If a publisher receives a written notice from a person claiming to have been defamed, the publisher can make an “offer to make amends”. The offer must include publishing a reasonable correction and paying expenses reasonably incurred by the person defamed. The offer may also include an apology and compensation. Such an offer must be made within 28 days of receiving the notice. If the offer is accepted, that is the end of the matter.
If the offer is not accepted but is later found to have been “reasonable”, then the fact that an offer was made in an appropriate form and within an appropriate time will provide the publisher with a defence to the action.
The making of an offer of amends is without prejudice. That is, a court will not know about the making of an offer until the conclusion of the case when it becomes necessary to determine whether the publisher has a defence (by making the offer) or whether costs are sought.