indicates that issues still r e m a i n for other cases w i t h different circumstances.  II. C r i t i c a l R e v i e w o f the D e c i s i o n i n H i l l T h i s d e c i s i o n is v u l n e r a b l e to  attack. T h e C o u r t d i d not  g i v e c o n v i n c i n g reasons  for its  c o n c l u s i o n o f rejecting any m o d i f i c a t i o n to the c o m m o n l a w . A d m i t t e d l y , the facts o f the case were  c o m p e l l i n g w i t h the  defendants' k n o w l e d g e o f the  falsity o f their  allegations.  This  p r o b a b l y explains the absence o f a careful and t h o r o u g h analysis o f the existing c o m m o n law and its alternatives. T h e debate i n the case was l i m i t e d to a d i s c u s s i o n between the  current  regulation o f d e f a m a t i o n a n d the actual m a l i c e standard. T h e C o u r t d i d not consider at all  Ibid, atp!69: 'Surely it is not required too much of individuals that they ascertain the truth of the allegations they publish. The law of defamation provides for the defences of fair comment and qualified privilege. Those who publish statements should assume a reasonable level of responsibility.' 12  126  whether a 'no-fault l a w ' w a s appropriate, a n d failed to g i v e consideration to other approaches s u c h as, for instance, a p l a i n n e g l i g e n c e standard. In order to distance itself f r o m the A m e r i c a n solution, the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a w a s s i m p l y d r i v e n into the opposite extreme. H o w e v e r , the reasons  o f f e r e d to j u s t i f y the precedence  o f reputation o v e r  free  expression  are not  persuasive a n d their weakness w i l l b e d e s c r i b e d i n the f o l l o w i n g .  1. D e f a m a t o r y Speech's W e a k C l a i m to C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Protection T h e C o u r t started b y d i s p a r a g i n g the value o f defamatory statements as a type o f expression s a y i n g they w e r e detrimental to the enhancement o f the values u n d e r l y i n g s.2(b) a n d therefore do not deserve m u c h protection. T h i s c o n c l u s i o n contrasts w i t h earlier f i n d i n g s . In  Irwin Toy  the C o u r t  d e f i n e d 'expression'  very  broadly,  stating  that  s.2(b)  extended  constitutional protection to a l l activity c o n v e y i n g , o r t r y i n g to c o n v e y a message, regardless o f its content a n d n o matter h o w o f f e n s i v e the message m a y b e to the m a j o r i t y . reaffirmed i n  R. v. Zundel , 15  14  T h i s h o l d i n g was  a case c o n c e r n i n g hate speech. T h e r e , the a c c u s e d w a s c o n v i c t e d o f  the c r i m i n a l o f f e n c e o f spreading false n e w s w h i c h he k n e w to b e injurious to the p u b l i c interest, contrary to section 181 o f the C r i m i n a l C o d e a n d the j u d g e s agreed that the particular section v i o l a t e d s.2(b) o f the Charter although it c o v e r e d o n l y deliberate falsehoods.  They  rejected the argument that the p r o h i b i t e d material d i d not further the purposes o f freedom o f expression, but instead, regarded deliberate falsehoods as d e s e r v i n g constitutional protection.  C r u c i a l for this d e c i s i o n w a s the d i f f i c u l t y o f assessing whether a statement is true or false for the p u r p o s e - o f d e t e r m i n i n g constitutional protection. T h e c o n c l u s i o n c o n c e r n i n g falsity c a n o n l y  Ibid, at p. 170. Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Quebec, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, at p.969, 'We cannot... exclude human activity from the scope of guaranteed free expression on the basis of the content or meaning being conveyed. Indeed, if the activity conveys or attempts to convey a meaning, it has expressive content and prima facie falls within the scope of the guarantee.' [1992] 2 S.C.R. 731. 13 14  15  127  be d r a w n b y referring to the contents o f the statement w h i c h w o u l d contravene the concept o f content n e u t r a l i t y .  16  In the Court's v i e w , the distinction between truth a n d falsity as the decisive  criterion for the determination o f whether a message is protected o r not was not advisable i n a constitutional context.  The  same basic i d e a s h o u l d a p p l y to defamatory statements w h e r e the question whether a  statement is defamatory o r not also c a n o n l y b e answered b y referring to its contents.  The  defamatory nature o f a n expression, h o w e v e r , does not change the fact that it c o n v e y s , or tries to c o n v e y a m e a n i n g , thus, that it has expressive content. A s h e l d b y the C o u r t , the content o f a statement s h o u l d not determine whether it falls w i t h i n s.2(b).  M o r e o v e r , the defamatory nature o f an allegation w i l l o n l y b e assessed at trial, u s u a l l y quite some time after the p u b l i c a t i o n . S a y i n g that a defamatory  statement has a w e a k c l a i m to  constitutional protection thus means that the scope o f expression i n s.2(b) w i l l be determined b y an  ex post  j u d i c i a l characterization.  Y e t , the f u n d a m e n t a l right o f f r e e d o m o f expression  certainly c o m p r i s e s m o r e than statements w h i c h are either p r o v e n factually accurate at trial, or do not injure someone's r e p u t a t i o n  17  - e s p e c i a l l y c o n s i d e r i n g the h o l d i n g i n  Irwin Toy that  all  messages are c o v e r e d b y s.2(b), as l o n g as they (try to) c o n v e y a m e a n i n g .  T h e f u n d a m e n t a l right to freedom o f expression is so important that e v e n those statements at the  McLachlin declared in the majority judgement in R. v. Zundel, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 731, at p.758 that the court should be entirely certain that there can be no justification for offering protection and that the 'criterion of falsity falls short of the certainty, given that false statements can sometimes have value and given the difficulty of conclusively determining total falsity.' Apart from that, false messages were held to also serve the values which freedom of expression seeks to promote, for instance the search for truth, since wrong information might lead to right conclusions. Denis Boivin, "Accommodating Freedom of Expression and Reputation in the Common Law of Defamation", (1997) 22 Queens Law Journal 229, at p.270. 16  17  128  far p e r i p h e r y o f its reach  are  entitled to constitutional p r o t e c t i o n .  18  T h e broad purposive  interpretation g i v e n to s.2(b), w h i c h is supported b y the language o f the Charter, supports the c o n c l u s i o n that defamatory speech must b e constitutionally protected. S u c h e x p r e s s i o n m a y arguably serve u s e f u l s o c i a l purposes. P r o t e c t i o n under s.2(b) is especially important statements  where about  p o l i t i c a l expression public  is c o n c e r n e d ,  o f f i c i a l s . A c c o r d i n g to  for instance,  the  democracy  i n the  case o f injurious  rationale  of  freedom  expression the l e g i t i m a c y o f g o v e r n m e n t requires the consent o f the citizens. Stories  of  about  p o l i t i c a l h a p p e n i n g s are an essential ingredient o f s u c h consent a n d s h o u l d therefore be treated i n a m o r e tolerant f a s h i o n i n order to g i v e the v o t i n g m e m b e r the fullest p o s s i b l e participation i n a democratic society. H e must be free to discuss and debate issues e v e n i f s u c h d i s c u s s i o n results i n defamatory speech. T h e r e f o r e , the scope o f acceptable c r i t i c i s m s h o u l d be d e f i n e d m o r e b r o a d l y w h e n p o l i t i c i a n s are c o n c e r n e d . In order to ensure that d e m o c r a c y c a n exist, p o l i t i c a l o p p o s i t i o n must b e a l l o w e d and i n the course o f o p p o s i t i o n defamatory speech is inevitable. In a v i g o r o u s debate o n contentious issues, for e x a m p l e , participants often use harsh w o r d s a n d try to u n d e r m i n e the c r e d i b i l i t y o f their opponents' ideas. Y e t , s u c h debate is essential to the maintenance a n d f u n c t i o n i n g o f democratic institutions.  M o r e o v e r , the c h e c k i n g f u n c t i o n o f free expression supports defamatory speech. If an official's abuse is i n d e e d addressed and c r i t i c i z e d this w i l l necessarily h a p p e n i n a defamatory f o r m . T o accuse s o m e o n e o f m i s c o n d u c t i n his o f f i c e w i l l i n e v i t a b l y l o w e r his prestige i n the esteem o f others a n d cause h i m to lose respect. H o w e v e r , p u b l i c scrutiny i n this respect is important in order to deter authorities from a b u s i n g their p o w e r , a n d defamatory accusations are j u s t i f i e d a n y w a y i f they are true. E v e n outside the p o l i t i c a l arena the protection o f defamatory e x p r e s s i o n is j u s t i f i e d . A f t e r a l l , it  18  David Lepofsky, "Making Sense of the Libel Chill Debate: Do Libel Laws 'Chill' the Exercise of Freedom of 129  is p o s s i b l e that p u b l i s h e d imputations are true, i n w h i c h case they generally contribute to the d i s c o v e r y o f truth w i t h respect to their subject matter. In v i e w o f the d i f f i c u l t y o f determining whether a c o m m u n i c a t i o n is true o r false it is not advisable to s i m p l y e x c l u d e a w h o l e type o f expression f r o m constitutional protection. A s M i l l stated, the d e c i s i o n to suppress expression o n the grounds o f its falsity requires i n f a l l i b i l i t y o n the part o f the d e c i s i o n m a k e r . A p a r t f r o m that, certain o p i n i o n s are i n c a p a b l e o f b e i n g p r o v e d either true o r false but c a n still be valuable.  F u r t h e r m o r e it is important w i t h regard to i n d i v i d u a l s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t to a c k n o w l e d g e that the i n d i v i d u a l must be free to c o m m u n i c a t e h i s o w n j u d g e m e n t s o n circumstances  a n d persons,  even i f the courts w i l l regard t h e m as defamatory. C o m m u n i c a t i o n is f u n d a m e n t a l to h u m a n existence. It is important f o r the welfare o f the i n d i v i d u a l to relate to others a n d to exchange ideas. S u c h a n e x c h a n g e contributes to the f o r m i n g o f one's o p i n i o n s a n d thus to a c h i e v i n g greater a u t o n o m y .  In Irwin  Toy it h a d b e e n r e c o g n i z e d that f r e e d o m o f expression was  entrenched i n the C o n s t i t u t i o n to ensure that 'everyone c a n manifest their thoughts, o p i n i o n s , beliefs, i n d e e d a l l e x p r e s s i o n o f the heart a n d m i n d , h o w e v e r u n p o p u l a r , distasteful or contrary to the m a i n s t r e a m . '  19  Thus,  statements d o p l a y a justifiable role i n a d e m o c r a t i c  defamatory  society.  T h e y are  supported b y the rationales o f f r e e d o m o f expression and cannot carelessly be e x c l u d e d f r o m the scope o f this f u n d a m e n t a l right.  A p a r t f r o m that, the m a i n issue is not whether defamatory expression has any inherent value but h o w m u c h r o o m is to be left to citizens a n d the m e d i a to m a k e errors, w h i c h m a y result i n false and  defamatory  statements,  i n c o m m e n t i n g about matters o f important p u b l i c  Expression?", (1994) 4 N.J.C.L. 169, at p. 190. Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Quebec, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927, atp.968. 130 19  interest  or  concern/  0  C e r t a i n l y , injurious c r i t i c i s m m a y c o n t a i n factual errors a n d cause h a r m to people's  reputations. H o w e v e r , a critical statement m i g h t o n l y accidentally b e b a s e d o n errors. T h e speaker m i g h t h a v e stated an honest b e l i e f i n a m i s t a k e n state o f facts, o r m i g h t have p u b l i s h e d m i n o r inaccuracies. T h i s circumstance alone s h o u l d not b e sufficient to c o n s i d e r a w h o l e type o f expression  generally  to b e d e s e r v i n g  less  protection.  While  the h a r m  caused  c o u n t e r b a l a n c i n g interest it does not j u s t i f y c o m p l e t e d e p r i v a t i o n o f p r o t e c t i o n .  A t any rate, the j u d g e s i n  Zundel  creates  a  21  h a d c o n c l u d e d that the assessment o f h a r m f u l consequences is  m o r e p r o p e r l y d o n e under the Charter s . l ' s reasonable l i m i t c l a u s e .  22  T h e same approach is  f o l l o w e d b y the G e r m a n courts, where o n l y those factual assertions w h i c h are e v i d e n t l y false (to the k n o w l e d g e o f the speaker)  at the time o f their utterance,  are e x c l u d e d  from  the start.  O t h e r w i s e , the extent o f constitutional protection o f defamatory statements w i l l b e determined w i t h i n the p r o p o r t i o n a l i t y stage o f the article 5 analysis. In v i e w o f the above,  defamatory  statements s h o u l d not b e e x c l u d e d f r o m the scope o f f r e e d o m o f expression per se i n order to let the protection o f reputation p r e v a i l .  2. D u t y to ascertain the T r u t h o f A l l e g a t i o n s The Court in  Hill  p r o c e e d e d to say that it was not r e q u i r i n g too m u c h o f i n d i v i d u a l s that they  ascertain the truth o f the allegations they p u b l i s h .  23  T h i s suggests that v e r i f i c a t i o n o f statements  p r i o r to their p u b l i c a t i o n i n fact c a n determine their truth o r falsity. Y e t , it is o n l y a n assumption that investigations w i l l a v o i d the representation o f false f a c t s .  24  T o c h e c k c o m m u n i c a t i o n s for  Raymond Brown, The Law of Defamation in Canada, (2 ed., vol.4, Carswell, Toronto, 1999), at p.27-8 (in note 1 le). This problem will be further discussed later on. June Ross, "The Common Law of Defamation Fails to Enter the Age of the Charter", (1996) 35 Alta.L.Rev. 117, atp.133. [1992] 2 S.C.R. 731,atp.759. Hill v. Church of Scientology, supra n.l, atp!69. Boivin, supra n.17, at p.241.  2 0  nd  21  2 2 23  2 4  131  their truth w i l l help i n several w a y s . In case the investigation reveals their falsity, allegations c a n be m o d i f i e d i n order to represent reality. If they are f o u n d to b e essentially true, they c a n be p u b l i s h e d regardless o f their defamatory nature without fear. H o w e v e r , it is also p o s s i b l e that extensive i n q u i r i e s do not u n c o v e r the falsity o f what afterwards was p u b l i s h e d . T h e n the efforts undertaken to ascertain the truth o f allegations w o u l d not prevent the p u b l i c a t i o n o f defamatory statements, a n d , under  Hill,  liability w i l l be i m p o s e d o n the publisher.  T h e C o u r t d e m a n d e d o n the one h a n d that 'those w h o p u b l i s h statements s h o u l d assume reasonable l e v e l o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t y '  25  a  i n d i c a t i n g some k i n d o f n e g l i g e n c e standard. O n the other  hand, it i g n o r e d the p o s s i b i l i t y that a p e r s o n m a y have acted reasonably a n d d i d not depart  from  the standard o f strict liability.  3. S u f f i c i e n c y o f the C o m m o n L a w D e f e n c e s Another justification i n  Hill  for rejecting any m o d i f i c a t i o n o f the c o m m o n law o f defamation  was that it p r o v i d e s for defences i n appropriate cases and thereby restores an adequate balance between the c o m p e t i n g values o f reputation and f r e e d o m o f expression. T h e c o m m o n law defences h a v e i n d e e d b e e n d e v e l o p e d w i t h a v i e w to r e s o l v i n g tensions b e t w e e n the r e c o g n i t i o n o f freedom o f e x p r e s s i o n a n d the necessity o f protecting the i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation from injury. Yet,  the  court  d i d not  take  into  consideration  the  limited  scope  of  the  defences.  A  c o m m u n i c a t i o n has to meet a n u m b e r o f c o n d i t i o n s i n order to enjoy the protection offered b y the defences a n d partly these c o n d i t i o n s are connected w i t h a great degree o f uncertainty.  A c c o r d i n g to the defence o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n a p e r s o n is permitted to speak the truth about another regardless h o w d a m a g i n g it m a y be. T h i s appears to be a strong a f f i r m a t i o n o f the value o f  132  f r e e d o m o f expression. T h e reason f o r this defence is that a p l a i n t i f f s reputation w h i c h is d a m a g e d b y the truth is not w o r t h y o f protection b y the law. H o w e v e r , s o m e aspects reduce its significance.  Foremost,  falsity is p r e s u m e d a n d truth must b e p r o v e d b y the defendant o n the balance o f  probabilities. T h i s is p r o b l e m a t i c i n so far as truth often is difficult to establish i n v i e w o f the rigorous evidentiary rules a n d standards o f p r o o f that a p p l y i n court p r o c e e d i n g s . problems  m a y arise.  F o r instance,  a witness  m a y refuse  to testify  f o r fear  26  Practical  o f negative  consequences, o r m i g h t lack c r e d i b i l i t y i n the eyes o f the j u r y . A p a r t f r o m this, n o consideration is p a i d to the honesty o r g o o d intentions o f the p e r s o n w h o c o m m u n i c a t e d the statement. F i n a l l y , p l e a d i n g truth is treated as a r e p u b l i c a t i o n o f the d e f a m a t i o n i n case the defendant fails to substantiate h i s c l a i m o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n . T h e n he m a y face increased damages. T h e r e f o r e , it does carry s o m e risks to p l e a d this d e f e n c e .  