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‘The Privileged Few’ and the Classification of Henwood v Harrison

Dent, C.ORCID: 0000-0002-1801-713X (2005) ‘The Privileged Few’ and the Classification of Henwood v Harrison. Griffith Law Review, 14 (1). pp. 34-60.

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This article considers the treatment of one nineteenth century English defamation decision, Henwood v Harrison, in light of Michel Foucault’s understanding of the construction of discourses. In particular, the processes of classification applied to the decision are examined. That is, the manner in which later barristers, judges, commentators and digest compilers categorised Henwood v Harrison is argued to be an example of an internal discursive control. The treatment of the decision as representing a precedent for either a broad privilege defence to defamatory statements or narrower defences of comment or qualified privilege can be seen as both representing the arbitrary nature of classification and as indicative of the changes taking place in English common law at the time.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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