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On the Right side of the law with Emma Allen: Defamation of Character
I’m Emma, one of fishers' solicitors! I’m here to give you monthly tips and advice on legal situations that could save you from any future stress, hurt and heartache. Let’s get into it.
Each month I’ll choose a topic and tell you what it’s all about. Don’t worry, we won’t be getting too technical... but before we get to the good stuff… I’ll let you know a little more about me and how I got into the law profession in the first place.
Okay, here goes… during my childhood and from an early age, I enjoyed letter writing. I would write letters to my family in Newcastle, pen pals and companies to understand products and processes to whoever had a free postal address (due to my age and affordability of stamps). This is where my love for letter writing began which of course is an essential skill in the legal world.
So here we are… when I’m not thinking about law, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and how I did this recently was by running the Robin Hood Half Marathon for the ABF Soldiers Charity whilst at a networking event. Yes, five months of training (running over 200 miles) to be able to run 13.1 miles on the day. I managed to complete the half-marathon in a semi-respectable time of 2 hours 15 minutes. This is something I never thought I would achieve but determination I have and the worthy cause inspired me to ‘just keep running’.
Anyway, that’s enough about me, now let’s get onto something more serious…
Defamation of Character, the truth, the whole truth… otherwise you’re in trouble!
Defamation is an action of damaging the good reputation of someone which is very relevant when living in a world dominated with social media. The term defamation covers libel and slander.
Libel is when the ‘action’ is in lasting forms of publication such as print, online or broadcasting.
Slander refers to forms such as the spoken words or gestures. Libel is actionable where harm is proven or is likely to have been caused. And slander will generally be actionable only if you can show that the slander has caused you damage.
If you have been defamed remedies include; damages, an injunction, publication of a summary of the court's judgment and an order to remove the defamatory statement.
There are also general defences to defamation claims. For example, it will be a defence to a defamation claim if it can be shown that the statement is the truth, honest opinion or publicised on a matter of public interest.
I can support those who believe that they are the victim of defamation in making a claim against those responsible to remove publications from circulation if applicable and secure compensation for any losses or harm suffered. The law of defamation, libel and slander can be complex and is highly fact-specific. If you believe you have been the victim of a libel or slander, you should seek immediate advice.
This article first appeared in the Ashby Life - find the magazine here.