Slander of Women Act 1891

The Slander of Women Act 1891 (54 & 55 Vict. c. 51) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (as it then was).

Slander of Women Act 1891[1]
Long titleAn Act to amend the Law relating to the Slander of Women
Citation54 & 55 Vict. c. 51
Territorial extent England and Wales and Ireland[2]
Royal assent5 August 1891
Commencement5 August 1891[3]
  • Republic of Ireland 1 January 1962[4]
  • United Kingdom 1 January 2014[5]
Other legislation
Repealed by
Status: Repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Slander of Women Act 1891 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

Section 1 edit

Slander imputing unchastity or adultery to a female edit

This section provides that in an action for slander ("words spoken and published"), brought by a female plaintiff in respect of words that impute unchastity or adultery to her, it is not necessary for her to allege or prove that she has suffered special damage.

The word "unchastity" is not confined to unchastity with a man. To call a woman a "lesbian" is to impute "unchastity" to her.[6]

However, the section then provides that in an action for slander made actionable by that section, a plaintiff may not be awarded more costs than damages unless the judge certifies that "there was reasonable ground for bringing the action".

Republic of Ireland edit

This section was replaced for the Republic of Ireland by section 16 of the Defamation Act 1961. The proviso was not reproduced.

Section 2 edit

This section provides that the Act may be cited as the Slander of Women Act 1891 and that it does not apply to Scotland.

Repeal edit

The Act was repealed[7] for the Republic of Ireland on 1 January 1962[4] and for England and Wales on 1 January 2014 by section 14(1) of the Defamation Act 2013.[8]

Parliamentary debates edit

References edit

  1. ^ This short title was conferred by the Slander of Women Act 1891, section 2
  2. ^ The Slander of Women Act 1891, section 2; the Act is presumed to extend to those parts of the United Kingdom because the contrary is not specified.
  3. ^ The Act came into force on the date of royal assent because the contrary was not specified
  4. ^ a b "Defamation Act 1961, section 3(1)". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Government of Ireland. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Defamation Act 2013 aims to improve libel laws". BBC News Online. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  6. ^ Kerr v. Kennedy [1942] 1 K.B. 409
  7. ^ The Defamation Act 1961, section 4 [1] and the first schedule [2]
  8. ^ Brought into force by article 2 of the Defamation Act 2013 (Commencement) (England and Wales) Order 2013.