27  Q u a l i f i e d P r i v i l e g e also places s o m e obstacles i n the w a y o f the defendant since a n u m b e r o f requirements h a v e to b e f u l f i l l e d . W h i l e the general p r i n c i p l e s o f this defence m a y appear to be b r o a d it has b e e n a p p l i e d rather i n f l e x i b l y i n the past. T h e speaker has to discharge s o m e legal, m o r a l , o r s o c i a l duty, o r pursue s o m e private interest to  communicate  i n f o r m a t i o n to persons  with  a reciprocal  duty  o r interest  to hear  that  i n f o r m a t i o n . N e c e s s a r y is a legitimate interest i n g i v i n g i n f o r m a t i o n a n d a m u t u a l interest i n r e c e i v i n g it. T h e p r i v i l e g e is not extended easily but requires a c o m p e l l i n g p u b l i c p o l i c y reason to b e permitted. H o w e v e r , there is n o list o f discrete occasions to w h i c h the p r i v i l e g e attaches.  Hill v. Church of Scientology, supra n. 1, at p. 169. Charles Tingley, "Reputation, Freedom of Expression and the Tort of Defamation in the United States and Canada: a Deceptive Polarity", (1999) 37 Alta.L.Rev. (3-4) 620, at p.625; Lewis Klar, "If you don't have anything good to say about someone...", published in David Schneiderman, Freedom of Expression and the Charter, (Carswell, Calgary, 1991), at p.266. 25  2 6  133  In the cases, a m u l t i t u d e o f diverse situations c a n be f o u n d w h i c h do not offer clear and predictable rules as to w h e n an o c c a s i o n is regarded as p r i v i l e g e d . A defendant c a n never be certain w h e r e the court w i l l choose to d r a w the line b e t w e e n relationships that enjoy q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e a n d those that do not.  A c c o r d i n g l y , a defendant often cannot k n o w beforehand  whether a q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e applies i n his case o r not, m u c h less, what the scope o f his potential defence w i l l be.  T h e latter is important since it is c o n s i d e r e d to b e an excess o f p r i v i l e g e to p u b l i s h i n f o r m a t i o n to an audience, a p o r t i o n o f w h i c h has no legitimate interest i n it. In that case, the p r i v i l e g e w i l l be lost e v e n i f the o r i g i n a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n was p r i v i l e g e d w i t h regard to a s m a l l e r group. T h e p r i v i l e g e w i l l also b e lost i f i n f o r m a t i o n unrelated to the p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n is related, or it c a n b e defeated b y m a l i c e . In this respect it is p r o b l e m a t i c a l that m a l i c e i n c l u d e s every i m p r o p e r p u r p o s e that is not connected to the p u r p o s e for w h i c h the p r i v i l e g e was g i v e n . T h i s means that m a l i c e is tested b y the publisher's attitude toward the p e r s o n d e f a m e d . T h e emphasis is not o n the question whether the p u b l i s h e r b e l i e v e d i n the truth or falsity o f his material but whether he was m o t i v a t e d b y a n y i l l p u r p o s e w h i c h m a k e s the a v a i l a b i l i t y o f the defence  even m o r e  difficult for the defendant.  A t any rate, the defence o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e is not available for the m e d i a w h e n an issue o f p u b l i c interest is represented, i.e. the law refuses to a c k n o w l e d g e that the m e d i a have any special duty or interest i n c o m m u n i c a t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n to the w o r l d at large. T h e mere fact that the subject matter is o f general c o n c e r n is not sufficient to g r o u n d a defence o f qualified p r i v i l e g e . T h u s , the m o s t important relationship i n the context o f d e f a m a t i o n , the one between m e d i a a n d p u b l i c w i t h regard to matters o f p u b l i c interest,  27  Philip Osborne, The Law of Torts, (Irwin Law, Toronto, 2000), at p.362. 134  is e x c l u d e d f r o m the  defence.  E s p e c i a l l y w i t h respect to p o l i t i c a l debate it is hard to understand w h y the electorate should not have a legitimate interest i n the affairs o f g o v e r n m e n t presented to t h e m b y the m e d i a w h o are i n the p o s i t i o n to p r o v i d e s u c h i n f o r m a t i o n . T h i s contravenes the c o n c e p t i o n that d e m o c r a c y rests f i n a l l y o n the citizens and their consent a n d that the citizens must be free to discuss issues o f p u b l i c i m p o r t a n c e i n order to be able to m a k e intelligent d e c i s i o n s .  29  F a i r c o m m e n t also m a k e s h i g h demands o f the defendant. T h i s defence is said to reflect the law's r e c o g n i t i o n o f honest c r i t i c i s m as an aspect o f free speech a n d applies to matters o f p u b l i c interest. In order to succeed, the defendant first must p r o v e that the statement p u b l i s h e d was truly a c o m m e n t or o p i n i o n a n d not one o f fact. T h e n , the statement must be based o n a substratum o f facts, n a m e l y true facts, w h i c h were i n existence at the time the statement was m a d e , a n d it must c o n c e r n a matter o f p u b l i c interest. F i n a l l y , it must b e seen as fair, w h i c h i n this context m e a n s  honest.  S o l o n g as the representation  is an honest  assessment  by  the  reviewer, it is protected, e v e n i f it contains strong language a n d harsh c r i t i c i s m . If, however, the defendant acted w i t h m a l i c e , for instance out o f personal v i n d i c t i v e n e s s or without honest b e l i e f i n the truth o f the c o m m e n t , the defence w i l l fail. T h u s , one cannot necessarily express  one's  o w n genuine o p i n i o n . T h i s c o n c e p t i o n is v e r y m u c h u n l i k e the G e r m a n i d e a that statements o f o p i n i o n deserve p r e s u m p t i v e protection a n d w i l l s e l d o m b e h e l d to be o f secondary importance i n c o m p a r i s o n w i t h reputation. T h e absence o f just one o f the elements o f fair c o m m e n t has the c o n s e q u e n c e that the defence w i l l be rejected. In v i e w o f this, p l e a d i n g fair c o m m e n t i n v o l v e s a considerable uncertainty as to the l i k e l i h o o d o f b e i n g successful. T o b e g i n w i t h , the distinction b e t w e e n a statement o f fact and a statement o f  comment  o n fact is not an easy one to m a k e . T h e uncertainty contained i n the  Tingley, supra n.26, at p.625; Osborne, supra n.27, at p.364. I will come back to this problem later on when discussing the proposal that the media should be conferred qualified privilege under the heading of'Proposals for Change'. 28  29  135  defence  itself,  as w e l l  as the conservative  d i s i n c e n t i v e to p u b l i s h i n g m a t e r i a l .  30  attitude  o f courts  towards  its use, p r o v i d e s a  C o u r t s have e v e n gone so far as h o l d i n g a newspaper  liable for a c o m m e n t p u b l i s h e d i n a letter to the editor due d o the lack o f honest b e l i e f i n the allegations o n the part o f the newspaper, i.e. because the newspaper d i d not share the o p i n i o n o f the letter w r i t e r .  31  4. R e j e c t i o n o f the A c t u a l M a l i c e R u l e In a next step the C o u r t i n  Hill  referred to A m e r i c a n a c a d e m i c a n d j u d i c i a l c r i t i c i s m o f the  actual m a l i c e rule i n order to reject this standard a n d to j u s t i f y its d e c i s i o n to m a i n t a i n the existing r e g i m e . A r g u m e n t s against  New York Times  were d e s c r i b e d extensively, without n o t i n g  that the cited critics d i d not contemplate a return to the state o f the c o m m o n l a w that existed p r i o r to  New York Times. Instead,  they a c k n o w l e d g e d that the ' o l d ' c o m m o n l a w d i d not give  adequate scope f o r f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n .  32  In order to warrant u p h o l d i n g strict liability, the S u p r e m e C o u r t also cited the H o u s e o f L o r d s decision i n  Derbyshire County Council v. Times Newspapers Ltd?  H i g h Court i n  3  Theophanous v. Herald Weekly Times Ltd.  34  as w e l l as the A u s t r a l i a n  B o t h cases were intended to serve as  examples o f important courts i n the c o m m o n l a w w o r l d r e f u s i n g to adopt the actual m a l i c e approach. H o w e v e r , the C o u r t chose to ignore the fact that the courts  i n these cases d i d  r e c o g n i z e the p u b l i c interest i n u n i n h i b i t e d p u b l i c c r i t i c i s m o f g o v e r n m e n t a l b o d i e s o n the one hand,  a n d the c h i l l i n g  effect  d e f a m a t i o n l a w has o n free s p e e c h o n the other h a n d . T h e  Klar, supra n.26, at p.267. Chernesky v. Armadale Publishers Ltd. (1979), 90 D.L.R. (3 ) 321; see chapter two. Tingley, supra n.26, at pp.629 and 647; Boivin, supra n.17, at p.257; Ross, supra n.21, at p.134. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court does under no circumstances impose liability without fault despite the controversy about the actual malice standard. The principle that some kind of fault is necessary was established in Gertz v. Robert Welsh Inc. (1974), 418 U.S. 323. [1993] 1 All. E.R. 1011. (1994), 124 A.L.R. 1. 3 0 31  rd  3 2  3 3  3 4  136  A u s t r a l i a n H i g h C o u r t e v e n m o v e d i n the d i r e c t i o n o f the  New York Times  rule b y adopting a  standard s i m i l a r to the actual m a l i c e rule but w i t h some m o d i f i c a t i o n s - despite the absence o f a n express constitutional protection o f f r e e d o m o f expression i n A u s t r a l i a . A p a r t f r o m that, it is not sufficient to s i m p l y reject the s o l u t i o n adopted b y another country and use this rejection itself as an argument for one's o w n p o s i t i o n .  5. C o n c l u s i o n T h u s , the reasons g i v e n i n the the a c c o m m o d a t i o n f o u n d i n  Hill  j u d g e m e n t r e m a i n u n i d i m e n s i o n a l , f o c u s s i n g e x c l u s i v e l y on  New York Times  as i f there was n o other p o s s i b l e response to the  tension between f r e e d o m o f expression a n d personal reputation than the actual m a l i c e rule. T h e C o u r t s i m p l y chose  between this rule a n d the existing c o m m o n l a w , without taking into  consideration the consequences o f strict liability i n a 'worst case' scenario w h e r e the defendant exercised reasonable care p r i o r to p u b l i s h i n g material w h i c h he b e l i e v e d to b e true but w h i c h was later f o u n d to be false a n d d e f a m a t o r y .  35  A s a result, s.2(b) was d e n i e d the significance it  s h o u l d have at least w i t h respect to expression central to its core purposes. T h e protection o f reputation w a s o v e r - e m p h a s i z e d .  T h a t the j u d g e s f o r m u l a t e d their c o n c l u s i o n rather c a r e f u l l y , referring to the 'application to the parties i n this action' indicates that they themselves m a y not h a v e felt quite c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h their d e c i s i o n a n d w a n t e d to leave r o o m for further reconsideration o f the c o m m o n law o f defamation.  This  way  they  acknowledged  that  issues  still  remain  open.  The  current  a c c o m m o d a t i o n o f the interests i n reputation a n d free speech therefore is subject to adjustment i f a c o m p e l l i n g case for change can b e m a d e . A t the same time, h o w e v e r , the d e c i s i o n i n  Hill  m i n i m i z e d the i m p a c t o f the Charter o n the j u d i c i a l d e v e l o p m e n t o f d e f a m a t i o n law and p o s e d  137  barriers for future cases w i t h respect to the c o m m o n law's r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h freedom  of  expression.  B . T h e A p p l i c a t i o n o f the C h a r t e r to C o u r t O r d e r s a n d the C o m m o n L a w  O n e c r u c i a l issue remains w i t h regard to the d e c i s i o n i n  Hill:  the fact that the Charter d i d not  a p p l y to the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n . T h e question o f the Charter's application is not s p e c i f i c a l l y related to the tension between f r e e d o m o f expression a n d p e r s o n a l reputation but rather is a general p r o b l e m c o n c e r n i n g the Charter's impact. N e v e r t h e l e s s , this aspect is o f importance  because  the  Court's refusal as  to  the  Charter's  a p p l i c a t i o n also  supports  my  c o n c l u s i o n that f r e e d o m o f expression is not v a l u e d e n o u g h b y C a n a d i a n courts i n libel actions. T h e p r o b l e m w i t h respect to Charter application c o m p r i s e s o n the one h a n d the question w h y court orders a n d procedures are not regarded as o f 'governmental nature' i n the context o f s . 3 2 ( l ) o f the Charter, and, o n the other h a n d , w h y the c o m m o n l a w is not subject to Charter scrutiny i n the same w a y statutes are.  O n the basis o f s . 3 2 ( l ) o f the Charter it has been argued that the C h a r t e r is intended to apply o n l y to disputes i n w h i c h government s o m e h o w is i n v o l v e d . In  Dolphin Delivery  M c l n t y r e J.  actually d e t e r m i n e d to w h o m i n particular s . 3 2 ( l ) extends the reach o f the Charter. In his opinion,  this  section  addressed  the  legislative,  executive  and  administrative branches  government, regardless o f whether or not their action is i n v o k e d i n p u b l i c or private l i t i g a t i o n .  of 36  H e inferred this c o n c l u s i o n from a textual analysis o f the section i n question w h i c h seems to be  Boivin, supra n.17, at p.232. [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573, at p.598. In this case the issue was whether an injunction granted under common law authority prohibiting secondary picketing infringed s.2(b).  35  36  138  rather artificial. A l l e g e d l y , s . 3 2 ( l ) treats Parliament a n d the Legislatures as separate or specific branches o f g o v e r n m e n t , distinct f r o m the executive b r a n c h o f g o v e r n m e n t because it e x p l i c i t l y mentions the P a r l i a m e n t a n d government o f C a n a d a a n d the legislatures a n d governments o f the P r o v i n c e s . H e h e l d that the w o r d 'government' i n this context does not refer to the government i n its generic sense - as i n the w h o l e o f the g o v e r n m e n t a l apparatus o f the state - but to a b r a n c h of  the  government.  Since  the  word  'government'  followed  the  words  'Parliament'  and  'Legislature' it w a s seen as referring to the executive or administrative b r a n c h , the sense in w h i c h one g e n e r a l l y speaks o f the g o v e r n m e n t .  37  It is, h o w e v e r , also p o s s i b l e to a p p l y a different interpretation to s . 3 2 ( l ) b y r e a d i n g it i n the light o f s . 5 2 ( l ) , w h i c h p r o v i d e s for the p r i m a c y o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n o v e r any C a n a d i a n law. First o f all, the w o r d i n g i n s . 3 2 ( l ) does not restrict the Charter's a p p l i c a t i o n to the legislatures and Parliament 'only'. In contrast to s . l , a c c o r d i n g to w h i c h the guarantees set out i n the Charter are subject 'only' to s u c h reasonable limits etc.,  s . 3 2 ( l ) does not use this c o n f i n i n g term. T h e  absence o f the w o r d 'only' therefore is significant and c a n be l i n k e d to the historical context o f the change i n the constitutional system o f g o v e r n m e n t brought about b y the Charter. B e f o r e the enactment o f the  Constitution Act, 1982 one  o f the p r e v a i l i n g features o f Canada's C o n s t i t u t i o n  was parliamentary s u p r e m a c y . B u t the Charter, contained i n the n e w C o n s t i t u t i o n , was intended to constrain the s u p r e m a c y o f Parliament. T h e r e f o r e , it w a s necessary to m a k e clear that i n certain cases this s u p r e m a c y n o longer existed. S . 3 2 ( l ) and s . 5 2 ( l ) w e r e i n c l u d e d i n order to m a k e the Charter's a p p l i c a t i o n to g o v e r n m e n t u n e q u i v o c a l .  38  S e e n i n this light, s . 3 2 ( l ) does not  Ibid, atp.598. Michael Doody, "Freedom of the Press, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a New Category of Qualified Privilege", (1983) Can. Bar Review 124, at p.137. Doody went even further and created an argument for the Charter's application to private litigation in general proceeding from this interpretation. He argues that private parties were and still are (during the post-Charter era) all subject to the general law. There was no need to specifically insert a section in the Constitution asserting that the benefits and obligations of the Charter apply to them because they simply need invoke some section of the general law and then invoke the enforcement section 3 7  3 8  139  support the textual j u s t i f i c a t i o n for l i m i t i n g the scope o f the Charter's a p p l i c a t i o n f o u n d in  Dolphin.  A t any rate, it is a c o m m o n p e r c e p t i o n that courts a n d their processes f o r m a n integral part o f the g o v e r n m e n t apparatus, a n d that court orders, as w e l l as state processes to enforce such orders, are f o r m s o f g o v e r n m e n t a c t i o n .  