An action for defamation should be commenced in the place of publication. If the material is published in more than one place, the case should be heard where the harm occasioned by the publication as a whole has its closest connection.
Where material is published on online, the place of publication is where the material is downloaded, rather than the place where such material is uploaded [see Dow Jones & Co Inc v Gutnick (2002) 194 ALR 433].
All civil actions for defamation in South Australia are heard by a judge alone, that is, without a jury.
Actions for defamation may be brought in the Supreme, the District or the Magistrates Courts of South Australia. Careful thought should be given to the appropriate court in which to commence a defamation action because of the potential cost penalties if the wrong court is selected.
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