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  • 06 Equity and Rights in Society
  • Defamation
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Defamation

This chapter deals with the law of defamation and explains what needs to be present for an action of defamation to be brought against an individual or company as well as detailing defences to an action of defamation.

Introduction

The law of defamation aims to protect a person's reputation against harm, while making due allowance for the need to preserve the right of free speech. Whether that balance is ever achieved is a matter of dispute. With the increasing presence of the internet in our every day lives, there are even...

What is Defamation?

Defamation can arise from written material or may be oral. To establish a ‘prima facie’ case of actionable defamation (whether libel or slander), the plaintiff must establish three things: that the material was ‘published’ (the publication); that the material identifies them (the issue of...

Who Can Be Defamed?

Anyone can be defamed. The distinction is basically between real versus legal persons, people and organisations. Changes to the Defamation Act mean that corporations have no cause of action for demation unless they are an excluded corporation at the time of the publication of defamatory materi...

Making Amends and Apologies

While making amends or offering an apology are not rights of a plaintiff, they are a legitimate means for a defendant to end litigation before it reaches the court. The offering and acceptance of amends means that an aggrieved person cannot assert, continue or enforce an action for defamation (s1...

Presumtions

Once the plaintiff establishes that defamatory material which identifies them has been published by the defendant, certain presumptions arise. It is presumed that the plaintiff suffered harm. At common law, a plaintiff alleging slander (oral defamation) was required to establish ‘special damag...

Defences

Under the Defamation Act 2005, there are defences under the Act (ss25-33), common law defences, and defences available under other Acts (s24). The defences to defamation are as follows: truth (s25) contextual truth (ss25 and 26) absolute privilege (s27) qualified privilege (ss27, 28...

Remedies

There are two remedies for defamation under the Defamation Act, other than criminal prosecution under the Criminal Code: an injunction to prevent publication; damages after publication; An offer of amends can be made as a means of early resolution, without recourse to a...

Page last updated 19/03/2018

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