39  A s described i n chapter four, court d e c i s i o n s are regarded as  state action i n G e r m a n constitutional l a w , as acts o f p u b l i c authority, fit to a l l o w a constitutional c o m p l a i n t . T h e three branches o f government, n a m e l y the legislature, the executive and the j u d i c i a r y , are e x p l i c i t l y m e n t i o n e d i n article 1 o f the G e r m a n B a s i c L a w as b e i n g b o u n d b y the basic rights. T h e U n i t e d States also regard actions o f the j u d i c i a l b r a n c h o f g o v e r n m e n t as 'government' o r 'state a c t i o n ' .  40  T h e S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a itself has a c k n o w l e d g e d that the  j u d i c i a r y is part o f g o v e r n m e n t .  41  Y e t , a c c o r d i n g to  Dolphin Delivery  g o v e r n m e n t seems to be  r e d u c e d to t w o branches, the legislative a n d executive. F o r the p u r p o s e o f Charter application actions o f the courts are not regarded as 'governmental action'. C o u r t s seem to be something apart f r o m g o v e r n m e n t , although c l e a r l y not private actors.  In fact, this result is discordant w i t h the Charter's o w n content. T h e Charter contains several rights w h i c h the courts alone c a n i m p l e m e n t (or deny) a n d w h i c h w o u l d not m a k e sense i f they d i d not a p p l y to the courts. T h e p r o v i s i o n s i n the category 'legal rights' particularly address the courts, s u c h as s.7 a n d s . l 1(d) w h i c h protect the right o f a c r i m i n a l accused to a fair trial or s . l 1(e) that protects the right to reasonable b a i l .  4 2  T h e s e rights are u l t i m a t e l y i n the competence  o f and c a n o n l y b e p r o v i d e d (or denied) b y the courts. T o say that the actions o f the courts  (s.24(l)) in an attempt to obtain a remedy. See also Darlene Madott, "Libel Law, Fiction, and the Charter", (1983) 21 Osgoode Hall L.J. 741, atpp.758-761. Brian Etherington, "Notes of Cases", (1987) Canadian Bar Review 818, at p.834. New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, at p.264. Fraser v. Public Service Commission, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 455. 39  40 41  140  cannot b e subject to Charter scrutiny contradicts the text a n d content o f these p r o v i s i o n s . Indeed, M c l n t y r e h i m s e l f stated i n  Dolphin Delivery  that 'courts are, o f course, b o u n d b y the  Charter as they are b o u n d b y a l l l a w ' a n d that it w a s their 'duty to a p p l y the l a w ' .  43  realization, h e rejected the i d e a that court orders are a n element o f g o v e r n m e n t a l necessary to i n v o k e the Charter.  T h u s , courts  Despite this intervention  are o b v i o u s l y n o t b o u n d i n their  role as  adjudicators at c o m m o n l a w .  H o w e v e r , subsequent cases partly u n d e r m i n e d this h o l d i n g b y characterizing common  l a w authority  the exercise o f  b y courts as p u b l i c i n nature i f that exercise c o n c e r n e d  prosecution o r took place i n a n effort to protect the court's p r o c e s s .  44  criminal  W h e n j u d g e s decide issues  relating to the c o m m o n l a w i n the context o f a c r i m i n a l trial o r o n b a i l e l i g i b i l i t y it is clear n o w that the Charter does a p p l y .  4 5  T h e r e the exercise o f c o m m o n l a w authority b y courts has been  r e c o g n i z e d as p u b l i c i n nature. S t i l l , the h o l d i n g i n Dolphin and was r e c o n f i r m e d i n  Delivery  has not b e e n abandoned  Hill.  O n e explanation g i v e n i n Dolphin  Delivery  f o r e x c l u d i n g actions o f the courts f r o m Charter  a p p l i c a t i o n w a s that courts act as neutral arbiters i n a p p l y i n g the l a w .  4 6  T h i s reflects a l o n g  outdated p r e m i s e o f legal f o r m a l i s m that j u d g e s are m e r e l y finders a n d declarers o f pre-existing c o m m o n l a w p r i n c i p l e s a n d rules  4  7  H o w e v e r , it does not take into c o n s i d e r a t i o n that courts are  p o l i c y makers, particularly w i t h respect to the c o m m o n l a w .  Lepofsky, supra n. 18, at p. 184. Dolphin Delivery, supra n.36, at p.600. In R. v. Swain, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 933 the Charter was applicable to the common law in criminal proceedings. Further examples for challenges to the common law in a criminal law context are R. v. Bernard, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 833 and Rahey v. The Queen, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 588. B.C.G.E.U. v. British Columbia, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 214 dealt with a judge's effort to protect the court's process. He issued an injunction on his own motion to prohibit picketing which might impede access to the courthouse. This injunction was subject to Charter scrutiny. For instance in R. v. Swain, ibid (right to be tried within reasonable time); Dagenais v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp., [1994] 3 S.C.R. 835; Thomson Newspapers Ltd. v. Canada, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 425. 4 2 43  4 4  4 5  46  Dolphin Delivery, supra n.36, at p.600. 141  The  a p p r o a c h taken i n  Dolphin Delivery  suggests that courts  actually are p l a c e d above  the  Charter i n their role as j u d i c i a l l a w m a k e r s under the c o m m o n law. C o u r t s w i t h non-elected and n o n - a c c o u n t a b l e j u d g e s c a n e x a m i n e decisions o f Parliament a n d legislatures for infringements o f Charter rights. Restrictions  o n s u c h rights w h i c h have b e e n i m p o s e d b y  democratically  elected legislatures are subject to legal scrutiny w h i l e v i o l a t i o n s caused b y the courts through court orders a n d through the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n o f c o m m o n l a w rules cannot b e c h a l l e n g e d . T h i s opens the p o s s i b i l i t y for a p e r s o n to use the p o w e r a n d processes o f the state to help h i m deny another person's Charter rights through court enforcement o f c o m m o n law r u l e s .  48  T h i s leads d i r e c t l y to the question w h y the j u d g e - m a d e c o m m o n l a w is i m m u n e f r o m Charter attack i n the absence o f additional g o v e r n m e n t a l action. The  s u p r e m a c y clause i n s . 5 2 ( l ) e x p l i c i t l y refers to 'any law' that is inconsistent w i t h the  p r o v i s i o n s o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n a n d stipulates that s u c h law is o f n o force a n d effect. W h i l e the Court in  Dolphin Delivery i n i t i a l l y  a c k n o w l e d g e d that the c o m m o n law is 'any law' i n this sense,  declaring it ' w h o l l y unrealistic and contrary  to the clear  language  employed in s.52(l)'  to  exclude the b o d y o f c o m m o n law, it c o m p l e t e l y u n d e r m i n e d this r u l i n g b y g o i n g o n to h o l d that the Charter w i l l o n l y a p p l y to the c o m m o n law where a g o v e r n m e n t a l actor is r e l y i n g o n it to infringe guaranteed r i g h t s .  49  T h e c o m m o n law itself, or a court order b a s e d o n the c o m m o n law,  is not a sufficient c o n n e c t i o n to government for Charter purposes. In effect, an important source o f l a w , the great b o d y o f c o m m o n law, w i l l be i m m u n e f r o m r e v i e w for i n c o n s i s t e n c y w i t h the Charter.  50  It c a n d e v e l o p inconsistently to the Charter w i t h the result o f i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y w i t h  s.52(l).  Brian Etherington, "Notes on Cases", Canadian Bar Review 1987, 818, at p.835. Lepofsky, supra n.18, at p.185; Etherington, ibid, at p.835. Dolphin Delivery, supra n.36, at pp.593 and 599. 142  The Court in  Hill  b a s e d its c o n c l u s i o n s w i t h regard to the Charter's a p p l i c a t i o n to the law o f  d e f a m a t i o n o n this h o l d i n g . It o n l y tested whether the p r i n c i p l e s o f the c o m m o n law, in the particular case o f the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n , were inconsistent w i t h Charter  values.  T h u s , ordinary  Charter scrutiny as it applies to statutes or other g o v e r n m e n t a l action w h i c h a l l e g e d l y infringe Charter  rights, was  not a p p l i c a b l e .  T h e differential treatment o f c o m m o n law a n d statute law, h o w e v e r , is not reasonable.  Many  statutes c o d i f y c o m m o n l a w causes o f action or rules, and once they take statutory f o r m they are subject  to  Charter  scrutiny.  In  government w a s m a d e through the  Coates v. The Citizen ,  for  51  Defamation Act o f N o v a  instance,  the  connection  to  S c o t i a w h i c h a l l o w e d and regulated  actions for d e f a m a t i o n a n d contained p r o v i s i o n s d e a l i n g w i t h the issues o f damages, m a l i c e and falsity. T h r o u g h these p r o v i s i o n s the L e g i s l a t u r e authorized action w h i c h consequently h a d to c o m p l y w i t h the Charter. T h e court h e l d that although the Charter does not a p p l y to private litigation, the fact that the A c t is a p r o v i n c i a l statute p r o v i d e s the necessary c o n n e c t i o n to a l l o w the a p p l i c a t i o n o f the Charter. T h u s , the same d e f a m a t i o n law c a n b e e x a m i n e d under the Charter i f it is enshrined i n legislation, but it w i l l be i m m u n i z e d from proper Charter r e v i e w i f it is left to the c o m m o n law. In order to a v o i d Charter attacks, the legislature s i m p l y has to leave the matter to the c o m m o n l a w .  The  courts  (or  others  who  5 2  exercise  legislatively granted  discretion)  create rules  resolution o f c o m p e t i n g private c l a i m s just as the legislature does a n d therefore  for  the  s h o u l d be  treated alike. Private relations are as l i k e l y to be g o v e r n e d b y statute as b y c o m m o n law and the desire for restricting C h a r t e r a p p l i c a t i o n to g o v e r n m e n t a l rather than private action does not  50 51 52  Etherington, supra n.47, at p.832. (1988), 85 N.S.R. (2 ) 146. Lepofsky, supra n. 18, at pp. 184, 185. nd  143  j u s t i f y the d i s t i n c t i o n between statute a n d c o m m o n law. T h i s point was w e l l understood i n  York Times.  New  Justice B r e n n a n h e l d that 'it matters not that that law has b e e n a p p l i e d in a c i v i l  action a n d that it is c o m m o n law o n l y , t h o u g h supplemented b y statute. T h e test is not the f o r m i n w h i c h state p o w e r has b e e n applied, but, whatever the f o r m , whether s u c h p o w e r has i n fact 53  been exercised.'  A s already argued above, courts do exercise state p o w e r , n o matter whether  they a p p l y statutes or c o m m o n law rules.  T h e S u p r e m e Court's c o n c e r n w i t h respect to w i d e n i n g the scope o f C h a r t e r application to virtually  all  private  understandable,  litigation  since  all  cases  must  end  with  an  e s p e c i a l l y against the b a c k g r o u n d that the extension  enforcement  order  o f the Charter's  is  reach  brings w i t h it an e x p a n s i o n o f the p o w e r and influence o f courts. H o w e v e r , the question o f what constitutes g o v e r n m e n t a l action is separate f r o m the question o f whether a n d h o w the Charter s h o u l d a p p l y to private litigation where a court enforces  a c o m m o n l a w rule. C e r t a i n l y , the  Charter s h o u l d not a p p l y i n the sense that it p r o v i d e s a n e w cause o f action to resolve the private dispute since it exists to regulate the relations between government a n d private persons and not those between e x c l u s i v e l y private persons.  A s the G e r m a n a p p r o a c h shows, it is p o s s i b l e to r e v i e w court decisions without u s i n g the B a s i c Law  as  the  f o u n d a t i o n for r e s o l v i n g actual  private  disputes.  T h e C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t in  G e r m a n y is restricted to e x a m i n i n g whether there is a v i o l a t i o n o f 'specific constitutional law' w h i l e the r e s o l u t i o n o f the actual dispute still ultimately depends o n the application o f the respective (private) law. T h e test is, whether the l o w e r court s u f f i c i e n t l y took into consideration the basic rights i n question i n a p p l y i n g the rules o f private l a w . I f the o r d i n a r y court failed i n the task o f c o n t e m p l a t i n g p o s s i b l e infringements, the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l C o u r t states that the d e c i s i o n  53  New York Times v. Sullivan, (1964), 376 U.S. 254, at p.265. 144  under c h a l l e n g e violates the B a s i c L a w and sends the case b a c k to the o r d i n a r y court for a new decision.  L i k e w i s e , the C h a r t e r s h o u l d a p p l y to court orders i n C a n a d a , e v e n i n p u r e l y private litigation, to p r e c l u d e j u d i c i a l enforcement o f Charter right v i o l a t i o n s , i.e. to prevent the p o s s i b i l i t y that a court order perpetuates  the infringement o f f u n d a m e n t a l rights c a u s e d b y a private  entity  through not a c k n o w l e d g i n g it. T h e starting p o i n t still is, that the i n j u r e d party m a y have a r e m e d y u n d e r statutory o r c o m m o n l a w regulating private relations i n case some action o f a private entity resulted i n a restraint o n o n e o f the injured party's c i v i l liberties. T h e r e w i l l not be a r e m e d y under the C h a r t e r to resolve this p r o b l e m .  5 4  T h e S u p r e m e C o u r t then c a n scrutinize the  statute o r c o m m o n l a w i n question i n order to test its consistency  w i t h the Charter. T h e  application o f s. 1 w i l l not create c o m p l i c a t i o n s w i t h respect to the c o m m o n law since limitations i m p o s e d b y c o m m o n law are p r e s c r i b e d b y l a w as w e l l .  F o r Hill this w o u l d have meant that the court h a d to go t h r o u g h the u s u a l s.2(b) analysis i n d e t e r m i n i n g whether the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n v i o l a t e d the defendant's right to f r e e d o m o f expression, i.e. it h a d to see whether the expression at issue w a s c o v e r e d b y the constitutional guarantee, whether there w a s a l i m i t a t i o n o f f r e e d o m o f expression a n d whether this limitation was a reasonable l i m i t , p r e s c r i b e d b y l a w , that c a n b e d e m o n s t r a b l y j u s t i f i e d i n a free and democratic society under s . l o f the Charter. In accordance  w i t h Irwin Toy a n d Zundel the C o u r t w o u l d h a v e h a d to a c k n o w l e d g e that  injurious ( a n d p o s s i b l y defamatory)  statements d o benefit from the protection p r o v i d e d b y  s.2(b). T h a t the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n restricts free  speech b y i m p o s i n g liability o n certain  c o m m u n i c a t i o n s a n d thereby is a v i o l a t i o n o f this right cannot b e doubted. F i n a l l y , the court  145  w o u l d have h a d to j u s t i f y this l i m i t a t i o n under s. 1.  Instead o f a p p l y i n g a v e r y  flexible,  rather arbitrary a n d s u p e r f i c i a l test to determine whether  d e f a m a t i o n l a w is consistent w i t h Charter values, as done i n Hill, the C o u r t w o u l d have been f o r c e d to d e f i n e the c o m m o n law's objective, a n d to see whether it p u r s u e d a pressing a n d substantial p u r p o s e , a n d whether it met the requirements o f the p r o p o r t i o n a l i t y test. A t this last stage the effects o f the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n o n f r e e d o m o f expression w o u l d have h a d to be c o n s i d e r e d a n d b a l a n c e d against the law's u n d e r l y i n g purpose. I f the p u r p o s e o f d e f a m a t i o n l a w is d e f i n e d as protecting personal reputation against injury, the measure adopted, n a m e l y the p u n i s h m e n t a n d thus deterrence o f defamatory speech, arguably is rationally connected to the law's objective. B u t it is d o u b t f u l whether the tort o f d e f a m a t i o n c o u l d h a v e b e e n regarded as i m p a i r i n g f r e e d o m o f expression n o m o r e than is necessary to a c c o m p l i s h its objective. In m y opinion,  the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n w o u l d not have  s u r v i v e d the m i n i m u m  i m p a i r m e n t test.  H o w e v e r , I w i l l e x p a n d u p o n this aspect i n the r e m a i n i n g part i n this chapter.  H a d the S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a d e c i d e d the case o n the basis o f the Oakes test that applies to statutory  law,  5 5  it m i g h t w e l l have c o m e to a different c o n c l u s i o n i n Hill as to whether the  c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n needs some adjustment i n order to c o m p l y w i t h the Charter. A t least the decision's focus w o u l d not have b e e n e x c l u s i v e l y o n the w i s d o m o f the actual standard.  See Etherington, supra n.47, at p.832.  146  malice  C . C r i t i c a l L o o k at the L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n  So  far,  the  Supreme  Court's d e c i s i o n i n  Hill,  the  decisive  d e c i s i o n w i t h respect  to  the  relationship between d e f a m a t i o n and the Charter, has b e e n c r i t i c i z e d . N o w it is time to cast s o m e light o n the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n itself, a n d to r e v i e w it m o r e generally i n terms o f its consistency w i t h s.2(b) o f the Charter.  