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If some one has written, said or implied something negative about you that might affect your reputation, you may have a claim for defamation. The negative comment or implication must be communicated to a third person. Truth is a defence to defamation. If what was written, said or implied is true your claim is likely to be unsuccessful.
There are also other defences. For example the courts have upheld a defence of ‘fair comment’ – where the allegedly defamatory words were an expression of opinion and not a statement of fact. Some statements are said to be ‘privileged’ (for example, statements made in parliament or statements made by a client to a lawyer). If a statement is ‘privileged’ the person making the statement is protected from being sued for defamation.
What are you entitled to claim for?
If you have been defamed you may be entitled to damages for loss of reputation. In some circumstances you may also be entitled to be compensated for income lost as a result of your reputaion being damaged.
How long will your claim take?
Our approach is to try to resolve all disputes quickly and cost effectively, by negotiation. If that isn’t successful, and your claim has to go to court, you may have to wait for up to a year for a trial.
When should you seek legal advice?
Many people who think they have been defamed are keen to get a retraction or an apology as soon as possible. They are also often keen to stop the defamation happening again. There are also strict time limits on bringing a defamation claim against someone. It is therefore wise to get legal advice as soon as you become aware of the defamatory statement.