Posts Tagged ‘libel’

Defamation – Who can sue?

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

When it comes to taking action against those who have committed a defamation, everyone who has participated in or is responsible for the publication can be sued.

An example of this is if a freelance journalist wrote an article which is published in a newspaper and then found to be defamatory the following people may potentially be sued:

1. The freelance journalist
2. The editor
3. The publisher
4. The printer
5. The retailers who sell the newspaper

In practice however one action would be brought against the publisher, the editor and the journalist. Whilst it is unusual for an action to be brought against the printers or distributors it can happen (see John Major v Scallywag Magazine).

It is also important to remember that every time the defamatory statement is repeated, it gives rise to a fresh cause of action and each person that repeats it will be liable as though they were the original authors.

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Defamation, Libel and Slander

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

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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