Defamation, Libel & Slander – Working with Wording

Defamation is the act of damaging the reputation of an individual, group of individuals or company; if you are taken to court over defamatory comments it is up to you to prove that these comments are true. If the comments are found to be false you have broken the law and so has anyone else that was involved in spreading the false claims or defamatory comments.


What Are Libel & Slander?

There are two distinct types of defamation; libel and slander. Libel is where the defamatory remarks have been written; slander on the other hand is where you have spoken the comments. Libel can come in a number of forms, including email, letters, bulletin boards, magazines, newspapers and websites. Slander refers to any incident that relates to something that you have said about another individual, group of individuals, a brand or a business.


How Is Defamation Dealt With?

When an individual is being accused of defamation it’s likely that the case will be taken to court and the individual that is accused of defamation will have to prove that what they have said or written is true. In a defamation act the burden of proof is reversed, it is the Defendant who must prove his/her case and not the Claimant. If the individual can prove that they were telling the truth the case will be dropped as they will not have broken the law. On the other hand, if the individual is found guilty of defamation they can be sued for monetary damages that were caused by the remarks.


Calculating The Cost

If an individual is found guilty of making defamatory remarks they are likely to be sued in order to cover any monetary damages that have been caused by the remarks. The courts decide upon the sum of money that will be taken from or owed by the accused by taking into account how damaging the defamatory remarks were.


If the comments were made on a website that is rarely ever used or visited the sum of money would be much less than if the comments were personally posted to the managers where the victim works or in a popular newspaper.


However, the courts would not stop there. If the remarks had been posted by a major newspaper, a website or within a magazine, many other people would be pursued and held accountable for defamation due to the fact that they were involved in the process.



Another problem that is caused by defamation is repetition of the allegation; many newspapers, websites and magazines will repeat “news” that is leaked to them without identifying if the information is correct or if the source is trustworthy. By printing the leaked information the magazine, newspaper or website can be sued for the same offence due to their repetition.


For more information on defamation in relation to libel or slander or if you have any legal issues you can contact us at Access2Barristers Direct. We’d be more than happy to help you in any way that we can.