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32. Prior to the 1996 Act, the limitation period for defamation actions in England and Wales was three years from the date of publication. The rationale for the reduction to one year lay in the recommendations of the Supreme Court Procedure Committee chaired by Lord Justice Neill, which stated that reduction was warranted on account of “the general recognition that claims to protect one’s reputation ought to be pursued with vigour, especially in view of the ephemeral nature of most media publications.” The Committee further stated that the media considered that “the same reasoning would justify an even shorter period. Memories fade, journalists and their sources scatter and become, not infrequently, untraceable. Notes and other records are retained for only a short period, not least because of limitations on storage.”

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