New South Wales Consolidated Acts

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Damages for non-economic loss limited

35 Damages for non-economic loss limited

(1) Unless the court orders otherwise under subsection (2), the maximum amount of damages for non-economic loss that may be awarded in defamation proceedings is $250,000 or any other amount adjusted in accordance with this section from time to time (the
"maximum damages amount" ) that is applicable at the time damages are awarded.
(2) A court may order a defendant in defamation proceedings to pay damages for non-economic loss that exceed the maximum damages amount applicable at the time the order is made if, and only if, the court is satisfied that the circumstances of the publication of the defamatory matter to which the proceedings relate are such as to warrant an award of aggravated damages.
(3) The Minister is, on or before 1 July 2006 and on or before 1 July in each succeeding year, to declare, by order published in the Gazette, the amount that is to apply, as from the date specified in the order, for the purposes of subsection (1).
For orders under this subsection, see Gazettes No 84 of 30.6.2006, p 5043 (amount declared: $259,500); No 80 of 15.6.2007, p 3793 (amount declared: $267,500); No 72 of 20.6.2008, p 5482 (amount declared $280,500); No 90 of 19.6.2009, p 3137 (amount declared: $294,500); No 79 of 18.6.2010, p 2452 (amount declared: $311,000); No 62 of 24.6.2011, p 4588 (amount declared: $324,000); No 60 of 8.6.2012, p 2369 (amount declared: $339,000); No 65 of 31.5.2013, p 2307 ($355,500); No 52 of 26.6.2015, p 1928 (amount declared: $376,500); No 50 of 17.6.2016, p 1406 (amount declared: $381,000); No 56 of 26.5.2017, p 1782 (amount declared: $389,500); No 66 of 29.6.2018, p 3970 (amount declared: $398,500); No 55 of 31.5.2019, p 1665 (amount declared: $407,500) and No 132 of 26.6.2020, p 3045 (amount declared: $421,000).
(4) The amount declared is to be the amount applicable under subsection (1) (or that amount as last adjusted under this section) adjusted by the percentage change in the amount estimated by the Australian Statistician of the average weekly total earnings of full-time adults in Australia over the 4 quarters preceding the date of the declaration for which those estimates are, at that date, available.
(5) An amount declared for the time being under this section applies to the exclusion of the amount of $250,000 or an amount previously adjusted under this section.
(6) If the Australian Statistician fails or ceases to estimate the amount referred to in subsection (4), the amount declared is to be determined in accordance with the regulations.
(7) In adjusting an amount to be declared for the purposes of subsection (1), the amount determined in accordance with subsection (4) is to be rounded to the nearest $500.
(8) A declaration made or published in the Gazette after 1 July in a year and specifying a date that is before the date it is made or published as the date from which the amount declared by the order is to apply has effect as from that specified date.

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