How to make yourself impervious to defamation claims
Defamation Laws – Defamation Claims
If you have had doubt cast and claims made regarding your reputation that you feel has had a negative impact on your quality of life, business or professional career, you could make a defamation claim.
The first thing an individual will need to do is to establish for definite that they believe they have been the victim of defamation. Claims made about people that are purported to be true can either be made though verbal communication, in which case they are called slander, or through the medium of broadcasting or publishing, in which case they are called libel.
For a person to have the possibility of making a successful claim of defamation they must be able to show that the claims made were false and acted to discredit them, or the group or company they belong to, and that this had the effect of lowering peoples’ expectations and changing people’s behaviour towards them. The claim made could be casting doubt on their capacity to fulfil your professional, your marital fidelity, your health or your criminal record, but as long as they can show it has had a negative effect, they should have the grounds to make a defamation claim.
An important issue to think about before the individual decides to push ahead with their claim of defamation, and an issue that comes time and time again, is the issue of free speech. Free speech guarantees everyone in the UK the right to express their opinion about any subject and anyone. Publicly made opinions themselves are not defamation; only claims that are purported to be fact count as defamation.
If an individual does decide to take their defamation claim to court, they can seek one of three things. In most cases the defamation claim will be for financial damages. These damages can either be ‘general ‘for reputational harm or ‘special’ in cases where actual financial losses have occurred. If the libel has yet to be published an injunction can be sought to place very strict and legally enforceable rules upon the publisher or broadcaster. A simple amendment of the claim can also be sought or can be awarded if the damages or an injunction is not achieved.
There are a number of possible defences against a claim of defamation. If it can be proved that the claim in question was true all along, that the claim made was a reasonable one to have made in the circumstances, that parliamentary privilege was involved, that the person was under oath when they made the claim or that they were involved in a purely ‘mechanical’ way to the publication of the claim (such as being an administrator in a web forum or a newspaper printing press operative).
Defamation claims are a tricky area of the law so make sure that you are sure before you make one.