Absolute privilege and qualified privilege


Privilege , whether absolute or qualified , is a good defence against an action for defamation . The points of distinction between the absolute privilege and qualified privilege may be shown in the following tabular form .


  Absolute privilege.
Qualified privilege.
1. Express Malice.
Absolute privilege is of such a nature that no action will lie for it , however false and defamatory it may be . Presence of express malice can not affect the absolute privilege . As for examples , statements made by the Judges , Advocates or witnesses in a court of law .
Express Malice.
On the other hand , qualified privilege is rebuttable by the plaintiff by showing that the defendant acted with malice . It is open to the plaintiff to negative the privilege . As for examples , statements made by the persons about their former servants to the intending employers or about a crime to the police.
2. Occasion.
In the event of absolute privilege , the occasion itself is privileged . Once the occasion is shown , every communication with respect to that occasion is privileged .
But in the event of qualified privilege ,the occasion itself is not privileged .Interest or duty is to be shown to exist for making the communication .
3. Enquiry.
In absolute privilege communications are not subject to enquiry as to whether good faith or bad faith are present or not .
Qualified privilege is subject to enquiry to determine the liability or malice .
4. Irrebuttable.
Absolute privilege is irrebuttable .
Qualified privilege can be rebutted by proof of express malice by the defendant .