Torts: Defamation: Defenses: Privileges: Qualified Privilege

Qualified privileges: based on purpose of the speech, not the identity of the speaker. Arises in circumstances where there is a public interest in promoting candor. Examples:
    • Letters of recommendation -- we want recommenders to be candid; we want them to discuss positives and negatives of person.
    • Credit reports -- we want credit card company to be candid in discussing credit history
    • Statements made to police if investigating crime
    • Statements made to professional disciplinary boards.
  • Δ must have a reasonable belief in the accuracy of the disputed statement. The Δ must be speaking in good faith. The disputed statement will turn out to be inaccurate. If it were accurate, I don’t need the privilege. The speaker of the statement will have had a good faith belief in its accuracy. You lose the qualified privilege if you use the occasion to spread lies.
  • Can’t inject irrelevancies; must confine yourself to relevant matter.