Comparative Analysis of Defamation Law in the United States of America and United Kingdom in Reference to the Trial ‘David Irving v. Penguin Books Limited and Deborah Lipstadt’

  • Shivika Goyal
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  • Shivika Goyal

    UGC NET-JRF Qualified, Pursued LL.M. from NALSAR University of Law, India

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Defamation is the act of communicating to a third-party false statement about a person that result in damage to that person’s reputation. Libel and slander are the legal subcategories of defamation. Generally speaking, libel is defamation in written words, pictures, or other visual symbols in a print or electronic medium, whereas, Slander is spoken defamation and is in a transient form. Defamation is a creation of English law and the classical definition of the term, was given by Mr. Justice Cave in the case of Scott v. Sampson, as a “false statement about a man to his discredit” The trial ‘David Irving v. Penguin Books Limited and Deborah Lipstadt ’ revolves around a defamation suit that was filed by David Irving against the defendants for Lipstadt’s book titled “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory”. Irving claimed that the book contained defamatory statements that has harmed his reputation as a historian and called him a holocaust denier. He filed the suit with the Royal High Court in London, though the defendant was from US. England and the United States share a common legal tradition as US was a colony of UK until 1776 and the US preferred to follow their colonisers law when they gained independence. The law of the two nations on defamation was same until 1964. This paper will examine the points of similarities and differences between the two laws, the reason for divergence in their paths and how this divergence causes a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression taking this trial as a basis of understanding and discussion.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 1, Page 2001 - 2011


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