Defamatory comment on the judiciary

Lange qualified privilege in Popovic v Herald & Weekly Times

Roy Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In Popovic v Herald & Weekly Times the Supreme Court of Victoria, in awarding a magistrate defamed in the course of her duties almost $250,000, took the view that Lange qualified privilege will not generally apply to discussion of the judiciary. This article argues that Australia's constitutional protection for expression relating to politics and government should be extended to criticism of the judiciary, just as it is to criticism of other sections of government. What is more, statements of opinion should be distinguished from those of fact when it comes to applying the Lange test of reasonableness, particularly as regards the requirement that a response be sought and published. A defendant should not necessarily fail the reasonableness test due to lack of care as to how a publication might be interpreted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalMedia and arts law review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • defamation
  • free speech
  • political expression
  • Australian constitutional law
  • media law
  • journalists and the law
  • journalism and the law
  • defence of Lange privilege
  • defence of comment

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