ANU Defamation Law Conference: The Changing Landscape of Defamation Law

Date & time
9am–2.30pm Tuesday 6 July 2021

Online via Zoom Webinar

ANU College of Law
ANU Defamation Conference 2021

The landscape of defamation law in Australia and overseas has been shifting over the past decade and more. Whether as a result of the rapid advancement in information technology, or due to deeper changes in the normative underpinnings and morality of reputational protection, the law of defamation has received widespread public attention for its perceived inadequacies or outdatedness. Value-laden terms such as ‘libel tourism’ and ‘chilling effect’ have gained a foothold in the public conscience.

This has led to reform in Australia, with the Council of Attorneys-General adopting amendments to the model defamation law, and the New South Wales Parliament being the first to introduce an amendment bill, in 2020. Almost a decade earlier, there was statutory reform of defamation law in the United Kingdom, and even earlier than that, in New Zealand.

Where does this leave the landscape of defamation law – its normative and moral purposes, its scope, and its practical utility for individuals seeking reputational protection and vindication?

By bringing together leading scholars, practitioners and judges in the field of defamation law, this conference seeks to survey the landscape of defamation law, interrogating what defamation law is for, where its proper boundaries lie, the extent to which it is or should be influenced by online communications, and the future directions of reputational protection after the reforms.

Note: This event will be delivered virtually via Zoom Webinar.


Time Session


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Professor Sally Wheeler OBE, MRIA, FAcSS, Dean, ANU College of Law and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International Strategy), Australian National University

Dr Jelena Gligorijevic, ANU College of Law


Panel 1 – Online dimension of defamation law

Chair: Daniel Stewart, ANU College of Law

Dr Sue Gratton, Counsel, Law Commission of Ontario (Project Head, Defamation in Law the Internet Age (Final Report, 2020)) – “Internet Platforms and Online Defamation”

Michael Douglas, University of Western Australia – “The grapevine effect online”


Break / Morning tea


Panel 2 – Controlling the boundaries of defamation: law reform

Chair: Sue Chrysanthou SC, Barrister, 153 Phillip Barristers, Sydney

Dr Matthew Collins AM QC, Victorian Bar - “The new contextual truth defence: is it more radical than first appears, and will it revive Polly Peck in Australia?”

Julian Miles QC, Barrister, Richmond Chambers, Auckland – “Perspective from New Zealand”

Dr Jelena Gligorijevic, ANU College of Law – “Narrowing defamation law in the UK and implications for Australia: Serious harm, public interest, and academic works”


Break / Lunch


Closing statement

The Honourable Chief Justice Christopher Kourakis, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia



Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team