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A History of Private Law in Scotland: Volume 2: Obligations$
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Kenneth Reid and Reinhard Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299288

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299288.001.0001

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(p.633) 21 Defamation
A History of Private Law in Scotland: Volume 2: Obligations


Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on defamation, a law of injuria, which was initially treated as a delict of intention and later moved to a bigger spectrum of de facto strict liability. The chapter is divided into two sections. The first section discusses the development of the general law within five periods which are critical in the history of Scots law. These five periods which chronicle the development of the general law of defamation include the pre-Reformation period, the Reformation to the mid-18th century, the early 19th century to the First World War, and the First World War to the present. The second section of the chapter discusses the areas of doctrinal stress arising from the changing analysis of the law of injuria. Topics discussed in the latter portion of this chapter include: the manner and time which made the presumption of animus irrebutable; the failure to develop of the applications of the law of injuria; the relative relevance of truth; defences; remedies; and terminological change.

Keywords:   Defamation, law of injuria, delict, Scots law, injuria, strict liability, animus

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