Dr. Eric Descheemaeker on “Protecting Reputation: Defamation and Negligence”

Dr. Eric Descheemaeker(University of Edinburgh – School of Law) has published “Protecting Reputation: Defamation and Negligence” Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2012/8. The abstract reads:

The present article concerns itself with the relationship between defamation and negligence in the protection of the interest in reputation. The bijection between defamation and reputation is typically thought of as perfect: defamation only protects reputation, while reputation is only protected by defamation. This article shows, however, that neither limb of the proposition is true; furthermore, there is no principled ground why they should be. In particular, there is no reason why the tort of negligence could not prima facie extend the scope of its protection to reputation. It might seem that the fact that negligence, as a tort, requires by construction culpa, whereas defamation appears to rely on either more or less than that as a standard of liability, would prove an insuperable stumbling-block in the way of this suggestion. The hurdle, however, is not nearly as formidable as it might appear at first, because, as this article documents, negligence has for more than a century been acting as a magnet on the law of defamation, surreptitiously bringing its standard of liability increasingly close to negligence-culpa.

Download a copy of the article via SSRN here.

One Response to “Dr. Eric Descheemaeker on “Protecting Reputation: Defamation and Negligence””

  1. Don Says:

    Thank you. Now, would you mind coming over here and explaining this to the Washington State Supreme Court, which has apparently ruled that libel and slander laws violate free speech, thereby striking down these laws and terminating all related lawsuits?

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