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Encyclopedia > Fair comment
Tort law
Part of the common law series
Intentional torts
Assault  · Battery
False arrest  · False imprisonment
Intentional infliction of emotional distress
Property torts
Trespass to chattels
Trespass to land  · Conversion
Detinue  · Replevin  · Trover
Dignitary and economic torts
Slander and libel  · Invasion of privacy
Fraud  · Tortious interference
Conspiracy  · Abuse of process
Malicious prosecution
Defenses to intentional torts
Consent  · Necessity
Self defense and defense of others
Negligent torts
Negligence  · Negligent hiring
Negligent entrustment
Negligent infliction of emotional distress
Doctrines affecting liability
Duty of care  · Standard of care
Proximate cause  · Res ipsa loquitur
Calculus of negligence  · Eggshell skull
Vicarious liability  · Attractive nuisance
Rescue doctrine  · Duty to rescue
Comparative responsibility  ·
Duties owed to visitors to property
Trespassers  · Licensees  · Invitees
Defenses to negligence
Contributory negligence
Comparative negligence
Assumption of risk  · Intervening cause
Strict liability
Ultrahazardous activity
Products liability
Nuisance
Other areas of the common law
Contract law  · Property law
Wills and trusts
Criminal law  · Evidence

Fair comment is a legal term for a common law defense in defamation cases (libel or slander). Image File history File links Scale_of_justice. ... In the common law, a Tort is a civil wrong, other than a breach of contract, for which the law provides a remedy. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... An intentional tort is a category of torts that describes a civil wrong resulting from an intentional act on the part of the tortfeasor. ... At common law, battery is the tort of intentionally (or in Australia negligently) and voluntarily touching another person without lawful excuse or justification. ... False arrest is a common law tort, where a plaintiff alleges he or she was held in custody without reasonable cause or an order issued by a court of appropriate jurisdiction. ... False Imprisonment is a common law tort, and possibly a misdemeanor crime, wherein a person is intentionally confined without legal authority. ... Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) is a common law tort claim for intentional conduct that results in extreme emotional distress. ... Trespass to chattels is a tort whereby the infringing party has intentionally (or in Australia negligently) interfered with another persons lawful possession of a chattel. ... Trespass to land is a common law tort that is committed when an individual intentionally (or in Australia negligently) enters the land of another without lawful excuse. ... In law, conversion is a tort that deals with the wrongful interference with goods. ... In tort law, detinue is an action for the wrongful detention of goods from an individual who has a greater right to immediate possession than the current possessor. ... Replevin is an Anglo-French law term (derived from repletir, to replevy). ... Trover signifies finding. ... In English and American law, and systems based on them, libel and slander are two forms of defamation (or defamation of character), which is the tort or delict of publishing (meaning to a third party) a false statement that negatively affects someones reputation. ... Invasion of privacy is a legal term essentially defined as a violation of the right to be left alone. ... Tortious interference, in the common law of tort, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiffs contractual or other business relationships. ... In the law of tort, the legal elements necessary to establish a civil conspiracy are substantially the same as for establishing a criminal conspiracy, i. ... Abuse of process is a common law intentional tort. ... Malicious prosecution is a common law intentional tort. ... Consent (as a term of jurisprudence) is a possible justification against civil or criminal liability. ... In tort law, the defense of necessity is divided between private necessity (where a person commits a tort for the defense of his own property) and public necessity (where a person commits a tort for the public good, such as cutting down someone elses trees to stop the spread... This article and defense of property deal with the legal concept of excused (sometimes termed justified) acts that might otherwise be illegal. ... In law, negligence is a type of tort or delict that can be either criminal or civil in nature. ... Negligent hiring is a cause of action in tort law that arises where one party is held liable for negligence because they placed another party in a position of authority or responsibility, and an injury resulted because of this placement. ... Negligent entrustment is a cause of action in tort law that arises where one party (the entrustor) is held liable for negligence because they negligently provided another party (the entrustee) with a dangerous instrumentality, and the entrusted party caused injury to a third party with that instrumentality. ... The tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is a controversial legal theory and is not accepted in many United States jurisdictions. ... In law, a duty of care is the legal requirement that a person exercise a reasonable standard of care to prevent injury of others. ... In tort law, the standard of care is the degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care. ... In the law, a proximate cause is an event sufficiently related to a legally recognizable injury to be held the cause of that injury. ... Res ipsa loquitur is a legal term from the Latin meaning literally, The thing speaks for itself. The doctrine is applied to claims which, as a matter of law, do not have to be explained beyond the obvious facts. ... The calculus of negligence is a term coined by Judge Learned Hand and describes a process for determining whether a legal duty of care has been breached (see negligence). ... The eggshell skull rule (or thin-skull rule) is a legal doctrine used in both tort law and criminal law that holds an individual liable for all consequences resulting from their activities leading to an injury to another person, even if the victim suffers unusual damages due to a pre... Vicarious liability is a form of strict, secondary liability that arises under the common law doctrine of agency – respondeat superior – the responsibility of the superior for the acts of their subordinate and can be distinguished from contributory liability, another form of secondary liability, which is rooted in the tort theory... Under the attractive nuisance doctrine of the law of torts, a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children, who are unable to appreciate the... The rescue doctrine of the law of torts holds that, where a tortfeasor creates a circumstance that places the tort victim in danger, the tortfeasor is liable not only for the harm caused to the victim, but also the harm caused to any person injured in an effort to rescue... A duty to rescue is a concept in the law of torts that arises in a narrow number of cases, describing a circumstance in which a party can be held liable for failing to come to the rescue of another party in peril. ... Comparative responsibility is a doctrine of tort law that compares the fault of each party in a law suit for a single injury. ... Trespasser (released in 1998) was a game taking place in the world of Jurassic Park. ... A licensee is a term used in the law of torts to describe a person who is on the property of another, despite the fact that the property is not open to the general public, because the owner of the property has allowed the licensee to enter. ... An invitee is a term used in the law of torts to describe a person who is on the property of another because that property owner has chosen to hold the property open to some portion of the general public, because the owner of the property has allowed the licensee... Contributory negligence is a common law defence to a claim or action in tort. ... Comparative negligence is a system of apportioning recovery for a tort based on a comparison of the plaintiffs negligence with the defendants. ... This is a defense in the law of torts. ... An intervening cause is a potential defense to the tort of negligence, if it is an unforseeable, and therefore superseding intervening cause, rather than a foreseeable intervening cause. ... Strict liability is a legal doctrine in tort law that makes a person responsible for the damages caused by their actions regardless of culpability (fault) or mens rea. ... An ultrahazardous activity in the common law of torts is one that is so inherently dangerous that a person engaged in such an activity can be held strictly liable for injuries caused to another person, even if the person engaged in the activity took every reasonable precaution to prevent others... Product liability encompasses a number of legal claims that allow an injured party to recover financial compensation from the manufacturer or seller of a product. ... Nuisance is a common law tort. ... All the textbooks define a contract as either a promise or an agreement that is enfored or recognised by the law. ... Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in real property (land as distinct from personal or movable possessions) and in personal property, within the common law legal system. ... In the common law, a will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator) regulates the rights of others over his property or family after death. ... The law of trusts and estates is generally considered the body of law which governs the management of personal affairs and the disposition of property of an individual in anticipation and the event of such persons incapacity or death, also known as the law of successions in civil law. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of common law that punishes criminals for committing offences against the state. ... The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (eg. ... This is a list of legal terms, often from Latin: A mensa et thoro A mensa et thoro, from bed and board. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... In English and American law, and systems based on them, libel and slander are two forms of defamation (or defamation of character), which is the tort or delict of making a false statement of fact that injures someones reputation. ... In English and American law, and systems based on them, libel and slander are two forms of defamation (or defamation of character), which is the tort or delict of making a false statement of fact that injures someones reputation. ... In English and American law, and systems based on them, libel and slander are two forms of defamation (or defamation of character), which is the tort or delict of making a false statement of fact that injures someones reputation. ...


