LIBEL, LAW OF
In New Zealand, as in all countries where the jurisdiction of the common law of England runs, every man is entitled to his good name and the esteem, great or small, of his fellows. In short, he has a right to demand that his reputation shall not be disparaged or smirched by defamatory statements, written or oral, made about him to a third person or persons, without lawful justification. Hence the law of libel and slander. In New Zealand this law is represented by the Defamation Act 1954, relevant sections of the Crimes Act 1961, and the Post Office Act 1959. Generally speaking, the New Zealand Act runs parallel with the United Kingdom statute – the Defamation Act 1952. This represents the revision of the English law in the terms of the recommendations of the Committee on the Law of Defamation which, under the chairmanship of Lord Porter, one of the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, presented its report to the British Government in 1948. In general, therefore, New Zealand law on this subject is up to date with current thought and policy within the Commonwealth.