T r a d i t i o n a l l y , d e f a m a t i o n l a w has tended to favour the protection o f reputation, and as s h o w n above the i m p a c t o f the Charter o n this c o m m o n law has b e e n m i n i m i z e d b y the S u p r e m e C o u r t in  Hill.  H o w e v e r , the current l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n as d e s c r i b e d i n chapter two contains  several  aspects w h i c h g i v e rise to the c o n v i c t i o n that it has not a c h i e v e d an appropriate balance between the o p p o s i n g interests o f free speech and reputation. In m y o p i n i o n it exhibits no c o n c e r n at all for b a l a n c i n g these values.  It has b e e n m e n t i o n e d before that the p l a i n t i f f has to establish three things i n order to have a  prima facie  cause o f action. H e has to s h o w that the material he c o m p l a i n s o f is defamatory, that  it refers to the p l a i n t i f f a n d that it has b e e n p u b l i s h e d to a third p e r s o n . I f the p l a i n t i f f succeeds i n demonstrating these elements, the falsity o f the defamatory statement w i l l be p r e s u m e d as w e l l as damages a n d m a l i c e o n the part o f the defendant. T h e defendant has the p o s s i b i l i t y o f p l e a d i n g certain defences p r o v i d e d b y the c o m m o n law, s u c h as j u s t i f i c a t i o n , p r i v i l e g e or fair c o m m e n t . In this c o n n e c t i o n he bears the b u r d e n o f p r o v i n g the respective requirements. T h e f o l l o w i n g e x a m i n a t i o n o f the ingredients m a k i n g out a d e f a m a t i o n action w i l l c o n f i r m the c o n c l u s i o n that the  existing r e g i m e  does  not  s u f f i c i e n t l y take s.2(b) o f the  Charter  into  The elements of the Oakes test have been indicated in the paragraph above. For a more detailed description see chapter three. 55  147  consideration.  I. D e f a m a t o r y N a t u r e o f the M a t e r i a l First o f a l l , the p l a i n t i f f must p r o v e that the w o r d s he c o m p l a i n s o f d e f a m e his reputation. M a t e r i a l is not o n l y then regarded as defamatory w h e n it causes serious h a r m to a person's reputation but also w h e n it w o u l d cause the p l a i n t i f f to lose any respect or esteem i n the eyes o f others.  The  threshold  to  begin  an  action  is  relatively  low,  especially  considering  the  c i r c u m s t a n c e that the court is not r e a l l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h whether the material actually d i d lower the p l a i n t i f f s reputation amongst those w h o were aware o f it. Instead, a hypothetical test o f whether the w o r d s are reasonably capable o f a defamatory m e a n i n g is applied. T h u s ,  the  p l a i n t i f f does not h a v e to p r o v e that the w o r d s c o m p l a i n e d o f are i n fact defamatory but o n l y that a reasonable a n d r i g h t - t h i n k i n g p e r s o n w o u l d understand t h e m as defamatory. G e n e r a l l y , courts w i l l c o n s i d e r almost a l l critical material as d e f a m a t o r y . 57  Productions  56  In  Hanly  v.  Pisces  •  , for instance, an honest letter r e s p o n d i n g to a request for reasons e x p l a i n i n g w h y  the defendant d i d not hire the p l a i n t i f f was c o n s i d e r e d to be d e f a m a t o r y w i t h regard to its contents s a y i n g that the p e r s o n i n question l a c k e d s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e , f a i l e d to p r o v i d e positive w o r k references a n d that there h a d b e e n unsatisfactory w o r k experiences. As  a result o f this b r o a d a p p r o a c h the f i e l d o f a p p l i c a t i o n for the  law o f defamation is  i m m e n s e l y extended. T h i s a p p r o a c h harbours the potential o f p u n i s h i n g a great n u m b e r o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n s w h i c h i n d e e d deserve protection b y a w a r d i n g damages a n d thereby restricting free speech too extensively.  In v i e w o f the defence o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n it has b e e n e x p l a i n e d that d e f a m a t i o n law protects the p l a i n t i f f s legitimate reputation a n d i f this reputation c a n be d a m a g e d b y the truth it is to that  148  extent u n w o r t h y o f protection b y the l a w . In  Watkin v. Hall  the p r i n c i p l e w a s established that  'the l a w w i l l not permit a m a n to recover damages i n respect o f an injury to a character w h i c h he either does not, or ought not, possess.' Y e t , it does not e v e n matter whether the p l a i n t i f f s reputation w a s i n fact affected b y the p u b l i c a t i o n . A n action for d e f a m a t i o n m a y e v e n be successful i f the persons m a d e aware o f the allegations d i d not understand t h e m i n a defamatory sense, d i d not b e l i e v e the imputations, or already h a d a l o w estimation o f the plaintiff. H o w can a reputation b e d a m a g e d i f the audience o f the p u b l i c a t i o n d i d not sense a n y defamation? C l e a r l y , the fact that material nevertheless m a y b e c o n s i d e r e d defamatory cannot be r e c o n c i l e d w i t h the p r i n c i p l e that the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n protects the 'deserved' reputation o f the i n d i v i d u a l f r o m 'injury'.  A n o t h e r p r o b l e m is that the defendant not o n l y has to take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the natural and ordinary m e a n i n g o f h i s w o r d s (as o p p o s e d to the m e a n i n g he i n t e n d e d to c o n v e y and w a s aware o f c o n v e y i n g ) but also f o r defamatory inferences reasonably d r a w n from those w o r d s e v e n i f he was  ignorant  o f the extrinsic  facts w h i c h m a d e  his apparently  innocent  communication  defamatory. It is almost i m p o s s i b l e f o r the defendant to estimate a n d to assess what the j u r y at trial w i l l c o n s i d e r as defamatory since he cannot take into account each a n d e v e r y eventuality.  II. P r e s u m p t i o n o f F a l s i t y With  regard  to m a k i n g out a  prima facie  cause  o f action  the truth  or  falsity o f the  c o m m u n i c a t i o n is o f n o relevance. I f the material is f o u n d to be defamatory, its falsity w i l l be p r e s u m e d . T h e r e f o r e , the p l a i n t i f f does not have to p r o v e that the defamatory w o r d s were false. H e is  56 57  58  prima facie  entitled to a g o o d reputation e v e n i f he does not deserve it. T h i s again  Klar, supra n.26, at p.263. [1981] 1 W.W.R. 369 (B.C.S.C.).  (1868), L.R. 3 Q.B. 396, atp.400. 149  contradicts the p r i n c i p l e that the l a w o n l y protects a reputation w h i c h the p l a i n t i f f indeed enjoys. T h e c o m m o n l a w requires the defendant to warrant the accuracy o f his material and makes h i m bear the risk o f not b e i n g able to c o n c l u s i v e l y p r o v e the truth o f his allegations i n court with the result that the p l a i n t i f f m a y be protected u n d e s e r v e d l y . C o n s i d e r i n g that the law's objective is to secure an i n d i v i d u a l ' s g o o d reputation, w h i c h requires that s u c h a reputation a n d integrity i n fact exists, falsity o f the material s h o u l d have to b e p r o v e d as a p r e c o n d i t i o n for r e c o v e r i n g damages.  T h e p r e s u m p t i o n o f falsity shows that the law o f d e f a m a t i o n ignores that a defamatory o p i n i o n m i g h t be v a l u a b l e . A s M i l l argued, the suppressed i d e a m a y p o s s i b l y be true or m a y contain a p o r t i o n o f truth a n d truth is m o r e l i k e l y to be f o u n d i f p e o p l e are e x p o s e d to various assertions. T o p r e s u m e that an o p i n i o n is false just because it is defamatory counteracts the purpose o f free expression to d i s c o v e r truth a n d also ignores the c h e c k i n g f u n c t i o n o f free speech w i t h regard to abuse o f authority.  III. P r e s u m p t i o n o f D a m a g e In the same w a y as it is p r e s u m e d that the p l a i n t i f f enjoys a g o o d reputation, it is p r e s u m e d that damage to this reputation has o c c u r r e d without taking the actual effect into account. T h e r e is no need to s h o w that the p l a i n t i f f has i n fact suffered actual monetary or other loss because the existence o f i n j u r y is p r e s u m e d from the m e r e fact o f p u b l i c a t i o n .  Admittedly,  it  is  impractical  and difficult  to  measure  the  actual  injurious effects  of  a  c o m m u n i c a t i o n o n a person's reputation. H o w e v e r , this does not j u s t i f y s i m p l y p r o c e e d i n g o n the a s s u m p t i o n that there must b e s o m e d a m a g e i n the ordinary course o f things. First o f all, before assessing damages the courts s h o u l d be strongly assured that the statement is indeed false. F a l s i t y is the p r e c o n d i t i o n that injury to the reputation c a n have o c c u r r e d at all. In spite o f 150  this, falsity w i l l not b e e x p l i c i t l y a f f i r m e d since it also is p r e s u m e d .  T h e p r e s u m p t i o n o f i n j u r y is particularly hard o n the defendant since it cannot be rebutted. A s said before it does not affect the f i n d i n g o f a statement b e i n g defamatory i f n o one b e l i e v e d the c o m m u n i c a t i o n . C o n s e q u e n t l y , it does not help the defendant to establish that the p u b l i c a t i o n was i n d e e d not b e l i e v e d . E v e n i f he c o u l d s h o w that n o d a m a g e whatsoever arose f r o m his p u b l i c a t i o n this w i l l  not  defeat  the  action.  59  T h e p l a i n t i f f c a n nevertheless  recover  large  damages.  Y e t , the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n does not i n a l l cases p r e s u m e damages. It distinguishes between l i b e l a n d slander, the latter b e i n g e v e n s u b d i v i d e d into slander a n d slander per i n the categories o f l i b e l a n d slander per  se.  Only  se d e f a m a t i o n is actionable without special p r o o f o f  damages. In order to recover for slander itself d a m a g e w i l l not b e p r e s u m e d but has to be p l e a d e d a n d demonstrated. N o w a d a y s , cases o f slander w h e r e p r o o f o f damages is r e q u i r e d are relatively rare. In the early days o f the c o m m o n l a w , h o w e v e r , slander constituted the m o s t important part o f defamation actions since w r i t i n g was not w i d e s p r e a d i n v i e w o f the general illiteracy o f the p o p u l a t i o n . A c c o r d i n g l y , at that time it u s u a l l y was necessary to p r o v e s p e c i f i c loss as a consequence o f the c o m m u n i c a t i o n . T o d a y , the focus is o n l i b e l actions w i t h the result that i n the majority o f cases no actual loss has to b e s h o w n . T h u s , w i t h the d e v e l o p m e n t from p r e d o m i n a n t l y oral to m a i n l y written c o m m u n i c a t i o n s the basic p r i n c i p l e shifted from the requirement to p r o v e damages to the p r e s u m p t i o n o f damages.  151  IV. Presumption o f M a l i c e It has already b e e n indicated that fault is generally i m m a t e r i a l to liability i n defamation law, w i t h the e x c e p t i o n o f the p u b l i c a t i o n issue: w o r d s c a n be f o u n d defamatory regardless o f the defendant's intention to m a k e a statement at a l l , m u c h less a defamatory o n e . H e w i l l be liable e v e n i f he w a s not aware o f the defamatory m e a n i n g h i s statement c o n v e y e d o r i f he took reasonable  care to ensure  consequences  it w a s not defamatory.  In fact, the defendant  o f a l l the inferences that c a n be reasonably d r a w n  from  has to take the  his communication.  L i k e w i s e , h i s intentions w i t h regard to identification are o f n o relevance, i.e. the fact that he meant to refer to s o m e o n e else or w a s not aware o f the p l a i n t i f f s existence w i l l not help h i m .  L i a b i l i t y depends s o l e l y o n the act o f p u b l i s h i n g . T h e defendant has to be s o m e h o w responsible for the p u b l i c a t i o n o f the defamatory material. H o w e v e r , it is not e v e n necessary defendant intended to p u b l i s h the defamatory  material  that the  since h i s intention w i t h respect to  p u b l i c a t i o n w i l l be inferred from the fact that the material actually w a s p u b l i s h e d . A s s o o n as defamatory material is p u b l i s h e d the defendant is d e e m e d to have intended the consequences o f his v o l u n t a r y action. I f he i n fact w a s not responsible for the p u b l i c a t i o n , for instance i n a case o f accidental p u b l i c a t i o n , it is u p to h i m to p r o v e this.  Cory  J. held i n  statement.'  60  Hill  that, d e f a m a t i o n  is the 'intentional p u b l i c a t i o n o f an injurious  false  H e c o n t i n u e d to say that w h i l e a n actual intention to d e f a m e is not necessary to  i m p o s e l i a b i l i t y o n a defendant, the intention to d o so is nevertheless  inferred  publication  gives  o f the defamatory  statement.  Then,  he c o n c l u d e d that this  from  rise  the  to the  p r e s u m p t i o n o f m a l i c e w h i c h m a y b e d i s p l a c e d b y the existence o f a q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e .  Robert Post, "The Social Foundations of Defamation Law: Reputation and the Constitution", (1986) 74 Cal.L.Rev.691,atp.699. Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto (1995), 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 129, at p.178. 59  60  th  152  T h i s v i e w obscures the fact that the aspect o f p u b l i c a t i o n and that o f the defamatory nature o f the material are two distinct issues. F a u l t s h o u l d be r e q u i r e d for b o t h issues independently without c o n f u s i n g t h e m . A p a r t f r o m that, to say that the intention to d e f a m e is inferred f r o m the p u b l i c a t i o n i m p l i e s that fault i n this sense c a n o n l y be understood i n terms o f intention and not i n terms o f l a c k o f reasonable c a r e .  61  F o r instance, the general delict p r o v i s i o n o f the G e r m a n C i v i l C o d e , § 823 B G B , requires fault (or  animus)  c o n c e r n i n g every aspect o f the  actus reus,  n a m e l y w i t h regard to the activity w h i c h  v i o l a t e d one o f the enumerated rights and to c a u s i n g damage through that activity. Fault i n this c o n n e c t i o n c o m p r i s e s intent a n d n e g l i g e n c e , i.e. it leaves r o o m for the concept o f reasonable care taken p r i o r to the activity. T h i s e x a m p l e suggests that the law o f d e f a m a t i o n , especially as interpreted b y C o r y J., s h o u l d be revisited w i t h regard to its strict liability.  A further p r o b l e m is that the p r e s u m p t i o n o f n o n - a c c i d e n t a l p u b l i c a t i o n a n d o f m a l i c e , i.e. the inference d r a w n from p u b l i c a t i o n , is not a mere evidentiary p r e s u m p t i o n the defendant can rebut (unless it c a n b e s h o w n that there was a p r i v i l e g e d occasion) but has the strength o f a ' f i n d i n g ' .  62  O n c e m o r e , the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n favours the p l a i n t i f f a n d the protection o f his reputation at the expense o f the defendant's right to free speech.  V . C o m m o n L a w Defences T h e v a l u e o f the defences o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n , p r i v i l e g e a n d fair c o m m e n t p r o v i d e d b y the c o m m o n law  of  defamation  applicability,  already  has,  in  been  view  of  discussed  the above  numerous w i t h the  limitations  and  uncertainty  c o n c l u s i o n that they  of  their  do not s u p p l y  Richard Dearden, "Constitutional Protection for Defamatory Words Published about the Conduct of Public Officials", in David Schneiderman, Freedom of Expression and the Charter, (Thomson Professional Publishing Company, Calgary, 1991), atp.258. 61  153  sufficient m e a n s to protect f r e e d o m o f expression. D e s p i t e their f u n c t i o n o f restoring an appropriate balance between the tort law's interest in the protection o f the reputation a n d the c o n f l i c t i n g constitutional c o m m i t m e n t to free speech, they fail to do so.  V I . C h i l l i n g E f f e c t o f the C o m m o n L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n T h e law o f d e f a m a t i o n places a h e a v y b u r d e n o n the defendant. H e must anticipate the m e a n i n g s that the j u r y m i g h t attribute to his statement, i n c l u d i n g inferences a n d i n n u e n d o , and m a k e sure that their truth c a n b e p r o v e d i n order to escape liability, or he has to meet the numerous requirements o f one o f the defences. In effect, the current l i b e l law operates so as to create a reverse onus o n a l i b e l d e f e n d a n t .  63  W h i l e s. 1 o f the C h a r t e r places the b u r d e n o f p r o o f o n the party w h o c l a i m s that a l i m i t u p o n a fundamental right is j u s t i f i e d , the law o f defamation, w h i c h itself l i m i t s freedom o f expression, requires the defendant, w h o s e right to free speech has b e e n restricted, to s h o w that the l i m i t a t i o n was not j u s t i f i e d .  