Defamation

What Is Defamation?

A person will have been defamed where another person has published something about the person
which is defamatory. Defamation can take please in a variety of places, including defamation in
newspaper articles, defamation in the media, online defamation including defamation on review
sites and blogs. Defamation can also take place in person, where someone verbally defames another
person, as well as defamation on tv or radio, and on social media.
 
A publication is capable of being defamatory where it causes harm to the reputation of the person
about whom the statement is being made.

What Do I Do If I Have Been Defamed?

What you do in response to being the victim of a defamatory publication depends on the outcome you are trying to achieve.
 
If you have been the victim of online defamation, the only outcome you are seeking to achieve might be for the defamatory publication to be removed from the internet.
 
It is possible to achieve this outcome by sending what is a called a ‘Concerns Notice’ to the publisher of the defamatory publication demanding that the defamatory publication be removed from online. If the publisher of the defamatory publication does not remove the publication, then you may be entitled to sue them for an order forcing them to remove the defamatory publication, as well as to sue them for compensation and damages you have suffered as a result of the defamatory publication.
 
If the person who is responsible for publishing the defamatory publication will not remove the publication from the internet, you may be able to able to write to third party websites, including review websites, forums, blogs, and social media platforms, demanding that they remove the defamatory publication, failing which you may be in a position to commence court proceedings for defamation against that third party site.
 
Although it may seem simple, a claim for defamation can be tricky if you or your lawyer does not know what they are doing. There are a few traps which an experienced defendant may set in a defamation claim, and it is important that anyone who thinks they have been defamed seeks legal representation from an experienced defamation lawyer, such as Twomey Dispute Lawyers.

What Defences Are There?

There are a number of defences to an action for defamation, some of which are quite simple, and
others which are very complicated.
 
For example, it may be a defence to an action for defamation is someone is able to prove that
 
     (a) the defamatory publication was true, or substantially true;
 
     (b) the publication was about a matter of public concern; or
 
     (c) even though the publication may have been defamatory, the person about whom the
publication is made is unlikely to suffer any damage to their reputation as a result of the
defamatory publication.
 
There are a number of other defences which can be raised where someone has been sued for
defamation.
 
If you are concerned that you have defamed someone, or someone has threatened to commence a
defamation proceeding against you in court, it is important that you take expert advice as soon as
possible to ensure that you understand the risks and take appropriate action to make sure either
that the defamation claim against you is resolved with the minimum possible impact on you both
reputationally and financially. It is also important that you speak to experienced expert defamation
lawyers to ensure that if you do wish to defend the defamation proceedings that have been
commenced against you, you give yourself the best chance of having a successful outcome and
getting as much of your legal costs back as possible.

What Compensation Can I Get If I Have Been Defamed?

If you are the victim of defamation, you may be able to obtain general damages, aggravated damages, special damages, interest on those damages, and legal costs.
 
The Defamation Act places a cap on the amount of general damages which a person may obtain. The cap is currently at $389,500.
 
A person who has been defamed is also able to obtain aggravated damages, which enables a court to award damages in excess of the statutory cap.
 
A person may also be entitled to an order for special damages for financial loss directly suffered in connection with a defamatory publication. This might include what is sometimes referred to as ‘business losses.’
 
The amount of damages a person is entitled to recover will depend on the facts and circumstances of their particular case. Please contact us if you would like to discuss the level of compensation you might be entitled to if you have been defamed.

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