The Third Man: Reform of the Australasian Defamation Defences
1 Jan 2004
The Third Man Reform of the Australasian Defamation Defences plots an entirely new course for defamation law reform and in doing so provides a detailed analysis of the current Australasian defences. Its starting point is the recognition that a cause of action in defamation presupposes the existence of at least three people: a plaintiff; a defendant; and a person to whom the defamatory material is published (the Third Man of the title, which was inspired by Carol Reed's 1949 film masterpiece of the same name). The central thesis of the book is that many of the intractable problems apparent in the current defensive regime disappear if the focus is changed to take account of the legitimate interests of the recipients of defamatory publications. The first two chapters set out powerful arguments for the acceptance of this third man principle. The following six contain a searching evaluation of the current Australasian defences by reference to this principle. Each treatment of an existing area of defence concludes by proposing draft model provisions designed to satisfy the third man principle. The threads of these individual proposals are woven together into a single, cohesive fabric model Part Z in the final chapter and accompanying appendix. The authoritative Law of Defamation (The Federation Press, 1998 now out of print; new edition planned) established Michael Gillooly as a leading scholar in the field of defamation law. Many will find The Third Man compelling, both in its analysis of defences in the current law and his argument for reform.