B o i v i n s u m m a r i z e d the  status quo  o f defamation law b y s a y i n g that 'someone w h o v o l u n t a r i l y  expresses h i m s e l f must accept the risk o f all reasonable defamatory inferences, whether the risk is excessive or not i n the circumstances. T h e risk must be supported whether or not the cost o f p r e v e n t i n g the injurious f a l s e h o o d outweighs the p r o b a b i l i t y a n d gravity o f the potential injury to reputation.' H e c o n c l u d e d that the defendant m a y b e liable e v e n i f c o m p l e t e silence is the o n l y way harm could have been a v o i d e d .  64  Dearden, supra n.61, at p.293. Thomas Gibbons, "Defamation Reconsidered", (1996) 16 Oxford J. Leg. Studies 587, at p.609; Dearden, supra n.6, atp.293. 63  154  In  view  o f this,  it is c l a i m e d  that writers  will  rather  censor  themselves  than  risk the  consequences o f litigation. T h i s is particularly so where the m e d i a are c o n c e r n e d . T h e y m a y refuse to p u b l i s h defamatory material referring to p u b l i c figures o n a matter o f p u b l i c interest since they cannot anticipate the o u t c o m e o f such a p u b l i c a t i o n . Stories m a y not be p u b l i s h e d because they are regarded as not b e i n g w o r t h the risk o f d e f e n d i n g a l i b e l action w i t h the p o s s i b i l i t y o f large d a m a g e awards a n d h i g h legal costs. U n d e r the current l a w , it seems, the m e d i a c a n o n l y p u b l i s h a n d broadcast  news  it c a n p r o v e to b e true,  w h i c h m a y lead to  suppression o f c o v e r a g e o f important p u b l i c issues. T h e sphere o f protected d i s c u s s i o n w i l l be r e d u c e d to that w h i c h is c o m f o r t a b l e a n d c o m p a t i b l e w i t h current conceptions a n d w h i c h is not critical o f sensitive issues. T h i s is c o m m o n l y referred to as the ' c h i l l i n g effect' o f libel laws.  T h a t s u c h a l i b e l c h i l l exists w a s r e c o g n i z e d i n  New York Times  where B r e n n a n J. e x p l a i n e d that  under the existing rule ' w o u l d - b e critics o f o f f i c i a l conduct m a y b e deterred f r o m v o i c i n g their c r i t i c i s m , e v e n t h o u g h it is b e l i e v e d to be true a n d e v e n t h o u g h it is i n fact true, because o f doubt whether it c a n b e p r o v e d i n court o r fear o f the expense o f h a v i n g to d o s o . '  65  A s a result,  the l a w l i m i t s the variety o f p u b l i c debate. S i m i l a r l y , the H o u s e o f L o r d s a c k n o w l e d g e d the c h i l l i n g effect o f d e f a m a t i o n law i n  CC  v.  Times Newspapers.  Derbyshire  L o r d K e i t h o b s e r v e d that 'the threat o f a c i v i l action f o r defamation  must i n e v i t a b l y h a v e a n i n h i b i t i n g effect o n f r e e d o m o f s p e e c h . ' C o u r t f o l l o w e d this v i e w i n  66  F i n a l l y , the A u s t r a l i a n H i g h  Theophanous v. Herald Weekly Times Ltd.  a n d f o u n d that the  'decisions w h i c h establish the c o m m o n l a w p r i n c i p l e s have not b e e n c o n c e r n e d to assess the i n h i b i t i n g i m p a c t o f the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n a n d threats o f action f o r d e f a m a t i o n o n the exercise  Boivin, supra n. 17, at p.264. New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), 376 U.S. 254, atp.279. [1993] 1 All.E.R. 101. 155  o f the i m p l i e d f r e e d o m o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n . ' T h e c o m m o n law i t s e l f refers to the c h i l l i n g effect w i t h respect  to the defence o f absolute  p r i v i l e g e . T h i s defence exists i n order to prevent Parliamentarians ( a m o n g others) from b e i n g i n h i b i t e d from expressing their v i e w s o n matters o f c o m m o n interest b y granting them absolute i m m u n i t y from liability. T h i s is said to support a frank a n d v i g o r o u s debate i n the democratic institutions o f g o v e r n m e n t  and, consequently, to  secure  the  efficient f u n c t i o n i n g o f  those  institutions. O n the same grounds, m e m b e r s o f the p u b l i c or the press s h o u l d have the right to fearlessly speak about the c o n d u c t o f the v e r y same p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s .  C e r t a i n l y , this 'libel c h i l l ' has the m o s t severe effect where p o l i t i c a l expression, w h i c h lies at the core o f  freedom  o f expression,  is c o n c e r n e d .  I have  already  referred  to  the  value  even  defamatory s p e e c h has w i t h respect to the c h e c k i n g f u n c t i o n o f e x p r e s s i o n for h o l d i n g o f f i c i a l s accountable b y p u b l i c l y s c r u t i n i z i n g their conduct, or w i t h respect to p o l i t i c a l o p p o s i t i o n . T h e threat o f l i b e l  actions  w i t h their consequences  c a n restrict  the  e x p r e s s i o n o f critical  and  dissenting v i e w s m u c h to the delight o f p o l i t i c i a n s w h o have a strong interest i n suppressing c r i t i c i s m o f t h e m i n order to stay i n p o w e r . A p a r t from this, the i n d i v i d u a l ' s capacity to f o r m his o w n v i e w s a n d o p i n i o n s , a n d to discuss these w i t h others without censorship is essential for s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t . T h e right to freely express one's o p i n i o n also must c o m p r i s e the right to state this o p i n i o n i f it is defamatory. F o r the sake o f p r o m o t i n g the process o f intellectual selfd e v e l o p m e n t , society, to a certain degree, has to put up w i t h c o m m u n i c a t i o n s o f thoughts and beliefs w h i c h m a y b e too harsh. It is d e h u m a n i z i n g to tell a p e r s o n that he cannot c o m m u n i c a t e his beliefs, the e x p r e s s i o n o f w h i c h is c l o s e l y tied to his personality.  O f course, this right to free expression cannot be absolute but must i n certain  67  (1994), 124 A.L.R. 1, at p. 19. 156  circumstances  give  way  to  c o u n t e r v a i l i n g considerations.  Personal  reputation  is  a  value  that  deserves  protection as w e l l . H o w e v e r , e q u i l i b r i u m between the c o m p e t i n g interests has to be f o u n d w h i c h d i d not h a p p e n i n the case o f the law o f d e f a m a t i o n .  VII. Conclusion C a s t i n g a critical light o n the current l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n r e v e a l e d that this b o d y o f c o m m o n law p r i n c i p l e s does not reflect a true c o m p r o m i s e between the c o m p e t i n g interests o f reputation and f r e e d o m o f expression but protects the first i n a d i s p r o p o r t i o n a l w a y at the expense o f the latter. T h e l o w threshold requirement to o p e n a l i b e l action and the p r e s u m p t i o n s o f falsity, damages and m a l i c e w o r k against the l i b e l defendant, p l a c i n g obstacles i n his w a y a n d m a k i n g it difficult for h i m to defeat an action. C a n a d i a n courts o b v i o u s l y v a l u e reputation o v e r free speech  by  supporting strict l i a b i l i t y without attaching importance to the Charter's impact.  T h a t the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n does not achieve a correct b a l a n c e between the c o m p e t i n g interests is not surprising c o n s i d e r i n g its historical context a n d d e v e l o p m e n t . It has not been d e s i g n e d to f u l f i l the d e m a n d s o f contemporary society. T h e law's d e v e l o p m e n t was o n l y urged o n b y the i n v e n t i o n o f the p r i n t i n g press, w h i c h was p e r c e i v e d as a serious threat to the p u b l i c order a n d the C r o w n . C h u r c h a n d State were m o t i v a t e d b y their desire to suppress and control p o l i t i c a l a n d r e l i g i o u s d i s c u s s i o n . T h e j u r i s d i c t i o n over d e f a m a t i o n w a s a s s u m e d b y the  Star  C h a m b e r , an institution w h i c h exercised u n l i m i t e d authority, i n order to eradicate d u e l l i n g and preserve peace. A g a i n s t this b a c k g r o u n d , it is clear w h y the law o f d e f a m a t i o n is not c o n c e r n e d w i t h b a l a n c i n g reputation a n d  free  speech:  its initial p u r p o s e i n fact w a s  to  suppress  speech  and it  was  administered b y a v e r y p o w e r f u l institution w h i c h wanted to m a i n t a i n its authority b y assuming control o v e r the press. T h e l i b e l concept was used b y tyrants to silence potentially influential  157  critics.  C o r y J . referred to d e f a m a t i o n law's history, c o n c l u d i n g that the character o f this l a w is 'essentially the product o f its historical d e v e l o p m e n t u p to the 1 7  th  century, subject to a few  refinements s u c h as the introduction a n d r e c o g n i t i o n o f the defences  o f p r i v i l e g e and fair  c o m m e n t . ' H e further noted that although 'the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n n o longer serves as a b u l w a r k against the d u e l a n d b l o o d feud, the protection o f reputation remains o f v i t a l i m p o r t a n c e . '  68  S u r p r i s i n g l y , this history w a s not taken as evidence that the l a w m a y b e o l d - f a s h i o n e d a n d requires s o m e re-assessment a n d m o d i f i c a t i o n i n order to c o m p l y w i t h today's needs. O n the contrary, the C o u r t took this history as p r o o f o f the fundamental importance o f the interest i n reputation.  69  In s u m , h a d the S u p r e m e C o u r t i n  Hill  a p p l i e d the Charter to the c o m m o n law o f defamation as  suggested a b o v e (instead o f c o n s i d e r i n g Charter values o n l y ) , a n d h a d it, as a consequence, dealt w i t h the regular s.2(b) analysis, it is d o u b t f u l whether the current law o f d e f a m a t i o n w o u l d have s u r v i v e d the j u s t i f i c a t i o n test under s . l o f the Charter.  D . Proposals for Change  T h e i m p o r t a n c e o f f r e e d o m o f expression, as demonstrated i n chapter one, i n c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h the  d e s c r i b e d failure o f the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n to g i v e  adequate  weight  to this  fundamental right (as s h o w n earlier i n this chapter) p r o v i d e c o m p e l l i n g reasons f o r m o d i f y i n g  Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto (1995), 126 D.L.R. 129, at p.162. Noteworthy is that the majority of the Supreme Court came to a different conclusion in R. v. Zundel, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 731, after tracing back the provision of the Criminal Code. The goal of the law at the time was found out to be the prevention of statements about powerful landowners which might provoke them to use the force of arms. 68  6 9  158  d e f a m a t i o n law. It needs to be adjusted to the changes and n e w constitutional demands brought w i t h the enactment o f the Charter. E v e n i f the p r i n c i p l e s o f the c o m m o n law o f defamation were o n l y to be m e a s u r e d against the  values u n d e r l y i n g  the Charter, as it has b e e n d e c i d e d in  Hill,  those values are still sufficient reasons to r e f o r m the c o m m o n l a w rule that governs defamation despite the f i n d i n g i n  Hill  that this rule c o m p l i e s w i t h t h e m .  U n q u e s t i o n a b l y , the i n d i v i d u a l ' s g o o d reputation has to be treated as a serious and significant value but not as a v a l u e that so p e r v a s i v e l y dominates others, as it presently does. A t the same time, f r e e d o m o f expression is not an absolute right a n d s h o u l d not p r e v a i l i n all circumstances. H o w e v e r , one o f the values necessarily w i l l be f a v o u r e d o v e r the other to s o m e degree.  H o w the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n s h o u l d be formulated, a n d w h i c h precise balance it s h o u l d establish depends  o n the relative  importance  a society  wishes  to  attach to the  respective  c o m p e t i n g values. C a n a d i a n courts s h o w a preference for the interest i n personal reputation. An  explanation  for this m i g h t be that the absence o f an entrenched  B i l l o f R i g h t s i n the  C a n a d i a n C o n s t i t u t i o n for m u c h o f its history h a d a formative i n f l u e n c e o n j u d i c i a l attitudes i n this area. C a n a d a also has never b e e n confronted w i t h a war a n d extensive speech suppression s u c h as, for instance, G e r m a n y under the N a z i regime. It has l a c k e d the p r e s s i n g social context w h i c h m i g h t h a v e p r o m p t e d a greater regard for free expression.  C o m i n g from another b a c k g r o u n d , from a tradition where free speech is i n effect v a l u e d m o r e h i g h l y than i n d i v i d u a l reputation interests,  I have a different perspective  w i t h regard to the  tension between the c o m p e t i n g values at stake. In m y o p i n i o n , free expression s h o u l d receive m u c h stronger protection than it does under the current c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n .  Because of these origins the Court rejected any substantial governmental objective of the current law. (Ross, supra 159  I demonstrated i n chapter one that freedom o f expression i n general is extremely important and therefore s h o u l d not b e restricted carelessly. It has repeatedly b e e n a f f i r m e d that the content o f a statement cannot d e p r i v e it o f the protection o f s.2(b). A d d i t i o n a l l y , one has to keep i n m i n d that it is d i f f i c u l t to determine w h e n speech has r e d e e m i n g value. T h e s e aspects already indicate that defamatory e x p r e s s i o n deserves constitutional protection.  A d m i t t e d l y , the rationales e x p l a i n e d i n that chapter are not a l l unrestrictedly applicable to defamatory  speech. H o w e v e r , the p r e m i s e that defamatory speech cannot h a v e value or is  unrelated to the values u n d e r l y i n g s.2(b) is not j u s t i f i e d . T h e free speech rationales do support this type o f e x p r e s s i o n as it has b e e n p o i n t e d out o c c a s i o n a l l y w i t h i n this t h e s i s .  T h e l i m i t a t i o n o f free speech t h r o u g h libel laws touches,  70  for instance, o n the v a l u e o f the  v i g o r o u s a n d o p e n debate that is essential to democratic g o v e r n m e n t a n d inevitable w i t h respect to p o l i t i c a l o p p o s i t i o n . I f citizens truly are to be a l l o w e d to discuss a n d debate issues w i t h regard to p o l i t i c a l activities a n d the conduct o f p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s i n order to ensure that their consent to g o v e r n m e n t is as i n f o r m e d as p o s s i b l e (as the d e m o c r a c y rationale suggests), this must m e a n that they c a n state their actual o p i n i o n e v e n i f this w i l l result i n defamatory allegations. A p a r t from this, the restriction o f defamatory speech u n d e r m i n e s the f u n c t i o n o f free expression as a check  on  abuse  of  authority.  a c c o m p a n i e d b y defamatory  The  accusation  o f misconduct  will  almost  imputations. In order to guarantee p u b l i c  necessarily  be  scrutiny o f o f f i c i a l  conduct, d e f a m a t o r y speech i n this c o n n e c t i o n must be accepted. T h e e x c l u s i o n o f such speech invalidates the argument that f r e e d o m o f expression has a c h e c k i n g f u n c t i o n . A n o t h e r aspect is that o f s o c i a l stability enhanced b y free expression. G i v i n g a person w h o disagrees w i t h p o l i t i c a l d e c i s i o n s or activities the p o s s i b i l i t y to vent his dissatisfaction through  n.21, atp.133). 160  speech  (which  may  i n c l u d e the  communication  of  injurious statements),  as  opposed  to  suppressing his c r i t i c i s m , c a n help to achieve social stability. T h e restriction o f d e f a m a t o r y speech m a y also i m p a i r the search for truth since defamation law does not c o n f i n e itself to false and defamatory  c o m m u n i c a t i o n s but also covers  injurious  expression that m a y be true, n a m e l y , w h e n the defendant was not able to p r o v e the truth o f his allegations i n v i e w o f the strict evidentiary rules a n d standards o f p r o o f that a p p l y i n court proceedings. F i n a l l y , it c a n h a v e negative effects w i t h regard to i n d i v i d u a l s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t to restrict social interaction that is important i n order to a l l o w the i n d i v i d u a l to see h i m s e l f as sovereign i n m a k i n g d e c i s i o n s a n d f o r m i n g o p i n i o n s . A l l p e o p l e must be g i v e n the p o s s i b i l i t y to o p e n l y c o m m u n i c a t e their beliefs a n d d i s p l a y their o p i n i o n s e v e n i f they are injurious to others. T h e r e is s o m e t h i n g d e h u m a n i z i n g about telling a p e r s o n that he cannot c o m m u n i c a t e his beliefs and to e x c l u d e h i m f r o m the p o s s i b i l i t y o f speaking. It denies the respect for inherent dignity o f a h u m a n person. O n l y  free  expression c a n p r o m o t e the a c c o m m o d a t i o n o f a w i d e variety  of  beliefs. M c L a c h l i n stated i n  R. v. Keegstra  11  that ' i f the guarantee o f free expression is to be m e a n i n g f u l ,  it must protect expression w h i c h challenges e v e n the v e r y basic c o n c e p t i o n s about our society.' N e v e r t h e l e s s , the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n i m p o s e s extensive  limitations o n f r e e d o m  expression a n d the Charter's impact has e v e n b e e n m i n i m i z e d b y the S u p r e m e C o u r t in  Hill.  of It  almost seems as i f d e f a m a t i o n law is accepted as a v a l i d restriction o f free speech since it p r e c e d e d the Charter.  