Criminal libel

Criminal libel is a legal term, of English origin, which may be used with one of two distinct meanings, in those common law jurisdictions where it is still used.

It is an alternative name for the common law offence which is also known (in order to distinguish it from other offences of libel) as "defamatory libel"[1] or, occasionally, as "criminal defamatory libel".[2]

It is also used as a collective term for all offences which consist of the publication of some prohibited matter in a libel (in permanent form), namely defamatory libel, seditious libel, blasphemous libel and obscene libel.[3][4]

The common law offences of seditious libel, defamatory libel, and obscene libel were abolished in the England and Wales and Northern Ireland on 12 January 2010 when section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 came into force,[5] blasphemous libel having already been abolished in England and Wales on 8 July 2008 by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, having been replaced with the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.


  1. ^ Halsbury's Laws of England, 2006 Reissue
  2. ^ "Criminal defamatory libel" is the name it is given by Richard Card, Card, Cross and Jones Criminal Law
  3. ^ The Law Commission, Criminal Libel, Working Paper No 84, 15 January 1982, paragraph 1.2
  4. ^ Halsbury's Laws of England, 2006 Reissue
  5. ^ The Coroners and Justice Act 2009, section 73

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • criminal libel — noun Law the offence of making a malicious defamatory statement in a permanent form …   English new terms dictionary

  • criminal libel — …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Criminal Law Act 1977 — The Criminal Law Act 1977[1] Parliament of the United Kingdom Long title An Act to amend the law of England and Wales with respect to criminal conspiracy …   Wikipedia

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  • criminal — n. & adj. n. a person who has committed a crime or crimes. adj. 1 of, involving, or concerning crime (criminal records). 2 having committed (and usu. been convicted of) a crime. 3 Law relating to or expert in criminal law rather than civil or… …   Useful english dictionary

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