If you’ve been defamed, prompt action is crucial to avoid further damage to your reputation.
If your reputation has been damaged as a result of a false and defamatory statement or publication someone has made about you, you may be entitled to compensation and/or injunctive relief under the law of defamation.
Our experienced Defamation Lawyers will evaluate your defamation claim and help you develop practical strategies for redressing damage caused to your reputation. Where possible, we will endeavour to help you avoid the need to become involved in Court proceedings.
A claim for defamation exists where a statement or publication is made to a third party that carries a defamatory imputation unless:
- there is an available Defence, or
- the person is a company with more than 10 employees or a publicly listed company other than a non-for profit organisation.
The law of defamation is based upon the communication of defamatory meanings (or imputations) and not simply upon the words spoken (or written).
There is no single test for determining whether a statement is defamatory. Examples of the formulations used to define a “defamatory imputation” include imputations which:
- are likely to lower a person’s reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of the community,
- injures a person’s reputation by exposing them to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or
- tends to make the person be shunned or avoided.
The basic Defences available to a claim for defamation are:
- truth (or justification),
- contextual truth,
- absolute or qualified privilege,
- fair comment about a matter of public interest, and
- a reasonable Offer to Make Amends.
A claim for defamation is only actionable if brought within a period of 12 months from when the defamatory statement or publication was made.
As Court action is best avoided, where possible, it is usually better to take prompt action to try to minimise or redress any early damage that a defamed person has suffered.
How We Help
Our approach is usually to issue a detailed and effective Concerns Notices at the earliest opportunity and to encourage the offending publisher to seek legal advice without delay so that a proper and timely resolution might be achieved in the interests of all concerned.
Early Settlement of Claims
Claims for defamation through the Courts can be protracted and expensive to run resulting in significant stress or personal anxiety.
To assist parties to avoid the need for Court action, the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) provides that a person who is aggrieved by a defamatory publication may issue a Concerns Notice to the publisher whereafter the publisher has 28 days to make an Offer to Make Amends.
An Offer to Make Amends will usually include an offer to publish a correction or apology and payment of compensation. In addition, the offer must also include an offer to pay the legal expenses reasonably incurred by the aggrieved person.
If not accepted a reasonable Offer to Make Amends will be a Defence to a claim for Defamation.