If something false has been written, published, broadcast or said about you, suing for defamation of character can help you redress the situation, repair any damage you have suffered emotionally, financially and to your reputation.
Whether you are fighting for your own individual reputation, or representing an organisation and its corporate image, you need swift, decisive action to regain control and restore perceptions.
As a team of specialist defamation solicitors, we are experienced legal advisers on all areas of defamation of character.
We understand that the cost of a defamation, libel or slander case is more than financial. The effects on personal relationships and missed business opportunities can also result from defamatory comments.
We will help you resolve a defamation matter as quickly and efficiently as possible, allowing you to re-focus on your business interests and personal life.
For some clients, it is not about the money. It is about reputation, setting the record straight and doing what is right.
We have an exceptional track record in obtaining apologies and retractions on behalf of our clients; a major step in restoring damaged reputation. When apologies and retractions have not been provided, we have obtained vindication for clients by successfully issuing legal proceedings.
For victims of defamation, we can help if stories have been published or broadcast that attack or malign your reputation. We also offer advice on your rights to personal privacy.
For publishers and broadcasters, we can advise on threats of defamation claims, post-publication regulation and protection of corporate reputation.
We are perhaps unusual for firms working in this area in that we represent both claimants and defendants. We therefore have a very good insight into how the other side works and what their likely strategy will be. We have used this advantage on many occasions for our clients’ benefit.
What is the difference between defamation, libel and slander?
Defamation is the general term relating to the use of language that injures the good name or reputation of a person, brand or business.
Slander covers spoken words and/or gestures.
Libel covers ‘permanent’ publications such as written allegations, allegations broadcast on TV or Radio, or allegations posted online/social media content.
How long do I have to make a claim for defamation?
You have one year from the date of the publication to bring a claim for damages. In exceptional circumstances, a court may allow a claim to be brought outside of that one year period.
Can organisations sue for defamation?
Yes, both companies and individuals can make a claim for defamation, provided they can establish that a statement has caused or is likely to cause serious harm or loss. See examples above.
What are the remedies for victims of defamation?
As with most litigation, the vast majority of defamation cases are settled out of court. Victims of defamation usually seek an apology, an injunction and compensation.
The level of damages will depend on your case – the severity of the allegation, any loss that you can prove has resulted from the defamation.
Victims may also be granted an injunction to prevent further publication of the defamatory material or as part of a settlement seek agreement not to publish further. A declaration of falsity of allegations can also be applied for.
Can I stop something defamatory being published?
The first step would be to speak to us to approach the publisher directly.
We regularly engage with media publishers and broadcasters on behalf of clients, depending on the specific details of each case, either to put forward true facts with a view to changing what is run, or to dissuade them from publishing the material altogether. We know the key editorial and legal contacts within media outlets and are known for taking a robust approach to asserting and protecting our clients’ rights.
As a last resort, it may be possible to seek an injunction to prevent publication, if there is potential for libel. We have successfully taken this route countless times for clients and can advise if it is an option available to you.
If someone accuses me of defamation, what defences might I have?
If you are accused of defaming someone’s character the most obvious defence would be that the statement was true. You cannot be successfully sued for telling the truth – though the burden will be upon you to prove that what you’ve said is true. So you would need some evidence/proof.
It can also be a defence if the words complained of were your honest comment – just you expressing your opinion, honestly held.
It may be that you could be protected by what in law is known as “privilege” – that you spoke the words complained of on an occasion when the law provides you with a shield of protection against being sued.
In 2013, the law embodied what had previously been called the “Reynolds defence” onto the statute book. This provides another possible defence that what you published or spoke was in the public interest.
Ultimately, it could be that the Claimant cannot show that the words are actually defamatory in that the words used would not be likely to lower someone’s reputation in the minds of right thinking people.
There are lots of other more technical defences. Individual advice should always be sought.