Can I write whatever I want online?

Can I write whatever I want online?

The practical answer is no, you cannot write whatever you want online. Defamation law applies to material that you write. And given the worldwide reach of the internet, something you write online could become subject to the defamation laws of several countries around the world. An example A fictitious example will help to illustrate the way defamation laws can apply to what you write online: You are the father of a teenager who is addicted…

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Defamation Act 2013 – a summary

Defamation Act 2013 – a summary

What is the status of the Defamation Bill? The Defamation Bill is now an Act of Parliament. It became law on 25 April 2013, creating the Defamation Act 2013. What is the main purpose of the Defamation Act 2013? The old law on libel cases had long been criticised for being expensive, out-of-date and unfair. This resulted in a ‘chilling effect’ on freedom of expression and a suppression of otherwise legitimate discussion – with people…

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Defamation overview

Defamation overview

Where a person makes a defamatory statement that damages your reputation, you may be able to sue them for compensation or prevent them repeating it. While the classic example of a defamation claimant is the celebrity who believes that a newspaper has published an unflattering untruth about her, defamation also comes up in more mundane circumstances. For example, a businessman might claim that he has been defamed by a rival who sends an email containing…

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Defending yourself against a defamation claim

Defending yourself against a defamation claim

The Defamation Act 2013 made several changes to the libel laws in England and Wales. Among these changes were the defences available to an action for defamation, several of which have been substituted. New defences have also been added. Truth (section 2 of the Defamation Act 2013) The ‘justification’ defence has been replaced with a ‘truth’ defence. A person defending a defamation claim (a ‘defendant’) now has to prove that “the imputation conveyed by the…

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Libel

Libel

Libel is one form of defamation (the other being slander) and covers defamatory statements captured in some kind of permanent format (e.g., in writing or print, or on videotape or CD). As discussed in the defamation overview, there are a few basic questions you need to address if you’re considering a claim for libel, including: Is the statement defamatory? Did the defendant “publish” the statement to a third person? Does the defendant have a valid…

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Malicious falsehood

Malicious falsehood

Publication of a statement that is not true can be damaging – even if it does not reflect badly on the person about whom the statement is made. For instance, if one lawyer (Lawyer A) were to falsely state that a rival lawyer (Lawyer B) had retired from practising law, when in fact he had not, Lawyer B would not be able to bring legal proceedings against Lawyer A for libel or slander. However, the…

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Slander

Slander

Slander is one form of defamation — the other being libel — and covers defamatory statements captured in some temporary, impermanent form (e.g., live speech). Generally, it is more difficult to make a case for slander than for libel. This is not only because of the problem of proof (a record of unrecorded speech is more difficult to establish than that of, say, a written publication) but also because a claimant is generally required to…

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What are the legal implications of false allegations?

What are the legal implications of false allegations?

There are many different scenarios in which somebody can be falsely accused and the correct response can, therefore, vary considerably. If the accusations could lead to criminal proceedings then clearly it is vital to get legal advice at the earliest possible stage. If you are falsely accused of an offence you should contact a solicitor immediately for legal advice. Naturally, if you are accused of a criminal offence then you have the right to see…

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What difficulties are involved in bringing a defamation claim?

What difficulties are involved in bringing a defamation claim?

What is defamation? Defamation occurs when, for example, person A uses untrue words about person B – either verbally or in writing – that have the effect of making other people (such as persons C, D and E) think less of person B, therefore damaging person B’s reputation. Defamation is a ‘strict liability’ tort. In other words, it does not matter if the person who made the statement did not mean to defame the subject…

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What is an injunction?

What is an injunction?

An injunction is a legal remedy generally taken out to stop someone carrying out or continuing with a particular action. An injunction can take several forms but will usually involve an urgent application to court. The reason for this is that in order to get an injunction the individual will have to show that there is no other suitable remedy other than an injunction. Injunctions have been the subject of news headlines recently as several…

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