Defamation law & falsehood, malice and damages
Though it sounds like the name of Robin Hood's evil twin, malicious falsehood is actually the utterance of a lie about someone with the intention to cause damage to that person. A lie can be defined by the active knowledge that the information was incorrect or that sufficient precaution was not taken in checking its veracity. Having established that the published information was false, the plaintiff must then prove that the defendant’s actions were malicious, they were undertaken either with the design to cause harm or that, through negligence, no consideration was given to the harm communication of the information could cause, and that some harm is likely to be caused.
With malicious falsehood, unlike defamation, the onus is on the claimant to prove that there was falsehood, malice and damages caused. The other major difference and the main reason for malicious falsehood’s being is that it deals with statements that are damaging but are not defamatory, i.e. they didn’t cause damage to a reputation. A statement of malicious falsehood, then, must be something that does not reflect badly upon the party that it is about, yet it must have the potential to cause the plaintiff financial loss.
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