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Harry Stratton: Allow judges to grant interim injunctions against defamatory publications

I would overturn the rule in Bonnard v Perryman [1891] 2 Ch 269 and allow judges to grant interim injunctions against defamatory publications.

Interim injunctions exist to prevent irreparable harm. Defamatory publications represent such a harm. Once a false accusation is aired to the world, the toothpaste is out of the tube. This is undeniably so in the age of social media. Irrespective what a court finds later, there will always be a cloud of suspicion hanging over an individual, for which damages are inadequate: compensation for reputational harm and emotional distress is difficult to calculate and, in NSW, artificially capped. A person should be entitled to a fair trial to defend their reputation in court, not a trial by media where tabloid journalists are judge and jury.

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