Defamation, Libel and Slander

Defamation is a tort which means that if a case goes to trial there will usually be a jury.

Libel is one type of defamation. The main aspects of libel are as follows:
1. Libel is defamation in permanent form for example in newspapers, magazines and book.
2. Libel can also include words spoken in television, radio and threatre and words in emails.
3. Libel can also be a criminal offence, although it usually has to be extremely serious for this to happen.

A claimant in a libel action does not need to show that he has suffered any damage. If he does however he is more likely to suffer higher damages by the court.

What is Slander?
Slander is defamation that occurs by the spoken words or some other transitory form.
Unlike libel, slander usually requires proof of special damage (usually in the form of loss of money) before an action can be brought.

There are some circumstances whereby no special damages need be shown. These include allegations relating to:

1. A person professional ability
2. Unchasity
3. A criminal offence punishable by criminal imprisonment
4. A disease.

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