Defamation

“Defamation” is a term covering both libel and slander. Both concern the publication of defamatory material (a false statement that adversely affects the reputation of an individual or a business).

Libel and Slander. What is the difference?

The distinction between the two is that libel concerns “lasting” forms of publication such as print, online or broadcasting. Slander on the other hand involves more transient forms such as spoken words or gestures.

If you are seeking to have defamatory content removed from the internet, or are seeking compensation for harm caused to your business or personal reputation through libel or slander, it is recommended that you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity as the limitation period for this type of claim is only one year from the date of publication (in the case of single publications).

If you are seeking to have defamatory content removed from the internet, or are seeking compensation for harm caused to your business or personal reputation through libel or slander, it is recommended that you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

How rhw can help you

The Defamation Act 2013 consolidated some of the law in this area, but it remains complex. Before bringing a claim, it is necessary to establish that the act complained of satisfies the definition of ‘defamation’ – a false statement has been made, proof of publication of said statement to a third party, reference to the claimant, with the result of actual or likely serious harm to the claimant’s reputation. Once established, it is also necessary to identify the right party to take action against.

Owing to the surge in the amount of websites relying heavily on user-driven content in the form of posts, reviews, blogs and comments, this is not always straightforward. Identifying the person behind the review can be time-consuming and costly, with many perpetrators using fake names and IP addresses. The claimant may have to resort to court applications simply to determine the identity of the defendant.

Time limits are important

If you believe you or your business is a victim of defamation we can assist you getting the defamatory content removed, or, where appropriate, compensation for harm caused to your business or personal reputation. Likewise, we can also assist you in defending any defamation claim initiated against you. We can advise you on the options available with a view to securing the best outcome for you and your business.

There are strict time frames imposed by the Courts as to when defamation claims should be made. It is therefore recommended you seek legal advice at an early stage.

 

At rhw we have the expertise to help you.

Contact rhw’s Dispute Resolution Team. email guildford@rhw.co.uk or call us on 01483 302000

Meet the Dispute Resolution Team

Lyssa Reeve

Lyssa Reeve

Associate Solicitor
Niamh Cheek

Niamh Cheek

Legal Secretary
Katrina Burrows

Katrina Burrows

Trainee Solicitor

Dispute Resolution News

The occurrence of defamation on the internet and elsewhere in business and society is a fast growing problem.  It adversely affects the image and reputation of both businesses and individuals, and there is an increasing need for both to seek legal protection.