absolute privilege

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Absolute privilege, in defamation cases, refers to the fact that in certain circumstances, an individual is immune from liability for defamatory statements.

Absolute privilege applies to statements made in certain contexts or in certain venues and is a complete defense. When absolute privilege applies to an individual's speech, it is irrelevant as to whether the defamatory speech was false or what the speaker's intent was. 

Under the Restatement (Second) of Torts, Ch. 25, Topic 2, §§ 585-592A, absolute privilege extends to judicial officers, attorneysjurors, witnesses in legislative proceedings, legally required publications, and statements made by a party during trial or in a pleading.

For more on absolute privilege, see this Florida Bar Journal article.

[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]