2022 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 5 - Libel and Slander
§ 51-5-7. Privileged Communications

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-5-7 (2022)

The following communications are deemed privileged:

  1. Statements made in good faith in the performance of a public duty;
  2. Statements made in good faith in the performance of a legal or moral private duty;
  3. Statements made with a good faith intent on the part of the speaker to protect his or her interest in a matter in which it is concerned;
  4. Statements made in good faith as part of an act in furtherance of the person’s or entity’s right of petition or free speech under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Georgia in connection with an issue of public interest or concern, as defined in subsection (c) of Code Section 9-11-11.1;
  5. Fair and honest reports of the proceedings of legislative or judicial bodies;
  6. Fair and honest reports of court proceedings;
  7. Comments of counsel, fairly made, on the circumstances of a case in which he or she is involved and on the conduct of the parties in connection therewith;
  8. Truthful reports of information received from any arresting officer or police authorities; and
  9. Comments upon the acts of public men or public women in their public capacity and with reference thereto.

History. Orig. Code 1863, § 2922; Code 1868, § 2929; Code 1873, § 2980; Code 1882, § 2980; Ga. L. 1893, p. 131, § 2; Civil Code 1895, §§ 3836, 3840; Civil Code 1910, §§ 4432, 4436; Code 1933, §§ 105-704, 105-709; Ga. L. 1996, p. 260, § 2; Ga. L. 2016, p. 341, § 3/HB 513.

The 2016 amendment, effective July 1, 2016, substituted “the person’s or entity’s right of petition or free speech under the Constitution” for “the right of free speech or the right to petition government for a redress of grievances under the Constitution” in paragraph (4).

Cross references.

Privileged communications, § 24-5-501 , et seq.

Code Commission notes.

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1996, a semicolon was substituted for a period at the end of paragraph (4).

Law reviews.

For comment on Lamb v. Fedderwitz, 68 Ga. App. 233 , 22 S.E.2d 657 (1942), see 5 Ga. B. J. 45 (1943).

For comment regarding privileged communication by employer, in light of Cochran v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 72 Ga. App. 458 , 34 S.E.2d 296 (1945), see 8 Ga. B. J. 225 (1945).

For comment on Barwick v. Wind, 203 Ga. 827 , 48 S.E.2d 523 (1948), see 11 Ga. B. J. 230 (1948).

For comment regarding privilege of counsel’s publications during a trial when such statements are material and relevant, in light of Wall v. Blalock, 245 N.C. 219, 95 S.E.2d 450 (1956), see 8 Mercer L. Rev. 372 (1957).

For comment on Walter v. Davidson, 214 Ga. 187 , 104 S.E.2d 113 (1958), holding that defamatory statements made by a member of faculty before a chaplain, another member of faculty, are privileged as a result of their relationship as colleagues, see 21 Ga. B. J. 239 (1958).

For note criticizing qualified privilege enjoyed by mercantile agencies and advocating absolute denial of such privilege, see 11 Mercer L. Rev. 221 (1959).

For comment on Savannah News Press, Inc. v. Grayson, 102 Ga. App. 59 , 115 S.E.2d 762 (1960), see 23 Ga. B. J. 421 (1961).

For article, “Defamation in Georgia Local Government Law: A Brief History,” see 16 Ga. L. Rev. 627 (1982).

For article surveying torts law, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 271 (1982).

For comment, “Lee v. Dong-A Ilbo: Use of Official Report Privilege to Protect Defamatory Statements in Press Account Based on Foreign Government Report,” see 23 Ga. L. Rev. 275 (1988).

For article, “Defamation and Invasion of Privacy,” see 27 Ga. St. B. J. 18 (1990).

For annual survey on law of torts, see 42 Mercer L. Rev. 431 (1990).

For annual survey article discussing developments in the law of evidence, see 51 Mercer L. Rev. 279 (1999).

For survey article on zoning and land use law, see 60 Mercer L. Rev. 457 (2008).

For annual survey of law on torts, see 62 Mercer L. Rev. 317 (2010).

For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 109 (2016).

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