Defamation arises if someone publishes a statement about you, your company or your brand name, to one or more others which will have an adverse effect on their opinion of you or of the brand itself.
It will be necessary to show that this has seriously harmed your reputation or is likely to cause harm. If someone has made false comments about your company, brand name or branded products or services, and you have suffered financial loss as a result, this could amount to defamation, and the specialist defamation solicitors at David Ebert will be able to help you.
There are two ways in which a defamatory statement can be made.
Libel or Slander?
Slander means that the statement was spoken; and libel refers to written statements, including those included as part of an email or posted on social media.
You will usually be required to bring your claim within one year, although the general expectation is that the claim will be brought as soon as possible when financial loss is involved, and in practice many cases are settled well in advance of reaching the courtroom. If your claim is successful, the Court may award financial compensation in the form of damages and possibly an injunction to prevent it from happening again. The defendant may also be ordered to meet your legal costs.
Anonymous Comments and Reputational Damage
It is entirely possible that the reputation of your unique brand name could be damaged by anonymous comments that are posted online and lose valuable custom as a result.
Anonymity is not necessarily a barrier to taking legal action to recover such losses, since it may be possible to obtain a disclosure order to identify the person who was responsible.
Defences in Defamation Cases
There are several defences that may be applied in defamation cases, including:
- The statement involves a ‘matter of public interest’
- The statement is ‘privileged.’ ‘Absolute privilege’ covers statements made in parliament or in court, which are protected regardless of whether or not they are true
- The statement is shown to be true
- The statement constitutes an ‘honest comment,’ i.e. the honest expression of an opinion
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