Protecting You and Your Business from Harassment


Defamation is the publication of a false or misleading statement to one or more third parties concerning a person, company or firm, that serves to undermine the reputation of the subject in the eyes of right-thinking members of society generally, by exposing the subject to hatred, contempt or ridicule. Defamation can either be in written form (libel) or verbal (slander).
 

The key elements of a defamation claim are:

  1. A defamatory statement was made
  2. The statement had a negative impact, i.e. ‘lowered the claimant in the estimation of right thinking members of society
  3. The statement refers to an identifiable legal person
  4. The statement was published
  5. There is no lawful justification or other statutory defence

Defending a Defamation Claim

Wellers’ defamation solicitors are on hand to both pursue and defend claims of defamation, slander and breach of privacy. In order for a claim of defamation to be successfully defended, one or more of the following defences must be proved:

  • Truth: If an alleged defamatory statement is proven to be a true statement, it cannot be considered defamatory. However, in some cases, defamatory statements may be partially true, which can give rise to litigation and many legal complexities.
  • Honest opinion: If an alleged defamatory statement has some factual basis, it may be allowable as the proven opinion of honest person.
  • Publication on a matter of public interest: This is a complex defence and requires legal advice from experienced defamation lawyers.
  • Privilege: The defence of privilege is usually reserved to cases of absolute parliamentary privilege.

Reputations can take years to build and maintain, so it is crucial that if you believe you or your business have been the victim of defamation, you take swift action to restore or preserve your reputation, not least because defamation clams have a one-year time limit from the date the defamatory statement was made or initially published.

Additionally, if confidential or private data about you or your company has been leaked (or is about to be leaked) you may also be able to sue using privacy laws and/or seek an injunction prohibiting dissemination.

Contact Wellers’ Defamation Lawyers Today

Our experienced lawyers have the expertise to advise you in your claim. We provide effective, sensitive advice to individuals, companies and other organisations aiming to resolve any issues without recourse to legal action, so that you don’t have to face the distress, cost and publicity of a court hearing, unless it is absolutely necessary.

We understand that reputation is one of a business’s most valuable assets and we can help you work to manage the inevitable reputational fallout associated with the circumstances leading to a defamation claim.

We are also experienced in defending slander claims against clients made by disgruntled former employees who wish to harm a business’s reputation or who are claiming defamation following an adverse employment reference. Contact our employment law team to find out more.

To find out more about making a defamation or harassment claim, please contact:

Alice Lithgow (Anderson) London 020 7481 6396
Joe Reeves London 020 7481 6383
James Baird Bromley 020 8290 7959
Rosalind Webster Bromley 020 8290 7993
Leon Hines Bromley 020 8290 7996
Craig Batko Surrey 01372 750 109
Philip Jackson Surrey 01372 750 100