I have argued that the Charter s h o u l d a p p l y directly to the c o m m o n l a w i n general and the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n i n particular, a n d i n the course o f this d i s c u s s i o n , I have indicated  Particularly on pp. 129-130 and 156 of this chapter. 161  that d e f a m a t i o n l a w m i g h t i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y not have s u r v i v e d the m i n i m u m i m p a i r m e n t stage set out i n  Oakes  as part o f the s . l analysis. T h i s test requires that the adopted restricting means  s h o u l d i m p a i r the right or f r e e d o m i n question no m o r e than necessary  to a c c o m p l i s h its  objective. In other w o r d s , the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n has to b e f o r m u l a t e d i n a w a y that its objective o f protecting personal reputation is p u r s u e d b y the least drastic m e a n s w i t h regard to freedom o f expression.  72  H o w e v e r , a c r i t i c a l l o o k at the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n earlier i n this chapter revealed its one-sidedness, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n v i e w o f its presumptions. I have s h o w n that the c o m m o n law o f defamation  does  not  take  freedom  o f expression  s u f f i c i e n t l y into  account,  that  it  over-  emphasizes the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f p e r s o n a l reputation, and that it needs reassessment. In m y o p i n i o n , the existing d e f a m a t i o n law restricts f r e e d o m o f expression to an intolerable degree and does certainly not represent the least drastic means available i n the sense o f the m i n i m u m i m p a i r m e n t test, n o matter h o w strictly or relaxed s u c h a test m a y b e f r a m e d . T h e o n l y p o s s i b i l i t y to achieve an appropriate e q u i l i b r i u m between the p r o t e c t i o n o f reputation and f r e e d o m o f expression, i n m y v i e w , seems to b e to f u n d a m e n t a l l y change the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n i n order to b r i n g it into a c c o r d w i t h the Charter. T h e elements o f the traditional l i b e l action, the c o m m o n l a w presumptions, a n d the distribution o f burdens all need to be adjusted i n order to c o m p l y w i t h the constitutional guarantee o f free speech.  D e f a m a t i o n l a w has b e e n the object o f several inquiries i n the past a n d v a r i o u s  suggestions  already h a v e b e e n m a d e i n order to i m p r o v e its consistency w i t h the constitutional value o f free  [1990] 3 S . C . R . 697. In chapter three it has been mentioned that subsequent cases adopted a more relaxed standard than Oakes did, rephrasing the minimum impairment test, for instance, into 'impaired as little as reasonably possible' or 'least intrusive in the light both of the legislative objective and the infringed right'. At any rate, caution is necessary in order not to overvaluate legislature's objective and not to undervaluate the expression at issue. 71  7 2  162  speech. I n the f o l l o w i n g I w i l l first introduce and criticize the t w o proposals o f granting absolute i m m u n i t y to p o l i t i c a l speech a n d o f a c c o r d i n g a q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e to the m e d i a .  Further  proposals, s u c h as the actual m a l i c e rule o r the defence o f due d i l i g e n c e , w i l l b e discussed i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h m y o w n i d e a o f h o w the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n s h o u l d b e m o d i f i e d . T h i s m e t h o d a l l o w s m e to draw c o m p a r i s o n s  a n d demonstrate  differences between the v a r y i n g  approaches m o r e easily.  I. A b s o l u t e I m m u n i t y f o r all P o l i t i c a l D i s c u s s i o n First o f a l l , there w a s the rather r a d i c a l m i n o r i t y p o s i t i o n i n terms o f protecting f r e e d o m o f expression o f D o u g l a s J . a n d B l a c k J . i n New York Times, w h i c h w a s also f a v o u r e d b y D e a n J. i n Theophanous. T h e s e j u d g e s argued that d e f a m a t i o n actions s h o u l d b e p r e c l u d e d c o m p l e t e l y i n cases o f p u b l i c a t i o n s that deal w i t h o f f i c i a l c o n d u c t or the suitability o f a M e m b e r o f Parliament.  T h e y w a n t e d to g o c o n s i d e r a b l y further i n the a p p l i c a t i o n o f the free  guarantee b y c o n f e r r i n g o n the m e d i a a n u n c o n d i t i o n a l right to say what they please  speech about  p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s . A c c o r d i n g to t h e m it cannot b e j u s t i f i e d i n the p u b l i c interest to render citizens liable i n damages  for m a k i n g statements about p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s a n d their conduct. T h e mere  p o s s i b i l i t y o f d e f a m a t i o n actions has a n unacceptable c h i l l i n g effect u p o n p o l i t i c a l c r i t i c i s m .  T h i s a p p r o a c h i n d e e d goes v e r y far i n protecting f r e e d o m o f expression; it also ignores the i n d i v i d u a l ' s right to b e protected from injury to h i s reputation. It does not take into account that the  m e d i a not o n l y p r o v i d e important p o l i t i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n but also  entertainment  business, where  the p u b l i c a t i o n o f sensational  scandals  are engaged often proves  i n the to be  d e c i d e d l y e c o n o m i c a l l y valuable. A n untrue p u b l i c a t i o n m a y r u i n a person's career and life. T h e r e f o r e , it is not advisable to choose s u c h a n extreme m e t h o d , w i t h d r a w i n g a l l protection from one o f the c o m p e t i n g values at stake.  163  In a d d i t i o n , it is w e l l established i n C a n a d a that n o right or f r e e d o m is absolute. T h e w a y i n w h i c h s ! o f the C h a r t e r is f r a m e d arguably does not a l l o w a n interpretation departing from this rule. T h e r e f o r e , the s o l u t i o n o f granting freedom o f expression absolute p r i o r i t y and o f p l a c i n g it above all other interests is inconsistent w i t h the C a n a d i a n Charter.  II. Q u a l i f i e d P r i v i l e g e for the C o m m u n i c a t i o n M e d i a A n o t h e r p r o p o s a l is the r e c o g n i t i o n o f a n e w q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e for the m e d i a based o n the Charter itself i n cases where the conduct o f p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s is i n v o l v e d .  7 3  S o far the courts have not a c k n o w l e d g e d that the m e d i a have a duty to p r o v i d e i n f o r m a t i o n even where the p u b l i c has a legitimate interest i n r e c e i v i n g s u c h i n f o r m a t i o n , i.e. n o p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n has b e e n a c c o r d e d to m e d i a publications. E v e n i f a p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n h a d (or w o u l d have) b e e n f o u n d , it w a s exceeded since s u c h a b r o a d p u b l i c a t i o n w a s regarded as one 'to the w o r l d at large', m a d e to a n audience w h i c h partly h a d n o legitimate interest.  It is w e l l established that the courts have not c o n s i d e r e d the categories o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e to be c l o s e d . T h e circumstances w h i c h g i v e rise to a p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n 'can n e v e r b e catalogued and rendered e x a c t ' .  74  Indeed, the defence has to b e r e v i e w e d  from  time to time since the  c o n t i n u a l l y c h a n g i n g conditions i n society m a y render it necessary to create n e w p r i v i l e g e d occasions.  T h e a d o p t i o n o f a n e w C o n s t i t u t i o n i n C a n a d a , i n c l u d i n g the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, represents a r a d i c a l change  i n p u b l i c p o l i c y that s h o u l d have s o m e i m p a c t o n the existing  c o m m o n l a w . T h e r e f o r e , it is appropriate to re-assess existing defences o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e . T h e S u p r e m e C o u r t itself has h e l d that the l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n must b e d e v e l o p e d a n d applied i n  164  a w a y consistent w i t h Charter dictates, w h i c h m i g h t m a k e m o d i f i c a t i o n s to the c o m m o n law necessary.  Advocates  o f this p r o p o s a l  stress the vital role  the press  plays  i n a democratic  society  c o n c e r n i n g the d i s c u s s i o n o f p u b l i c affairs. In a system o f representative d e m o c r a c y legislatures derive their p o l i t i c a l l e g i t i m a c y f r o m their representative character. In order to ensure that the M e m b e r s o f P a r l i a m e n t i n d e e d represent the wishes o f the electorate it is vital that the voters have the o p p o r t u n i t y to receive a n d analyse p o l i t i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n . F o r this reason, it is argued, the d i s s e m i n a t i o n o f p o l i t i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n has to be afforded extensive protection.  T h e courts h a v e b e e n aware o f the fact that there is reliance b y the p u b l i c o n the news m e d i a as their agent a n d representative i n p u b l i c matters. T h e press p e r f o r m s the important function o f gathering i n f o r m a t i o n for, a n d d i s s e m i n a t i n g it to, the p u b l i c . It has o n c e b e e n e x p l a i n e d that 'no i n d i v i d u a l c a n obtain for h i m s e l f the i n f o r m a t i o n needed for the intelligent discharge o f his p o l i t i c a l responsibilities... T h e press acts as an agent o f the p u b l i c at large. It is the means b y w h i c h the p u b l i c w i l l see that free f l o w o f i n f o r m a t i o n a n d ideas is essential to intelligent selfgovernment.'  Moreover,  the press  serves  as  a very  important  check  on  governmental  misconduct.  A g a i n s t this b a c k g r o u n d , the role o f the press has b e e n g i v e n constitutional status i n s.2(b) o f the Charter. In v i e w o f the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the m e d i a the courts s h o u l d reconsider their p o s i t i o n w i t h regard to a q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e ; especially since the c o m m o n l a w is b a s e d u p o n p r i n c i p l e s that c a n be c o n s i d e r e d discordant w i t h the values enshrined i n s.2(b) o f the Charter.  73 74 75  This view is advocated by Dearden, supra n.61, at pp.308-316. See also Doody, supra n.38, at p.149. London Association for Protection of Trade v. Greenlands, [1916] 2 A.C. 15, at p.22 (H.L.). Saxbe v. Washington Post Co. (1974), 417 U.S. 843, atp.863. (Powell J.). 165  The  suggestion  is to  a c k n o w l e d g e that the m e d i a have  a common  or m u t u a l interest  in  d i s s e m i n a t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n i n w h i c h the p u b l i c has a legitimate a n d m u t u a l interest, such as p o l i t i c a l speech a n d the p r o p e r organisation and f u n c t i o n i n g o f government. It is argued that s.2(b) o f the C h a r t e r c a n a n d s h o u l d b e used to create a n e w category o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e with respect to d e f a m a t o r y allegations p u b l i s h e d about p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s or their conduct. T h u s , the m e d i a s h o u l d b e granted q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e i n p u b l i s h i n g p o l i t i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n to the p u b l i c .  T h e creation o f s u c h a q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e certainly a c k n o w l e d g e s the important role o f the press and takes  a step i n the  right  direction (i.e.  constitutionalization o f the  common  law  of  defamation). H o w e v e r , it does not eliminate the partiality a n d one-sidedness expressed b y the law o f d e f a m a t i o n i n f a v o u r o f reputation that I have demonstrated earlier i n this chapter. It o n l y represents a partial p o s s i b i l i t y o f i m p r o v e m e n t w i t h respect to a better r e c o g n i t i o n o f the right to f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n i n one particular context but is, i n m y o p i n i o n , not sufficient. T h e issues w h i c h have b e e n e x a m i n e d a b o v e although this i n d e e d is one  76  do not o n l y arise i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h m e d i a defendants  o f the most  significant fields affected  b y the  restrictions  of  d e f a m a t i o n l a w . T h e r e f o r e , changes s h o u l d not stop at this point. I suggest g o i n g further i n protecting free speech.  III. E x t e n s i o n o f the E l e m e n t o f F a u l t First o f a l l , the law o f d e f a m a t i o n s h o u l d be g o v e r n e d b y the fault p r i n c i p l e . B o i v i n has m a d e a c o n v i n c i n g argument for the necessity o f g i v i n g fault a m o r e significant role i n order to support his p r o p o s a l o f a defence o f due d i l i g e n c e w h i c h I w i l l introduce i n a moment.  Here I refer to the one-sidedness of the common law of defamation and its preference of the protection o f reputation, created by its presumptions of falsity, malice and damages, as well as to the insufficiency of the defences provided by the defamation law, all of which I have demonstrated earlier in this chapter. 76  166  H e p o i n t e d out that other areas o f tort law w h i c h are g o v e r n e d b y strict liability (for instance, the law p e r t a i n i n g to dangerous animals or the law o f nuisance) u s u a l l y have an e c o n o m i c j u s t i f i c a t i o n b a s e d o n the fair distribution o f risk. Strict liability i n these cases c a n be traced b a c k to p o l i c y reasons  s u c h as, for example, the n e e d for p r o v i d i n g accident v i c t i m s w i t h  reliable sources o f c o m p e n s a t i o n . H o w e v e r , w h i l e it m i g h t be appropriate to i m p o s e liability irrespective o f fault i n settings w h e r e dangerous activities are i n v o l v e d , the same standard is not suited i n the l i b e l context since the c o m p e t i n g interests i n that field are not p u r e l y e c o n o m i c . O n the contrary, it is the constitutional interest o f f r e e d o m o f expression that is o n the other side o f the s c a l e .  Hill  77  was a rare case i n so far as it dealt w i t h a m a l i c i o u s lie, where the defendant h a d k n o w l e d g e  o f the falsity o f his allegations a n d nevertheless repeated t h e m d u r i n g the trial. M o r e often, h o w e v e r , the falsity o f a defamatory statement w i l l o n l y be d e t e r m i n e d i n court,  following  detailed d i s c o v e r y d u r i n g trial. T h e really p r o b l e m a t i c cases are those w h e r e the defendant h a d p u b l i s h e d his allegations, w h i c h have b e e n f o u n d to be false a n d defamatory, after a  bona fide  investigation that s o m e h o w failed to u n c o v e r their falsity. T h e n the defendant was not aware o f the falsity o f his material a n d took reasonable care to prevent his statements b e i n g false. In such cases the defence o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n is not applicable. D e s p i t e his best efforts, the defendant w i l l be liable a c c o r d i n g to the present r e g i m e o f d e f a m a t i o n law unless he p u b l i s h e d the material on a p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n . A t t e m p t i n g to ascertain the truth o f his c o m m u n i c a t i o n p r i o r to p u b l i c a t i o n d i d not help h i m .  In this scenario, the c o m m o n law's u n w i l l i n g n e s s to tolerate the risk o f error is an extreme p o s i t i o n . In order to a v o i d deterrence o f truthful expression s o m e constitutional breathing r o o m  77  Boivin, supra n.17, at pp.265-269. 167  has to be g i v e n . It is h a r d l y c o m p a t i b l e w i t h Charter values to p e n a l i z e f o r m s o f expression regardless o f fault. T h e r e f o r e , a defendant s h o u l d not be liable i f he c a n s h o w that he exercised reasonable care i n v e r i f y i n g the accuracy o f his a l l e g a t i o n s .  78  It has b e e n s h o w n earlier i n this chapter that the p r e s u m p t i o n o f fault or m a l i c e , w h i c h infers the defendant's intention to d e f a m e another p e r s o n f r o m the sole act o f p u b l i c a t i o n e v e n i f the defendant l a c k e d actual intention to p u b l i s h the material at a l l , is h a r m f u l to free expression and cannot be m a i n t a i n e d . T h e greatest part o f C a n a d i a n tort law is g o v e r n e d b y the fault p r i n c i p l e (with rare exceptions that I have already referred to), as is the G e r m a n 'law o f d e l i c t ' .  