Absolute Privilege

Definition

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

Overview

Absolute privilege applies to statements made in certain contexts or in certain venues. Absolute privilege 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. 

Restatement (Second) of Torts

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

Further Reading

For more on absolute privilege, see this Florida Bar Journal article, this Catholic University Law Review article, and this New Mexico Law Review article