Rolled up plea is a highly technical plea of the English law of defamation which the defendants can usefully resort to when the facts and comments are so inextricably bound together that it is impossible to separate them.
In a defamatory suit, the defendant contends that his statements are true in substance and in fact, and in so far as they consist of expression of opinion. They are expressed in good faith and without malice for public interest. Such plea is called ‘Rolled up plea’.
In a suit of defamation, if the defendant argues that he made the ‘fair comment’ in the interest of public, but not to defame the plaintiff, the defendant may argue “that insofar as the words complained of consist of allegations of facts they are true in substance and in fact; and in so far as they consist of expressions of opinion they are fair comments made in good faith and without malice upon the said facts which are matters of public interest”.
This is general aversion of the defendants. Hence it is called ‘Rolled up plea’. However, the Courts do not solely believe the defendant’s rolledup plea, but go to depth, background and the real intention of the defendant.
For example if a comment is made regarding a book written by a person as ‘It is a bad book, and it is not at all useful to the public’, is an authorised comment. If a comment is made as “It is a bad book because it is written by so and so”.