Why put up with being defamed?
The function of Defamation Law is to protect the reputation of individuals and businesses by providing a deterrent in the form of compensation.
You know you’ve been defamed when you hear something about yourself or read something about yourself and you feel sick to the pit of your stomach. You feel that special anger and hurt that comes from reading something about you that’s untrue. From the fear that someone else might believe it. You start to wonder – who else read this? Who else has heard this? What will this mean for me? How do I stop it?
Sometimes it is really bad because it affects how your social circle looks at you. It’s uncomfortable and awkward. You feel disconnected from the group.
Sometimes it is really bad because it affects your business – suddenly you are losing customers or needing to justify yourself. All that money spent on marketing is not as effective now. You are feeling stressed and not working on your business as strongly. You are feeling deflated.
It has affected your sales, and it has also affected your morale.
It doesn’t matter how defamation touches you – its bad and it should not be happening to you.
Defamation has a lot of names – slander, trolling, gossip, rumour, innuendo – whatever you call it, you don’t have to put up with it. There are laws in place that are designed to protect you and also to compensate you for any loss.
Adam Ahmed & Co are experts in the prosecution of defamation claims.
Defamation claims can often be difficult and complex but they need not be. The hardest part is getting together the evidence and bracing yourself – a lot of mud is thrown around during a defamation claim and so it can be quite taxing with the defamatory claims being aired out in Court.
We pride ourselves on keeping a clear head and taking the extra effort to make sure that not only do we put in place the best (and most painless) strategy, but also in making sure that you are feeling OK through the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
In technical terms, defamation occurs when something is published, either in writing or verbally or by some other means of communication, and has the effect or leads to damaging a person’s reputation. The defamation laws are designed to protect a person’s reputation.
The function of defamation law is to protect the reputation of individuals and businesses by allowing the Courts to order people to cease, apologise and pay compensation.
There are broadly three requirements:
- Publication – the information considered by you to be defamatory must be communicated in some way to others – it could be in writing, it could be online such as on a forum or face book, it could be through a picture or poster, or it could be verbal.
- Identification – the publication must identify you or it needs to be reasonably clear that it is referring to you if you are not explicitly mentioned.
- Defamatory matter – the publication must contain defamatory material (see definition of defamation above). It generally does not matter if it was published intentionally or not.
If your business has been affected and there is no sign of the situation improving you might as well seek legal advice because generally speaking bullies will continue or even step up their behaviour if they do not meet resistance. You may even be ridiculed for seeing a lawyer, but remember that at the end of the day if the law is on your side then you will be the one having the last laugh, and the worse their behaviour is, the better your chance of getting a great outcome. A Court judgment against a defamer speaks for itself.
Time is of the essence when it comes to defamation actions. Generally you will only have one year from the date of the publication of the defamatory matter.
All Court proceedings can be expensive, and usually are, so the decision to take action through the Courts should not be taken lightly. However, if you do take this decision, it should be on a sound strategic basis.
With our experience, we should be able to give you a ball park of what you could expect. Please give us a call for a free initial consultation and we would be happy to do this for you.
The first thing we do is have a look at the material and let you know what we think your options are. Our preference is to avoid Court as it is generally not in the interests of either party so the first step is to send a concerns notice setting out what has happened and asking the defamer to stop, apologise and (in most cases) pay compensation.
If this does not have the intended effect, we can commence proceedings in Court seeking and order from the Court that they not only stop, apologise and pay compensation, but also pay your legal costs.
Like all forms of litigation, fighting a defamation case can be expensive, stressful and time consuming which can sometimes be an effective deterrent for the other side.
It is possible to obtain an injunction to prevent its publication but obviously it will be necessary to act quickly.
Generally speaking you could hope for one or more of: an apology, a retraction, a promise not to defame in the future and compensation.
Evidence is key. Defamatory material can be in words, in writing, by gesture or through pictures. The context is also very important as is the size of the audience who hears/sees/receives it and who that audience is (e.g. are they potential buyers). The more information and evidence you have around these factors the better.
If it is verbal or gestures, you will need to know:
– Who said it / did it
– To Whom
– What day and time
The more witnesses who are willing to co-operate, the better.
If it is in written or other form, we will need copies of everything you can obtain, answering the same points: who, when, where, to whom and what day and time.
Gather any and all material you can.
Don’t let someone tarnish your hard earned reputation.
Defend yourself. Strict time limits apply to defamation claims. Please seek legal advice immediately when you become aware you have been defamed.