United States

In the United States, the traditional privilege of "fair comment" is seen as a protection for robust, even outrageous published or spoken opinions about public officials and public figures. Fair comment is defined as a "common law defense [that] guarantees the freedom of the press to express statements on matters of public interest, as long as the statements are not made with ill will, spite, or with the intent to harm the plaintiff."[1]. Public figure is a legal term applied in the context of defamation actions (libel and slander). ...


The defense of "fair comment" in the U.S. since 1964 has largely been replaced by the ruling in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), (U.S. Supreme Court). This case relied on the issue of actual malice, which involves the defendant making a statement known at the time to be false, or which was made with a "reckless disregard" of whether the statement was true or false. If "actual malice" cannot be shown, the defense of "fair comment" is then superseded by the broader protection of the failure by the plaintiff to show "actual malice." Holding The First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, protected a newspaper from being sued for libel in state court for making false defamatory statements about the official conduct of a public official, because the statements were not made with knowing or reckless disregard for the truth. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... Actual malice in US law is defined as knowledge that the information was false or that it was published with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. ...


Each state writes its own laws of defamation, and the laws and previously decided precedants in each state vary. In many states, (including Alabama where the case of Times v. Sullivan originated), the "fair comment" defense requires that the "privilege of 'fair comment' for expressions of opinion depends on the truth of the facts upon which the comment is based" according to U.S Supreme Court Justice Brennan who wrote the ruling in Times v. Sullivan.[2]


It is still technically possible to rely only on the common law defense of "fair comment," but since there is no federal law of defamation, the Times v. Sullivan case, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, extends over state courts as a powerful legal precedant, and it provides more legal protection to a defendant, since under the concept of "actual malice," the absolute truth of the assertion need not be demonstrated.


For more on U.S. defamation laws, see: Media Libel - University of Houston


Canada

In Canada, for something to constitute fair comment, the comment must be on a matter of public interest (excluding gossip), a fair and honest expression of the author's opinion, based on known and provable facts, and with no actual malice underlying it. The cardinal test of whether a statement is fair comment is whether the author honestly believed the opinion, and whether it could be drawn from the known facts. It should also be obvious that the comment is an opinion and is not purporting to be a fact (Crawford 2002, pp. 48-52). (See Chernesky v. Armadale Publications Ltd. [1978] 6 W.W.R. 618 (S.C.C.)) Cherneskey v. ...


References

  • dictionary law.com
  • Media Libel - University of Houston
  • Opinion: "New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
  • Crawford, Michael G. The Journalist's Legal Guide, Carswell, 2002

 
 

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