Defamation is simply any words that will make people think less of you. Insults themselves are not enough to be considered defamatory. Anyone can sue for defamation, whether they are an individual, company or a partnership.
What is the difference between libel, slander and malicious falsehood?
Malicious falsehood refers to allegations that are defamatory but not specifically towards you. With these cases, you have the burden of proving that the allegations are false, that they have or are likely to cause you financial loss and that they have been published maliciously.
Libel cases are when the defamation is in a permanent form such as written, broadcast or published online. Slander cases are when the defamation is in a non-permanent form such as spoken word. Libel laws do apply to emails and the internet, and all publications to any third party can be defamatory.
What is the process of a defamation claim?
Many claims for defamation are settled before it comes to trial. If this happens, the terms of settlement will have to be agreed by both parties and will usually include an apology, correction or retraction, a statement agreeing not to repeat the allegations that were complained of, payment of a sum in damages and payment of legal costs.
If the claim for defamation goes to trial, success will mean that the Judge or Jury will award the sum in damages. They will also grant an injunction which will prevent further publication of the allegations and will order the other party to the legal costs.
A defamation claim can last upwards of 12 months from the issuing of proceedings to trial, however more complex cases can take much longer than this. It is therefore vital that you seek professional advice at the earliest possible opportunity so as to avoid any unnecessary delays.
What has to be proven for a defamation claim?
For libel and slander cases, the following has to be proven:
- The allegations that have been complained about have been published to one or more party, other than to yourself
- The allegations are in reference to you. This can be that you are named, pictured or identifiable in some way
- The words complained about could cause right-thinking members of society to think less of you in some way
- The publication has caused, or could potentially cause serious harm to your reputation
- Additionally, for slander cases you will need to prove that the words have caused or are likely to cause you financial loss.
JMR Solicitors understand that the cost of a defamation, libel or slander case is not simply a matter of a financial one. You could also lose valuable time protecting yourself against allegations and neglect business opportunities because of the harm caused by the allegations. JMR Solicitors can help you resolve a defamation case as swiftly and professionally as possible, allowing you to re-focus on your job, your business and your life. Contact us today to discuss your defamation case.