In determining whether the defence of qualified privilege should shield defamatory comments from liability, Canadian courts must assess many contextual factors that aim to strike an appropriate balance between the right to free expression and the protection of an individual's reputation. This paper examines the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal's decision in Campbell v. Jones, where the majority found that this privilege should extend to cover remarks alleging racist police motivations to the world at large. Chief Justice Glube and Justice Roscoe held that the two lawyers who made these comments had a professional responsibility to seek improvements to the administration of justice. This duty corresponded with the general public's interest in hearing the information, especially given the severity of the Charter violations in the search of three young black girls. In contrast, the dissent of Justice Saunders upheld the trial judge's decision to deny the defence of qualified privilege, or found, in the alternative, that the comments exceeded any such privilege. It is argued that the dissent's treatment of the contentious issues raised by this appeal represents the more thorough and desirable approach.
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James MacDuff & Kristen Rudderham, "The Irony of Campbell v. Jones: Tolerating Slander in the Pursuit of Justice" (2003) 12 Dal J Leg Stud 225.