If you are looking for advice and assistance with a defamation claim, you can contact our expert defamation solicitors. Our specialist team of defamation solicitors can help you with defamation disputes involving libel, slander and defamation of character.
We understand that reputation takes years to build and might be the most valuable thing for you or your business, therefore it is important to protect it. At Murria, our expert defamation solicitors can help you defend or restore reputation for you or your business.
Defamation is a complex area of law that is often in the spotlight. For most people, when defamation is mentioned they think of high-profile cases involving celebrities and the tabloid media. But it’s an area of law that is relevant to all kinds of people. With the advent of social media, defamation has become more commonplace. It’s now easier to find yourself defamed, or inadvertently or otherwise defaming someone else.
What is defamation?
Defamation involves the publication of a statement that adversely affects a person’s reputation. It’s an umbrella term that covers libel and slander, and it specifically relates to statements that damage the reputation of other people. A person is said to be defamed when someone else publishes words which have caused, or are likely to cause, substantial harm to a person’s reputation.
The two terms libel and slander are often confused, but there are differences.
- Slander – is a spoken or verbal communication of a false assertion of fact to a third party, which causes damage to another person or entity’s reputation.
- Libel – is a written false assertion of fact published to a third party that causes damage to another person or entity’s reputation
New defamation laws came into force in England and Wales on the 21st January 2014 with the aim of giving better protection to people expressing their opinions. Claimants now must show that they have suffered ‘serious harm’ before suing under the new act. This act was introduced to address what was believed to be the overly censorious effect of the old legislation. The new act tries to protect the right to freedom of expression, and the right to voice robust, controversial or challenging opinions, while continuing to protect the right of people not to be defamed.
The act contains a series of measures:
- A new ‘Serious Harm Threshold’, to ensure that cases brought before the courts were substantial, and to discourage the wasting of court time.
- Specific protection for scientists and academics publishing peer-reviewed material in scientific and academic journals.
- Protection for people publishing material on a matter of public interest, that they sincerely believe to be in the public interest.
- The prevention of libel tourism by tightening the test for claims involving those with little connection to England & Wales.
- The introduction of a new process designed to help people resolve the issue directly with the person who posted the statement.
- A single-publication rule to prevent repeated claims against a publisher about the same material.
A claim for defamation must be made within one year of the statement being made. For a successful defamation claim to be made it must be proven that:
- The statement made is defamatory.
- It has caused or is likely to cause serious damage to the reputation of the individual or company.
- The individual or company can establish that the words complained of have been published to a third party, and that the defendant is responsible for publication of those words.
Expert advice if you suspect you’ve been defamed
Being on the receiving end of harmful statements either online or in print can be highly distressing. If you find yourself in this position, it’s possible that you’ve been defamed and may be able to secure legal redress.
Before beginning a defamation case it’s important to receive expert legal advice. Our experienced legal professionals can offer impartial, sensitive advice on the specifics of your case.
Get in touch today to find out how we can help.