Both personally and professionally, your reputation is important.
Defamation is broadly when someone says or writes something untrue that damages your reputation, or the reputation of your organisation. Someone making defamatory statements about you or your organisation can cause serious damage and can result in public embarrassment and lost revenue.
Whether a statement is defamatory will depend on the precise words used and can take many forms; it can be spoken to others or in writing and could be:
- Slander; and/or
- Malicious falsehood.
The Defamation Act 2013 protects you from defamation, including defamatory material online, and we can help you navigate this specialised legal field with care to limit the damage to you or your organisation’s reputation.
SA Law’s specialist solicitors are well known for their expertise in this field and have acted on highly publicised and reported cases involving social media harassment, libel and slander. Our robust, prompt and proactive approach ensures the best possible outcome for clients that have been the victim of defamation.
We can take immediate steps to prevent the defamation from continuing or spreading, and then pursue the matter to a satisfactory conclusion, including:
- Securing a correction or apology (if caught early this can be a quick way to mitigate any damage to your reputation and publicly demonstrate that the statement was untrue).
- Seeking removal of online posts on social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Seeking an injunction to prohibit the perpetrator from posting defamatory material.
- Seeking compensatory damages for the distress you have suffered and any loss arising from the defamatory material.
Unfortunately, particularly on social media, you may be subject to a tirade of defamatory statements which leave you feeling harassed. If this happens, you may be able to bring a harassment claim alongside any defamation claim. For more information about how SA Law can help you with a harassment claim, see here.
WHAT IS SLANDER?
Slander is a type of defamation which covers defamatory statements that only last a short while such as a defamatory statement spoken to a third party. These are challenging claims to bring given that there is no written evidence of the defamatory statement and it requires actual damage to have been suffered as a result. If you are aware that someone has said something slanderous about you, and you would like advice or assistance in relation to this, please get in touch.
WHAT IS LIBEL?
Libel is a type of defamation which covers defamatory statements that are in a lasting form of communication such as print, online or broadcasting. Most defamation claims will fall into this category, and are actionable where harm has either been caused, or is likely to be caused, as a result. If you have become aware of any libel material and would like some advice or assistance, please get in touch.
WHAT IS MALICIOUS FALSEHOOD?
Malicious falsehood is a false statement that is made to a third party which refers to you, your property or your business which directly causes you loss. The statement must be malice in that it was either untrue or the maker did not take proper care to check if it was true.
Although this is technically not a type of defamation, such claims often overlap with a claim for defamation and are often brought before the court together.
WHAT IF IT’S ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter give people an anonymous platform to communicate. Unfortunately, this means that defamatory statements are more likely to occur online and can potentially be seen by a larger audience.
You can still bring a claim for defamation for posts made on social media, even if the perpetrator(s) is anonymous. Our expert solicitors often work on such cases all the way up to the Supreme Court and can assist with getting the defamatory material removed as well as instructing experts to identify anonymous users.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM TOLD ABOUT OR FIND DEFAMATORY MATERIAL?
Keep detailed records of everything that is said or done that could be considered defamatory. Find out who is likely to have seen it and secure any evidence to establish the damage that may have been caused as a result.
COULD THE PERPERTRATOR HAVE A DEFENCE?
There are several defences to a defamation claim, such as truth, honest opinion and public interest. However, each defence has certain requirements, and we can advise you on the merits, prospects and costs of bringing a claim.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO BRING A CLAIM?
Generally, you have one year from the date the defamatory statement was made to bring a claim. However, acting swiftly will give you the greatest chance of resolving the dispute as quickly as possible and mitigate any damage. If you are concerned about a defamatory statement or material, you should contact us as soon as possible.
WHAT ARE MY FUNDING OPTIONS?
You should first check your current insurance policies to see if you have any legal expenses cover that might pay legal costs in this situation.
If you do not have legal expenses cover through an existing insurance policy, we may be able to offer or advise you on alternative funding options to help you pursue a claim in a cost-effective manner. We will need to assess the merits of your claim to determine which funding option is the most appropriate in the circumstances.
We provide our clients with information regarding costs from the outset and throughout so that you can have peace of mind and will advise you on the costs risk of proceeding with a case, including the prospects of recovering your costs from your opponent.