Defamation is covered by the Defamation Act 2013 – and defamation claims may involve claims for verbal defamation (slander) or written defamation (libel). Libel can also be committed if comments are broadcast or are shown in a film.
Under the law, a statement is not defamatory unless its publication “has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant”.
The concept of whether a “right thinking person” would consider the statement defamatory is also considered in defamation cases.
The law also states that harm to the reputation of a body that trades for profit is not “serious harm” unless a statement has caused – or is likely to cause –the organisation serious financial loss.
With the rise in so many different forms of communication, defamation is becoming a more common issue. Writing comments about a third party in an email constitutes publication, for example – and posting comments online about companies or individuals can also lead to defamation claims.
Modern technology also means that a claim for defamation might extend across more than one jurisdiction – and publishers who publish comments may also face defamation claims even if comments are posted by another party or individual.
Because defamation can be a highly complex area of the law, it is essential to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible if pursuing a claim for defamation or defending a claim for defamation.
Under UK law, defences for defamation include:
Under the Limitation Act 1980, time limits apply for making a claim for defamation – claims have to be made within 12 months and usually any claim for defamation will commence from the date of first publication of the material.
Duncan Lewis litigation solicitors will thoroughly assess a case involving defamation – and can advise on slander, libel and malicious falsehood, where it has to be proved that financial loss was suffered as result of the statement.
Duncan Lewis offers competitively priced fee levels for defamation claims – and can also advise on dispute resolution and mediation in cases involving slander, libel and malicious falsehood.
For expert legal advice on Defamation Claims, call Duncan Lewis Civil Litigation Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.