79  F o r the  above reasons, I c o n s i d e r it necessary that the defendant be liable o n l y i f he acted w i t h fault.  1. D e f e n c e o f D u e D i l i g e n c e B o i v i n suggests that a defence o f due d i l i g e n c e b e r e c o g n i z e d .  80  H i s p r o p o s a l is to a l l o w that the p r e s u m p t i o n o f fault c a n b e rebutted b y p r o v i n g that due d i l i g e n c e was exercised p r i o r to the p u b l i c a t i o n to ascertain the truth or falsity o f the material. A c c o r d i n g to this s o l u t i o n the p l a i n t i f f w o u l d still be entitled to a i f he c a n p r o v e the  elements  o f an action  prima facie  for d e f a m a t i o n : the  f i n d i n g o f liability  defamatory  nature  o f the  allegations, i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and p u b l i c a t i o n . T h e n it is up to the defendant to demonstrate reasonable  care w a s taken to prevent the disclosure o f defamatory  a n d false material.  that No  evidentiary b u r d e n w o u l d b e a d d e d to the plaintiff. T h e defence o f due d i l i g e n c e also is preferable to creating a n e w category o f q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e that requires the p l a i n t i f f to p r o v e m a l i c e o n the part o f the defendant i n order to damages.  78 79  In a p r i v i l e g e d o c c a s i o n ,  recover  the defendant can escape liability for p u b l i s h i n g  See also: Boivin, ibid, at pp.242-244, 270-271. See p.l52cin this chapter. 168  false  statements without efforts o f ascertaining their truth, or i f the p l a i n t i f f is u n a b l e to p r o v e m a l i c e . A n o t h e r advantage is the b r o a d a p p l i c a b i l i t y o f the defence o f due d i l i g e n c e . It applies whether the p l a i n t i f f is a p u b l i c or private figure, whether the defendant is a m e m b e r o f the m e d i a or does  not  benefit  from  the  guaranteed  freedom  of  the  press,  and  independently o f  the  publication's subject matter (in contrast to the actual m a l i c e rule adopted b y the U . S . S u p r e m e Court.)  B o i v i n ' s a p p r o a c h is s i m i l a r to the one adopted i n Theophanous w h e r e the C o u r t also, i n effect, granted a defence o f due d i l i g e n c e to the p u b l i s h e r o f statements critical o f p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s b y a l l o w i n g the defendant to p r o v e that he d i d not k n o w the defamatory statement was false and was not reckless  as to whether it was false or true. In a d d i t i o n he h a d to show that the  p u b l i c a t i o n w a s reasonable i n the circumstances i n order to escape liability. S i n c e the right to free c o m m u n i c a t i o n i n A u s t r a l i a covers o n l y p o l i t i c a l expression i n the first place, B o i v i n ' s defence o f due d i l i g e n c e , w h i c h is applicable i n every l i b e l action, is broader. It also does not contain the aspect o f recklessness  o n the part o f the defendant and that o f a  reasonable p u b l i c a t i o n . H o w e v e r , b o t h conceptions have i n c o m m o n that they d e m a n d that the defendant s h o w he h a d taken reasonable care i n c h e c k i n g the a c c u r a c y o f the i m p u g n e d material i n order to escape liability.  Nevertheless, neither the defence o f due d i l i g e n c e n o r the defence granted b y the A u s t r a l i a n H i g h C o u r t eliminates the injustices to the l i b e l defendant c o n t a i n e d i n the current law  of  d e f a m a t i o n . F o r instance, the significant issue o f the p r e s u m p t i o n o f fault, w h i c h has been c r i t i c i z e d a b o v e , continues to exist. In v i e w o f the emphasis g i v e n to the p r i n c i p l e o f fault, it is, i n m y o p i n i o n , not sufficient to f a s h i o n it i n the f o r m o f a defence, w h e r e the defendant bears  Boivin made a case for adopting the defence of due diligence in his article "Accommodating Freedom of 169  the b u r d e n o f p r o v i n g his lack o f fault, contrary to the basic rules l a i d d o w n i n s !  o f the  Charter.  2. A c t u a l M a l i c e R u l e T h e decision in  New York Times adopted  significant role  i n the  common  a different a p p r o a c h i n order to g i v e fault a m o r e  law o f d e f a m a t i o n .  T h e majority  o f the  C o u r t not  only  established a q u a l i f i e d p r i v i l e g e for the m e d i a , a f f o r d i n g protection to c r i t i c i s m o f o f f i c i a l conduct, but also adopted a rule w h i c h prohibits a p u b l i c o f f i c i a l f r o m r e c o v e r i n g damages for a defamatory f a l s e h o o d relating to his o f f i c i a l c o n d u c t unless he p r o v e s that the statement was m a d e w i t h actual m a l i c e . The  proof  of  actual  malice  demands  significantly more  than  traditional  common  law  understanding o f m a l i c e . It has to be s h o w n that the defendant acted w i t h k n o w l e d g e that his allegation w a s false or w i t h reckless disregard as to whether it was false or n o t .  81  T h i s standard  is not satisfied b y p r o v i d i n g evidence that the defendant w a s m o t i v a t e d b y p e r s o n a l spite, i l l w i l l or intention to injure, but it requires the p l a i n t i f f to s h o w that the defendant i n fact entertained serious doubts as to the accuracy o f his p u b l i c a t i o n . A s a result, the p l a i n t i f f has to p r o v e the falsity o f the p u b l i s h e d material i n addition to its defamatory nature - the p r e s u m p t i o n o f falsity is a b o l i s h e d - a n d he has to s h o w actual m a l i c e o n the part o f the defendant. It was accepted that this test w o u l d result i n the p u b l i c a t i o n o f s o m e false p o l i t i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n . H o w e v e r , this consequence w a s regarded as a lesser constitutional e v i l than press censorship w o u l d be, caused b y the fear o f l i b e l actions a n d damages.  T h e actual m a l i c e rule has b e e n m u c h c r i t i c i z e d . T h e C o u r t i n c r i t i c i s m o f it, m o s t l y m a d e b y A m e r i c a n commentators,  Hill  extensively s u r v e y e d the  and r e v i e w e d the impact  Expression and Reputation in the Common Law of Defamation", supra n.17 (particularly pp.280-286). 170  o f the  standard d e v e l o p e d b y the U . S . S u p r e m e C o u r t . E s p e c i a l l y r e p r o v e d w a s the circumstance that the d e c i s i o n w a s v e r y m u c h i n f l u e n c e d b y the dramatic a n d c o m p e l l i n g facts u n d e r l y i n g the  Sullivan  case. T h e c o m m u n i c a t i o n c o m p l a i n e d o f was h i g h l y p o l i t i c a l since it criticized the  conduct o f g o v e r n m e n t o f f i c i a l s i n southern states f o r a l l o w i n g segregation to continue. T h e Court's d e c i s i o n w a s c o n c e r n e d w i t h the ability o f the press to e f f e c t i v e l y c o v e r the d e v e l o p m e n t o f the desegregationist c i v i l rights m o v e m e n t i n these states a n d w i t h the p r e v e n t i o n o f a c h i l l i n g effect o n the c o n d u c t o f the media's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to w a t c h the government. It has been argued that i n order to r e m e d y a n extraordinary, isolated case a rule w a s i n t r o d u c e d w h i c h created unintended a n d distressing e f f e c t s .  82  F u r t h e r m o r e , the C o u r t i n Hill referred to the o p i n i o n that the n e w standard has put great pressure o n the f a c t - f i n d i n g process a n d s i g n i f i c a n t l y c o m p l i c a t e d it since courts were n o w required to m a k e subjective determinations as to w h o is a p u b l i c figure a n d what is a matter o f public concern.  (Indeed, the experience i n the U . S . c o n c e r n i n g the p u b l i c figure concept is  noteworthy. Initially, the rule a p p l i e d to p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s o n l y . T h e n it w a s e x p a n d e d to p u b l i c figures, a b r o a d category i n c l u d i n g f a m o u s n o n - o f f i c i a l p l a i n t i f f s .  84  T h e court even went so far  as to extend the category to a l l private plaintiffs as l o n g as they were i n v o l v e d i n events o f p u b l i c o r general c o n c e r n o r interest.  85  T h e question whether the p l a i n t i f f is a p u b l i c figure  i n c r e a s i n g l y d i v i d e d the court and left c o n f u s i o n i n its w a k e . ) 86  A n o t h e r p o i n t o f c r i t i c i s m w a s that  New York Times  allegedly shifted the focus o f defamation  suits a w a y f r o m their o r i g i n a l p u r p o s e o f ascertaining the truth o f the i m p u g n e d statement to the  New York Times v. Sullivan 376 U.S. 254, atpara.51. Tingley, supra n.26, at pp.640, 641. Hill v. Church of Scientology (1995), 126 D.L.R. (4 ) 129, at p.166. Curtis Publishing Company v. Butts (1967), 388 U.S. 130. Rosenbloom v. Metromedia (1971), 403 U.S. 29. In order to complete the development it should be added that in Philadelphia Newspapers Inc v. Hepps (1986) 475 U.S. 767 it was held that a private plaintiff not only must prove fault and actual damage (which had been established in Gertz before) but also falsity. 81  8 2 83  th  84 85  8 6  171  determination whether the defendant acted w i t h fault. A l t h o u g h it is not necessarily true that d e f a m a t i o n l a w p r i m a r i l y is c o n c e r n e d w i t h ascertaining the truth, the emphasis i n cases under the U . S . rule admittedly is o n the p r o o f o f actual m a l i c e and thereby fault.  T h i s shift a l l e g e d l y b r i n g s about several detrimental effects. F o r instance, the p r o o f o f m a l i c e o n the part o f a m e d i a defendant i n v o l v e s often extensive p l a i n t i f f w i l l have to explore the editorial process,  i n q u i r y into m e d i a procedures.  The  investigate the notes a n d sources o f the  journalist a n d f i n d out b y w h i c h m a n n e r the latter prepares his story i n order to p r o v e that the defendant h a d k n o w l e d g e . S i n c e the defendant's state o f m i n d has to be e x a m i n e d , there s i m p l y is m o r e to litigate w h i c h , i n turn, increases the length o f the trial a n d the cost o f litigation. C o n t r a r y to the p u r p o s e o f the actual m a l i c e test, the r i s i n g costs o f litigation and the frequency o f actions i n the result  that the  post-Sullivan  very  evil  the  era were said to contribute to m e d i a s e l f - c e n s o r s h i p , w i t h the actual  malice  standard was  s u p p o s e d to  eliminate has  been  87  aggravated.  In s u m , it has b e e n said that the actual m a l i c e rule gives insufficient w e i g h t to reputation and affords inadequate protection to it because it places a h e a v y onus o f p r o o f o n the p u b l i c o f f i c i a l w h o is b a s i c a l l y left without a r e m e d y .  88  W h i l e it is a c k n o w l e d g e d that robust and unfair  c r i t i c i s m is part o f the p r i c e o f g o i n g into p u b l i c life, the p e r s o n c o n c e r n e d s h o u l d not be d e p r i v e d o f h i s right to reputation. H o w e v e r , the d e c i s i o n i n  New York Times  was a j u d i c i a l endorsement o f the v i e w s o f A l e x a n d e r  Tingley, supra n.26, at pp.636-638. In Theophanous v. Herald Weekly Times Ltd. (1994) 124 A.L.R. 1, at p.21 the Court held that the test tilts the balance unduly in favour of free speech against the protection of individual reputation. See also Boivin, supra n.17, at p.240. 172 88  M e i k l e j o h n , an A m e r i c a n political philosopher, in  a  representative  democracy  have  to  be  w h o s e argument was that because the citizens able  to  exercise  i n f o r m e d consent,  political  c o m m u n i c a t i o n must be treated i n a m u c h m o r e protective w a y . T h a t is what the U . S . d i d in  New York Times:  they gave m o r e w e i g h t to f r e e d o m o f p o l i t i c a l speech.  A p a r t f r o m that, the c r i t i c i s m brought f o r w a r d against  New York Times  is at least in part  u n c o n v i n c i n g . T h e d e c i s i o n admittedly was based o n c o m p e l l i n g facts. N e v e r t h e l e s s , it cannot be said that the p r e v i o u s c o m m o n l a w rule was satisfying and was carelessly discharged i n order to resolve a single case. E v e n the critics o f this d e c i s i o n do not advocate a return to the o l d r e g i m e o f d e f a m a t i o n law.  The  argument  that  the  U . S . d e c i s i o n shifted the  focus  of  defamation  suits  away  from  ascertaining the truth o f the allegations to the determination whether the defendant acted w i t h fault also does not support the maintenance o f the existing d e f a m a t i o n l a w . T h e issue o f truth t e c h n i c a l l y o n l y arises  i n d e f a m a t i o n litigation where the defendant pleads the defence  of  justification. O t h e r w i s e a statement, once regarded defamatory, is l e g a l l y a s s u m e d to be false as the case proceeds.  T h u s , the law o f d e f a m a t i o n has never b e e n p r i m a r i l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h  r e v e a l i n g the truth o f the p u b l i s h e d material. I cannot see that it is w r o n g to focus on the defendant's fault. Indeed, to raise the issue o f fault is exactly what I suggest. N o person should be liable for any d a m a g e caused b y h i m unless he acted w i t h s o m e k i n d o f fault and, thus, actually is r e s p o n s i b l e i n a legal sense for what he d i d .  Nevertheless, the U . S . actual m a l i c e rule has its disadvantages, s u c h as the l i m i t e d applicability and the c o m p l i c a t i o n s w i t h regard to d e t e r m i n i n g w h o is a p u b l i c figure a n d what is a matter o f  89  Ian Loveland, "Reforming Libel Law: The Public Law Dimension", International and Comparative Law 173  p u b l i c importance. T o require the p l a i n t i f f to p r o v e actual m a l i c e also goes quite far at the expense o f the protection o f his personal reputation. H o w e v e r , m y p r o p o s a l w i l l a v o i d these issues.  3. N e g l i g e n c e Standard C o m b i n i n g ideas f r o m b o t h o f these latter two proposals (defence o f due d i l i g e n c e and actual m a l i c e rule), I suggest that strict liability be discarded b y a n e g l i g e n c e standard i n all cases o f defamation, independent o f the status o f the p l a i n t i f f or the defendant, and irrespective o f the publication's subject matter, where the p l a i n t i f f has to p r o v e fault, i.e. intention or negligence, o n the part o f the defendant.  A distinction between p u b l i c o f f i c i a l plaintiffs and private plaintiffs, or between m e d i a and n o n media  defendants,  would only  lead  to  additional c o m p l i c a t i o n s .  The  guarantee  of  free  expression i n s.2(b) is a c c o r d e d to the p u b l i c generally, and the status o f the persons concerned s h o u l d i n p r i n c i p l e not m a k e a difference for the purpose o f b a l a n c i n g f r e e d o m o f expression and  personal  reputation.  It  can,  however,  be  taken  into  account  i n the  course  determination whether the defendant acted negligently, i.e. w h e n m e a s u r i n g the  of  the  defendant's  conduct against what a reasonable p e r s o n w o u l d have done under c o m p a r a b l e circumstances. In cases c o n c e r n i n g the c r i t i c i s m o f a p u b l i c o f f i c i a l m o r e leeway s h o u l d be g i v e n to the publisher i f the i n f o r m a t i o n deals w i t h a matter o f p u b l i c interest. A p a r t f r o m this, the basic rule needs to be the same f o r every p l a i n t i f f and defendant. F i n a l l y , it has b e e n demonstrated that all expressive content is w o r t h y o f protection, not o n l y s u c h content that deals w i t h matters o f p u b l i c importance. T h e r e f o r e , the scope o f s.2(b) w i t h regard to d e f a m a t i o n actions s h o u l d not be r e d u c e d to the protection o f p u b l i c a t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g  Quarterly, ser.4, vol.4, 1997, 561, at p.572. See also chapter one for Meiklejohn. 174  p u b l i c affairs.  With  the  defence  o f due d i l i g e n c e this p r o p o s a l has  i n c o m m o n universal applicability.  H o w e v e r , w h i l e B o i v i n offers a defence that c a n rebut the p r e s u m p t i o n o f fault, I argue that this p r e s u m p t i o n has to b e a b o l i s h e d all together. C o m p a r e d to  New York Times m y  s o l u t i o n is broader i n so far as it applies to all cases o f  d e f a m a t i o n without differentiating between p u b l i c o f f i c i a l plaintiffs a n d private persons. T h u s , the r e p r o a c h o f putting pressure o n the f a c t - f i n d i n g process, w h i c h has b e e n raised against the decision i n  New York Times, is  eliminated. A t the same time, the n e g l i g e n c e standard requires  less o f the p l a i n t i f f w i t h regard to p r o v i n g fault o n the part o f the defendant. T h e actual m a l i c e rule m a d e it necessary to p r o v e the defendant's k n o w l e d g e o f the falsity o f his allegations, or that he acted w i t h reckless disregard as to whether they were true o r not (with recklessness b e i n g a v e r y h i g h degree o f negligence). N e g l i g e n c e , o n the other h a n d , focuses o n the question whether the p u b l i s h e r k n e w or s h o u l d have k n o w n that his defamatory statement was false, whether he acted without reasonable care i n ascertaining the truth o f h i s imputations, or whether he f a i l e d to use o r d i n a r y care to determine the truth or falsity o f his allegation. T h e defendant's conduct w i l l be m e a s u r e d against what a reasonable p e r s o n w o u l d have d o n e under the same or s i m i l a r circumstances. S u c h a standard, w h i c h lightens the b u r d e n o f the p l a i n t i f f f r o m h a v i n g to p r o v e recklessness to h a v i n g to p r o v e n e g l i g e n c e , gives m o r e w e i g h t to p e r s o n a l reputation than the actual m a l i c e rule does.  