Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In this post we’ll take a brief look at the tort of defamation. The purpose of defamation is to balance the right to freedom of speech against the right to preserve reputation.

We’ll therefore examine:

  1. What is defamation?
  2. What types of defamation are there?
  3. Who can be defamed?
  4. What defences are there to defamation claims?
  5. What remedies are available in defamation claims?

What is defamation?

Defamation is unlawful under the common law. To succeed in a claim for defamation, a Claimant must prove three things have occurred on the balance of probabilities:

  1. That a defamatory statement has been made
  2. That this defamatory statement referred to the Claimant
  3. That the defamatory statement referring to the Claimant was published to a third party

First of all, the fact that a statement has been made (and the content of that statement) must be proved on the balance of probabilities before a consideration of whether the statement was defamatory can be examined. Once the fact and content of the statement has been established the statement must be examined to determine whether it is defamatory. The test is an objective one – does the statement lower the Claimant (the person defamed) in the eyes of right-thinking people? Effectively, does the statement make people think worse of the Claimant? This test is subdivided into two tests:

  1. Has (or would) the statement caused the Claimant to be shunned or avoided?
  2. Has (or would) the statement exposed the Claimant to ridicule and contempt?

The words of the Defendant (the person allegedly doing the defaming) must be given their natural meaning unless it was understood (or should have been understood) to be innuendo by the Claimant.

Secondly, the defamatory statement must refer to the Claimant. For the statement to be understood to refer to a person, it doesn’t necessarily need to refer explicitly to the Claimant. Further, the statement may be defamatory to a person even if it was not intended to refer to them. For example, if a fictional character in a novel bears an extreme likeness to the Claimant but is not intended to caricature them, this may still be deemed to refer to the Claimant.

Thirdly, the defamatory statement must be published. This entails the communication of the statement to at least one other person than the Claimant themselves.

What types of defamation are there?

There are, broadly, two types of defamation:

  1. Libel
  2. Slander

Libel

Libel is the permanent publication of a defamatory statement (i.e. in writing, pictures or film).

Slander

Slander is the impermanent publication of a defamatory statement (normally by word of mouth).

Who can be defamed?

Individuals, companies and firms can be defamed.

What defences are there to defamation?

There are five defences to a claim for defamation:

  1. Consent
  2. Truth
  3. Fair comment
  4. Qualified privilege
  5. Absolute privilege

What remedies are available in defamation claims?

A Claimant can seek:

  1. An injunction to prevent further publication
  2. Damages to compensate the Claimant for loss of reputation
Tagged with →  

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.78 Average

143 Reviews

Liz P

An excellent professional service was provided by Chris Hadrill and Mel Chin. Efficient and trustworthy - would highly recommend this company.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Redmans Solicitors were great. They were able to advice me quickly and efficiently! I would recommend them, as a good solicitors to use.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Extremely efficient. Mel made a difficult situation bearable and gave good clear guidance thoughout.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Thanks Chris and Sacha I was reassured throughout the process and a happy outcome

Posted 2 weeks ago

Edward F

Good and clear employment advice

Posted 2 weeks ago

Richard O

Chris at Redmans is my go-to legal expert when it comes to employee-related matters. His depth of knowledge, experience and considered approach to problems and their solutions is highly valuable. I cannot recommend Redmans highly enough.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Rory Y

They provide me with timely and clear advice!

Posted 4 weeks ago

Steven C

Redmans handled my settlement with my employer quickly, decisively and to a standard that I was very happy with. I would in similar circumstances contract them again

Posted 4 weeks ago

Deepthi K

Transparent. Clear communication. Prompt reply’s. Saves lot of time. Very satisfied.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris and Sacha did a fantastic job and negotiated a significant better settlement agreement

Posted 4 weeks ago

Dino D

I did get a very swift and god service from Redmans

Posted 4 weeks ago

Stephanie H

Clear, prompt, effective support from Chris which has been very much appreciated. Thank you again.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I would highly recommend Redmans Solicitors, the team were very friendly and my case was dealt with professionally and efficiently. Thank you!

Posted 2 months ago

Shane M

Very professional, welcome advice at a crucial time. Always available and reasonable cost.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

My case was relatively straight-forward. But even so, working with Redmans was easy, quick, professional & clear. Many thanks

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The team were very helpful and answered all my questions regarding my redundancy. Initially I had a call with one of the representatives who escalated my request to a suitable employment solicitor. We arranged a call to discuss the settlement and she helped answer all my questions. We then mainly contacted through email which helped resolve the settlement quickly and convently. Thanks for all the help.

Posted 2 months ago

Djaouida T

You have good communication.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional. A highly recommended company for employment related issues.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very professional service.

Posted 2 months ago

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 10 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 11 months ago