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Written Answers. - Legislative Programme.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 26. Mr. Sherlock Information on Joe Sherlock Zoom on Joe Sherlock  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  his plans for reform of the libel laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18510/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell The Agreed Programme for Government indicates that the Government will, in the context of a statutory Press Council and improved privacy laws, move to implement reforms of libel laws designed to bring them into line with those of other states. I have recently established a legal advisory group on defamation with a brief to report, by the end of the year, on certain technical issues of a legal nature and which is, in particular, to take account of recent developments in other jurisdictions concerning this area of the law.

The Government's legislation programme, published on 7 October last, indicates that the publication of a defamation Bill is expected in mid-2003. It is, of course, the case that the scheme of a defamation Bill was approved in December 2001 and was subsequently forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General for formal drafting. It is envisaged that the work of the advisory group will proceed in parallel with that drafting process.

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