W i t h respect to the onus o f p r o o f ,  s!  o f the Charter requires that the party w h o wants to  m a i n t a i n a l i m i t a t i o n o f a guaranteed right or f r e e d o m j u s t i f y this restriction. In l i b e l actions the p l a i n t i f f relies o n the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n w h i c h restricts the defendant's right to free expression. T h e r e f o r e , a c c o r d i n g to the w a y s !  175  places the onus o f p r o o f , the p l a i n t i f f has to  p r o v e that the defendant acted intentionally or negligently. T h e defendant w i l l be liable o n l y i f the p l a i n t i f f c a n s h o w that the defendant acted unreasonably i n p u b l i s h i n g the  defamatory  statement, i.e. that he f a i l e d to exercise that degree o f care that a reasonable, prudent person w o u l d h a v e exercised under c o m p a r a b l e circumstances  to protect persons f r o m a defamatory  falsehood.  IV. Presumption o f Falsity C l o s e l y l i n k e d to the p r o b l e m o f p r e s u m e d fault is the p r e s u m p t i o n o f falsity. It has been e x p l a i n e d before that o n l y a g o o d reputation w h i c h is i n fact e n j o y e d b y the p l a i n t i f f w i l l be protected b y the c o m m o n l a w o f d e f a m a t i o n . A n o t h e r p r e m i s e is that s u c h a personal reputation, w h i c h the p l a i n t i f f does deserve, can o n l y be injured b y false d e f a m a t o r y statements. F o r this reason, the defence o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n was introduced, g i v i n g the defendant the p o s s i b i l i t y o f s h o w i n g the truth o f his allegations. T h e basic p r i n c i p l e is that a reputation w h i c h can be d a m a g e d b y the truth does not deserve protection b y the l a w . N o w , i f truth is v a l u e d too m u c h to attach a penalty to its p u b l i c a t i o n , falsity o f the c o m p l a i n e d - o f material must be a p r e c o n d i t i o n for the success o f a l i b e l action. A p a r t from that, it is, i n m y o p i n i o n , generally a greater evil to p e n a l i z e true e x p r e s s i o n , w h o s e protection is i n the interest o f the p u b l i c , than to refuse a p l a i n t i f f the right to r e c o v e r damages for i n j u r y to his reputation due to the failure o f p r o v i n g falsity.  B e i n g s u c h an essential element, falsity cannot s i m p l y be p r e s u m e d ; it needs to be p r o v e n . T h e onus o f d o i n g so s h o u l d b e o n the p l a i n t i f f as the one w h o wants to j u s t i f y a l i m i t a t i o n o f free expression, a g a i n f o l l o w i n g the basic rule i n s !  o f the Charter. A n d o f course, fault o n the part  o f the defendant has to c o v e r the element o f falsity, i.e. it is necessary that the defendant acted at least n e g l i g e n t l y w i t h regard to the falsity o f his allegations. 176  V . Presumption o f Damage O n the same g r o u n d s , the p r e s u m p t i o n o f damage needs to b e a b o l i s h e d . I f the objective o f d e f a m a t i o n l a w is to compensate a p e r s o n for the damage his g o o d reputation suffered f r o m the p u b l i c a t i o n o f injurious allegations, it is elementary that s o m e k i n d o f d a m a g e must actually have resulted f r o m the d e f a m a t i o n .  In G e r m a n y § 253 o f the C i v i l C o d e , w h i c h determines that i n the absence o f p e c u n i a r y loss c o m p e n s a t i o n f o r a n i n j u r y m a y o n l y b e a w a r d e d i n the cases s p e c i f i e d b y l a w , reminds the court to b e v e r y c a r e f u l i n a w a r d i n g d a m a g e s .  90  I n the f i e l d o f d e f a m a t i o n it is particularly  c o m p l i c a t e d to assess damages because o f the d i f f i c u l t y o f assessing m o n e t a r y c o m p e n s a t i o n for injuries s u c h as p e r s o n a l h u m i l i a t i o n , insult or indignity, to n a m e a few. I n effect, the concept o f p r e s u m e d d a m a g e invites courts (especially juries) to p u n i s h u n p o p u l a r o p i n i o n rather than to compensate i n d i v i d u a l s f o r i n j u r y suffered b y the p u b l i c a t i o n o f defamatory statements.  This  danger has to b e redressed. A f t e r a l l , i n the early years o f d e f a m a t i o n l a w , w h e n slander constituted the p r e d o m i n a n t part o f d e f a m a t i o n actions, it w a s necessary to p r o v e actual loss i n order to r e c o v e r damages. T h e same basic rule s h o u l d still a p p l y today where, as a result o f social d e v e l o p m e n t a n d change, l i b e l actions p r e v a i l over slander actions. T h e r e f o r e , the p l a i n t i f f s h o u l d o n l y b e able to recover damages i f he c a n p r o v e that he indeed sustained d a m a g e .  VI. Conclusion In effect, m y p r o p o s a l resembles the a p p r o a c h adopted i n parts o f the U n i t e d States f o l l o w i n g New York Times. T h e U . S . S u p r e m e C o u r t h a d h e l d i n Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc. that the states were free to define f o r themselves the appropriate standard o f l i a b i l i t y f o r the p u b l i c a t i o n o f  177  defamatory falsehoods, so l o n g as they do not i m p o s e liability without f a u l t .  91  M a n y states made  use o f this p e r m i s s i o n b y i n t r o d u c i n g a n e g l i g e n c e standard, where d a m a g e was no longer p r e s u m e d , e v e n t u a l l y a b o l i s h i n g the c o m m o n l a w p r e s u m p t i o n s . H o w e v e r , for the most part the distinction b e t w e e n p u b l i c figures a n d private plaintiffs has been retained.  A s I have e x p l a i n e d before, I reject s u c h a differentiation and instead argue for equal treatment o f a l l d e f a m a t i o n actions. A c c o r d i n g to m y p r o p o s a l , the p l a i n t i f f not o n l y has to establish that the w o r d s c o m p l a i n e d o f are defamatory, identified the p l a i n t i f f a n d were p u b l i s h e d to a third person. H e also has to p r o v e the falsity o f the allegations at issue a n d that he i n fact sustained injury. F i n a l l y , the p l a i n t i f f has to p r o v e fault o n the part o f the defendant w i t h regard to the p u b l i c a t i o n o f false a n d defamatory material. A f t e r what has b e e n demonstrated and e x p l a i n e d i n the course o f this chapter, fault o n the part o f the defendant has to c o m p r i s e every single element o f the cause o f action, not o n l y the act o f p u b l i c a t i o n . T h u s , the defendant h a d to be aware o f the fact that he c o m m u n i c a t e d a false, defamatory statement i d e n t i f y i n g the p l a i n t i f f and he h a d to act at least without reasonable care as to whether his allegations were true or false. T h e s e aspects have to b e p r o v e n b y the plaintiff.  A f t e r a d o p t i n g these m o d i f i c a t i o n s , the c o m m o n law o f d e f a m a t i o n certainly w i l l do justice to the importance o f free expression as guaranteed i n s.2(b) o f the Charter to a greater degree, w h i l e still a f f o r d i n g protection to the i n d i v i d u a l ' s reputation, a n d it w i l l , I content, be apt to meet the requirements o f the m i n i m u m i m p a i r m e n t test under s ! o f the Charter.  91  See chapter four, note 33. (1974), 418 U.S. 323,atp.347. 178  THESIS  A.  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Books  Blackshield/Williams/  A u s t r a l i a n Constitutional L a w T h e o r y  Fitzgerald  T h e F e d e r a t i o n Press, R i v e r w o o d , N S W ,  Bower, Spencer  Bower on Actionable Defamation 2  Brown, Raymond  nd  ed., Butterworths, L o n d o n ,  1987  C a r t e r - R u c k o n L i b e l and Slander 3  Coleman, Henry  1923  The L a w o f Defamation in Canada Vol.1, Carswell, Toronto,  C a r t e r - R u c k , Peter F .  1996  rd  ed., Butterworths, L o n d o n ,  1985  F o l k a r d o n Slander and L i b e l 5  th  ed., Butterworths, L o n d o n ,  1891  (and T h o m a s Starkie) Dworkin, Ronald  F r e e d o m ' s L a w - the M o r a l R e a d i n g o f the A m e r i c a n Constitution H a r v a r d U n i v e r s i t y Press, C a m b r i d g e , M a s s a c h u s e t t s ,  Eldredge, Laurence  The L a w o f Defamation B o b b s - M e r i l l C o . , Indianapolis,  Emerson, Thomas  1970  T h e L a w o f Torts 9  Greenawalt, K e n t  1966  The System o f Freedom o f Expression R a n d o m House, N e w Y o r k ,  Fleming, John  1978  T o w a r d s a G e n e r a l T h e o r y o f the First A m e n d m e n t Random House, N e w York,  Emerson, Thomas  th  ed., L B C , T o r o n t o ,  1998  S p e e c h , C r i m e , and the U s e s o f L a n g u a g e O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y Press, N e w Y o r k ,  Greenawalt, K e n t  1996  Free Speech  1989  Justifications  In Constitutional L a w o f C a n a d a , b y M a g n e t 4 Greenawalt, K e n t  th  e d . , Vol.11, Y v o n B l a i s Inc., M o n t r e a l ,  1989  F i g h t i n g W o r d s ; Individuals, C o m m u n i t i e s and L i b e r t i e s o f Speech P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y Press, P r i n c e t o n , N e w Jersey,  179  1995  H o g g , Peter W .  Constitutional L a w o f C a n a d a 4  Honwana Welch, Gita  ed., C a r s w e l l , T o r o n t o ,  th  1996  T h e M e a n i n g and S i g n i f i c a n c e o f the F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n In R o b e r t M a r t i n , S p e a k i n g F r e e l y , Irwin L a w , T o r o n t o ,  K i n g , John  The L a w of Defamation in Canada Carswell, Toronto,  Klar, Lewis  1907  Tort L a w 2  Ladenson, Robert  1999  ed., C a r s w e l l , L o n d o n ,  nd  1996  A P h i l o s o p h y o f F r e e E x p r e s s i o n and its C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Applications R o w m a n and L i t t l e f i e l d , N e w Jersey,  Linden, Allan  Canadian Tort L a w 6  Locke, John  ed., Butterworths, T o r o n t o ,  th  1997  Treatise o f C i v i l G o v e r n m e n t s and a Letter c o n c e r n i n g T o l e r a t i o n Appleton-Century-Crafts, N e w Y o r k ,  Meiklejohn, Alexander  1983  1965  Political Freedom H a r p e r and Brothers Publishers, N e w Y o r k ,  M i l l , J o h n Stuart  O n L i b e r t y and Considerations o n Representative G o v e r n m e n t Basil Blackwell, Oxford,  Milton, John  1946  Aeropagitica U n i v e r s i t y T u t o r i a l Press, L o n d o n , 1968  Osborne, Philip  1948  (from  T h e L a w o f Torts I r w i n L a w , T o r o n t o , 2000  Rogers, B . V . H .  W i n f i e l d & Jolowitc on Tort 15  th  ed., Sweet M a x w e l l , T o r o n t o ,  1998  Sharpe, R o b e r t  T h e Charter o f R i g h t s and F r e e d o m s  Swinton, Katherine  Irwin L a w , T o r o n t o ,  Schauer, F r e d e r i k  F r e e S p e e c h : a P h i l o s o p h i c a l Inquiry  1998  C a m b r i d g e U n i v e r s i t y Press, C a m b r i d g e ,  180  1982  1644)  B . Articles i n Journals  Blasi, Vincent  T h e C h e c k i n g V a l u e i n First A m e n d m e n t T h e o r y A m e r i c a n B a r F o u n d a t i o n R e s e a r c h Journal 1977, 521  Boivin, Denis  A c c o m m o d a t i n g F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n and R e p u t a t i o n i n the C o m m o n L a w o f Defamation (1997) 22 Q u e e n s L a w Journal 2 2 9  Cass, R o n a l d A .  First A m e n d m e n t A c c e s s to G o v e r n m e n t F a c i l i t i e s (1979) 65 V a n d e r b i l t L a w R e v i e w 1287  Dearden, Richard G .  C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Protection for D e f a m a t o r y W o r d s P u b l i s h e d about the C o n d u c t o f P u b l i c O f f i c i a l s In D a v i d S c h n e i d e r m a n , F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n and the Charter T h o m s o n P r o f e s s i o n a l P u b l i s h i n g C o m p a n y , C a l g a r y , 1991  Devlin, Richard  Mapping Legal Theory (1994) 32 A l b e r t a L a w R e v i e w 602  Donnely, R . C .  History o f Defamation (1949) W i s c o n s i n L a w R e v i e w 99  Doody, Michael  F r e e d o m o f the Press, T h e C a n a d i a n Charter o r R i g h t s and F r e e d o m s , and a N e w C a t e g o r y o f Q u a l i f i e d P r i v i l e g e (1983) 61 C a n a d i a n B a r R e v i e w 124  Etherington, B r i a n  Notes o n Cases C a n a d i a n B a r R e v i e w 1987, 818  Gibbons, Thomas  Defamation Reconsidered (1996) 16 O x f o r d Journal o f L e g a l Studies 587  H o g g , Peter W .  Section 1 Revisited N a t i o n a l Journal o f C o n s t i t u t i o n a l L a w 1, 1991/92, 1  Klar, Lewis  " I f y o u don't h a v e anything g o o d to say about  someone..."  In D a v i d S c h n e i d e r m a n , F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n and the Charter T h o m s o n P r o f e s s i o n a l P u b l i s h i n g C o m p a n y , C a l g a r y , 1991 Lepofsky, David  T o w a r d s a P u r p o s i v e A p p r o a c h to F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n and its Limitations T h e C a m b r i d g e Lectures 1989, L e s editions Y v o n B l a i s Inc., 1990  Lepofsky, David  M a k i n g Sense o f the L i b e l C h i l l D e b a t e : d o L i b e l s ' c h i l l ' the Exercise o f Freedom o f Expression? (1994) 4 N a t i o n a l Journal o f C o n s t i t u t i o n a l L a w 169  181  L o v e l a n d , Ian  Reforming Libel L a w : The Public L a w Dimension (1997) International and C o m p a r a t i v e L a w Q u a r t e r l y Series 4, V o l . 4 6 , 561  Madott, Darlene  L i b e l L a w , F i c t i o n , and the Charter (1983) 21 O s g o o d e H a l l L a w Journal 741  M o o n , Richard  T h e Scope o f Freedom o f Expression (1985) 23 O s g o o d e H a l l L a w Journal (1-2), 331  M o o n Richard  T h e S u p r e m e C o u r t o f C a n a d a o n the Structure o f F r e e d o m o f Expression Adjudication (1995) 45 U n i v e r s i t y o f T o r o n t o L a w Journal 4 1 9  Post, R o b e r t C .  T h e S o c i a l F o u n d a t i o n s o f D e f a m a t i o n L a w : R e p u t a t i o n and the Constitution (1986) 74 C a l i f o r n i a L a w R e v i e w 691  Probert, W a l t e r  D e f a m a t i o n : A C a m o u f l a g e o f P s y c h i c Interests: T h e B e g i n n i n g o f behavioural A n a l y s i s (1962) 15 V a n d e r b i l t L a w R e v i e w 1173  R o s s , June  T h e C o m m o n L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n F a i l s to E n t e r the A g e o f the Charter (1996) 35 A l b e r t a L a w R e v i e w 117  Scanlon, Thomas  A Theory o f Expression P h i l o s o p h y and P u b l i c A f f a i r s , V o l . 1 , 1971, 203 P r i n t e d i n Schauer, T h e P h i l o s o p h y o f L a w , Hartcourt B r a c e C o l l e g e Publishers, P h i l a d e l p h i a , 1996, 364  Tingley, Charles  Reputation, F r e e d o m o f E x p r e s s i o n and the T o r t o f D e f a m a t i o n i n the U n i t e d States and C a n a d a : A D e c e p t i v e P o l a r i t y (1999) A l b e r t a L a w R e p o r t (3-4) 620  V a n Veechten, Veeder  T h e H i s t o r y and T h e o r y o f the L a w o f D e f a m a t i o n (1903) 3 C o l u m b i a L a w R e v i e w 546  C . G e r m a n Literature  I. G e r m a n C o m m e n t a r i e s a n d B o o k s  Bonner Grundgesetz  Kommentar z u m Grundgesetz C F . M u l l e r , H e i d e l b e r g , Stand N o v . 2 0 0 0  182  Jarass/Pieroth  G r u n d g e s e t z fur die B u n d e s r e p u b l i k D e u t s c h l a n d 3  Pieroth/Schlink  ed., C F . M i i l l e r V e r l a g , H e i d e l b e r g ,  th  1995  Grundgesetz K o m m e n t a r C H . Beck Verlag, Munchen  Schmidt-Bleibtreu  1995  G r u n d r e c h t e , Staatsrecht II 11  Sachs, M i c h a e l  ed., C H . B e c k V e r l a g , M u n c h e n ,  rd  1999  Kommentar z u m Grundgesetz 9  th  ed., L u c h t e r h a n d , N e u w i e d ,  1999  II. A r t i c l e s i n G e r m a n J o u r n a l s  G r i m m , Dieter  D i e M e i n u n g s f r e i h e i t i n der R e c h t s p r e c h u n g des Bundesverfassungsgerichts N J W 1995,  Jarass, H a n s  1697  D a s allgemeine Persdnlichkeitsrecht i m G r u n d g e s e t z N J W 1989,  Kriele, Martin  957  Ehrschutz und Meinungsfreiheit N J W 1994,  Kiibler, Friedrich  Ehrschutz, Selbstbestimmung und Demokratie J Z 1984,  Ossenbiihl, Fritz  541  M e d i e n zwischen Macht und Recht J Z 1995,  Schmitt G l a e s e r , W a l t e r  1897  633  Meinungsfreiheit, Ehrschutz und Toleranzgebot N J W 1996,  Seyfarth, G e o r g  873  D e r E i n f l u B des Verfassungsrechts a u f z i v i l r e c h t l i c h e Ehrschutzklagen N J W 1999,  Stark, C h r i s t i a n  Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit u n d F a c h g e r i c h t e J Z 1996,  Tettinger, Peter  1287  1032  D a s R e c h t der p e r s o n l i c h e n E h r e i n der W e l t o r d n u n g des JuS 1997,  Zacker, Christian  769  D i e M e i n u n g s f r e i h e i t z w i s c h e n d e n M i i h l s t e i n e n der E h r a b Schneider u n d der M e n s c h e n w i i r d e D O V 1997,  238  183  

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share