Vanderbilt Law Review


Colin R. Lovell

First Page



The rather low opinion held by Mr. Bumble concerning the logic of the law must be set off by the Holmesian reminder that not "logic," but"experience" has kept the law viable. The warning has peculiar applicability in looking at the common law doctrines on defamation. Only the experience of history can explain why, in contrast to Roman civil law systems with their view that all defamations and insults are injuriae, with a single remedial action, the common law has no interest in mere bad language' and goes on to have two separate actions for defamation. Moreover, these are quite artificially distinguished by the form of the defamation, with each action having different definitions, requirements, and defences,the result being that occasionally the mere form determines whether the common law will give any relief for a defamatory statement.

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