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A Crisis of Democratic Accountability

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An excellent comparative study of the public interest and political speech defences in defamation law, particularly from the perspective of the misuse of democratic free expression justifications, in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

Table of Contents

Part A: Introduction to the Problem of Public Libel Law Overview of Part A 1. Balancing Freedom of Expression and Reputation in Constitutional Context I. Defamation's Moving Target: Balancing Free Expression and Reputation II. Overview of Public Libel Doctrine III. Continuum of Doctrinal Solutions IV. Public Libel Law's Theory-Doctrine Rift V. Chapter Conclusion 2. Methodological Barriers to Democratic Theorising I. Overview II. Methodological Barrier I III. Democratic Theorising in Public Libel Jurisprudence IV. Methodological Barrier II V. Moving Forward Part B: Undertheorising Democratic Accountability: Comparative Law Analysis of Public Libel Doctrine Overview of Part B 3. Indeterminate Balancing in Public Libel Doctrine: Generic Rules and `Implied Rights' I. United States II. Australia III. Chapter Conclusion 4. Overlooking the Checking Function of the Press I. Overview II. Strasbourg Jurisprudence III. United Kingdom IV. New Zealand V. Chapter Conclusion 5. Conflating Meiklejohnian Theory and the Checking Function of the Press I. Overview II. United Kingdom III. Canada IV. Chapter Conclusion Part C: Reasserting Democratic Accountability Overview of Part C 6. Distinguishing the Checking Function from Meiklejohnian Theory: Lessons from Public Accountability and Neo-Republicanism I. Confronting a Conceptual Stalemate: `Representation' and `Accountability' II. Public Accountability Scholarship III. Neo-Republicanism: A Return to Institutional Design IV. Chapter Conclusion 7. A Revised Analytical Framework: Accountability Dysfunctions, Public Libel Doctrine, and the Institutional Press I. Overview II. Accountability Dysfunctions III. The Institutional Press as a Horizontal Accountability Mechanism IV. Public Libel Doctrine: Balancing Reputation and Freedom of Expression in Contemporary Democracies V. Chapter Conclusion Part D: Restoring Democratic Accountability Overview of Part D 8. Assessing Britain's Political Accountability Profile I. Selecting a Law Reform Candidate II. Britain's Primary Accountability Mechanisms III. Britain's Secondary Accountability Mechanisms IV. Chapter Conclusion 9. Reinstating the Checking Function in Britain's Constitutional Context I. Law Reform Recommendations II. Discussion III. Chapter Conclusion Conclusion-Prospective Challenges to Public Libel Law Reform

About the Author

Randall Stephenson is a scholar of defamation law and public law. He completed his DPhil in law at the University of Oxford in 2017. Before attending Oxford, he studied first amendment jurisprudence at Columbia University (LLM) and practiced litigation at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto, Canada.

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