Libel and Slander, the offences of defamation

Untrue statements which harm a person’s reputation

Libel and Slander

the offences of defamation

Libel and slander are jointly the legal wrong (or tort) of defamation.Defamation is a false statement made by one person about another in order to harm that person’s character and reputation. If spoken, it is slander, and libel if written or broadcast in a permanent form.

To take action for defamation it is necessary to show:

  • that the statement would lower the person’s reputation in the eyes of a right thinking person;
  • that the statement was communicated to a third party, and that party would be able to identify the person from the statement.

If the defamation is spoken (slander), then the following must also be shown:

  • that financial loss has been suffered;
  • that you have been accused of committing a criminal offence;
  • that your business trade or professional reputation has been damaged;
  • that you have been accused of having a contagious disease;
  • that you are female and have been accused of immorality.

Before issuing procedures, the laid down protocol should be followed.

Legal Aid is not available to bring defamation proceedings. They can be extremely expensive, and defamation proceedings are really only for the very rich.

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