Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Common Interest Privilege Definition:

A privilege which protects defamatory statements if made in good faith to an individual with an interest in the statement.

Related Terms: Defamation, Qualified Privilege

Akin to what in known to some common law jurisdictions as a qualified privilege.

A defence in defamation law.

In Mastro, Justice Brown of the United States Court of Appeals wrote:

"The common interest privilege protects otherwise defamatory statements made (1) in good faith, (2) on a subject in which the party communicating has an interest, or in reference to which he has, or honestly believes he has, a duty to a person having a corresponding interest or duty, (3) to a person who has such a corresponding interest.

"Two circumstances foreclose asserting the privilege: first, excessive publication, defined as publication to those with no common interest in the information communicated, or publication not reasonably calculated to protect or further the interest; and, second, publication with malice, which, within the context of the common interest privilege, is the equivalent of bad faith. While the defendant bears the burden of proving the elements of the common interest privilege, the burden of defeating the privilege by showing excessive publication or publication with malice lies with the plaintiff."


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