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Offer to make amends

The Defamation Act 2005 (SA) provides a streamlined approach to resolve disputes without litigation and encourage speedy settlement.

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.


An apology is not a defence to a claim of defamation. If a publisher apologises, that apology does not constitute an admission of fault and cannot be used to determine liability in a defamation action. It is supposed that a properly published apology minimises the damage done by the original publication. Where an offer of apology is made it can be used as evidence to mitigate (reduce) damages [Defamation Act 2005 (SA) s 36(1)(a)].

    Offer to make amends  :  Last Revised: Tue May 23rd 2006
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