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Proving You Were Impugned

It is the responsibility of the claimant to prove that they are the subject of the communication in a defamation case. 

It may be obvious if the subject is referred to by proper name, but this is not a universal occurrence and in such a case the claimant will have to prove that certain people will understand them to be the subject of the communication that is accused of defamation.

Implicit reference

The claimant might find identification contained within a nickname or initials or if they were a part of the group that is obviously the subject of the communication. The proof of identification will, of course, rely on the constituent elements of the communication that is thought to be defamatory and how they relate to the claimant; this will be wildly different for each case. Intention on the part of the defendant is not applicable when determining the identity of the defamed subject, if the claimant can prove that they have been defamed by the communication then the defendant cannot claim that they no had intention.

Fictional representation

Defamation couched in fictional representation can also be the subject of a defamation case. If there are significant similarities between the fictional character and the claimant, so much so that it would be understood by certain people that the fictional communication refers to the claimant and this causes defamation to them, then there is a strong case against the authors of the communication.


If the defamatory communication refers to a group of people then an individual can claim if the group is small enough to enable the communication to have an effect on them personally.