Commencement of Stage 1 Defamation Law Reforms – 1 July 2021


On 1 July 2021, Stage 1 of the nationally agreed defamation law reforms in Part 5 of the Justice Legislation Amendment (Supporting Victims and Other Matters) Act 2020 (Vic) commenced in Victoria. The reforms implement amendments to the Model Defamation Provisions developed by the Council of Attorneys-General Defamation Working Party (the DWP).

The amendments implement key changes that will improve the balance between protecting reputations and freedom of expression, particularly in matters of public interest.

The DWP continues to work on Stage 2 reforms, which are largely focused on:

  1. addressing the question of internet intermediary liability for defamatory conduct of third parties; and
  2. considering the impact of defamation law on reports of alleged criminal conduct and misconduct.

The Victorian Bar’s Defamation Law Working Group prepared a detailed submission in response to the Stage 2 Discussion Paper, which can be accessed here.