Friday, October 11, 2013

Quote, unquote: On whether York University should sue Toronto Life for libel

“I’d say it’s pretty troubling because it’s a large, essentially public body. The courts have held that governments like municipalities can’t sue for defamation, and I think there is a real question whether a university as a large public institution should be doing that.There is concern about whether it’s proper for them to try and muzzle criticism in this way.”
-- Paul Schabas, an expert in defamation law and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto who also represents the Toronto Star, quoted in a Star story Thursday Oct 10 about the libel notice that York University has served against Toronto Life magazine and freelance writer Katherine Laidlaw for an article about fear of sexual assault on the York campus. (We reported this story on the blog September 27. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

First and typically YU is drawing far more attention to itself by its response to this article than th article does. It addresses many issues from several angles - good piece
Second and surprisingly YU admin doesn’t seem any more sophisticated today than it was in the sixties when some of us spent a lot of time in a pub, a residence and or a parking lot smoking dope with draft dodging buddies (Did YU have classrooms then?)
Third and for the sake of a practical focus YU should save the legal fees and invest as needed to satisfy what is really needed and what is perceived to be needed

1:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A quick Google indicates that Canadian corporations can indeed sue for defamation* but, as is correctly stated here, no branch of government can.

What is a university's status within the framework of Canadian libel laws? A private business or a quasi-government institution?

Anyway, the last line of the recent Star article summed it up nicely:

"Pit a well-known university against a well-known magazine in relation to the specific matter at hand, and this legal matter will no doubt attract a lot of media attention and public scrutiny."

-- Lorne Honickman, a Toronto defamation lawyer and partner with McCague Borlack Barristers and Solicitors


2:14 pm  

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