Division 2A Defamation
56A Extension of limitation period by court
(1) Except as provided by subsection (2), this section applies to a
cause of action based on the publication of defamatory matter that accrues
after the commencement of this section.
(a) a cause of action based on the publication of defamatory matter
that accrues after the commencement of this section is one of two or more
causes of action in proceedings commenced by the plaintiff,
(b) each cause of action in the proceedings accrues because of the
publication of the same, or substantially the same, matter on separate
occasions (whether by the same defendant or another defendant),
(c) one or more of the other causes of action in the proceedings
accrued before the commencement of this section,
then this Act as in force immediately before the commencement of this
section continues to apply to each cause of action regardless of when it
(3) A person claiming to have a cause of action to which this section
applies may apply to the court for an order extending the limitation period
for the cause of action.
(4) After hearing such of the persons likely to be affected by the
application as it sees fit, the court may, if it decides that it is just and
reasonable to do so, order that the limitation period for the cause of action
be extended for such period as it determines. However, the court cannot extend
the period beyond 3 years running from the date on which the defamatory matter
concerned was published.
56B Effect of order
If a court orders the extension of a limitation period for a cause
of action under section 56A, the limitation period is accordingly extended for
the purposes of:
(a) an action brought by the applicant in that court on the cause of
action that the applicant claims to have, and
(b) section 26 (1) (b) in relation to any associated contribution
action brought by the person against whom the cause of action
Without affecting any discretion that a court has in relation to
costs, a court hearing an action brought as a result of an order under section
56A may reduce the costs otherwise payable to a successful plaintiff, on
account of the expense to which the defendant has been put because the action
was commenced outside the original limitation period.
56D Prior expiry of limitation period
An order for the extension of a limitation period, and an
application for such an order, may be made under this Division even though the
limitation period has already expired.