Canadian court rejects the “Single Publishing Rule” in an internet defamation case: Carter v BC Federation of Foster Parents Association et al (2005)

September 2005


The British Columbia Court of Appeal has ruled that the so-called “single publishing rule” often used in the US has no application in Canada. Under the US rule the publication of a libel gives rise to only one cause of action – when the libel is first published – even though there may be later deliveries of the same libel, for example, by way of later sales of a book containing the same libellous statement. The Court noted that both English and Australian courts had rejected the single publishing rule. Although a potential injustice could arise if a plaintiff were allowed to mount a series of lawsuits based on a single article when re-published, the Court of Appeal noted that courts have abuse of process jurisdiction to deal with such situations.

From a summary of the case by Richard Potter QC editor of E-Tips. Published in E-TIPSĀ® newsletter, Vol 4 No 4, see:

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