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Defamation is the publication of any false information causing harm to a person’s reputation. If someone posts or publishes information about you that causes damage to your reputation, you may be able to seek compensation for losses resulting from their posts or publication. There are a number of different things which can be considered defamatory, so long as they meet the requirements set out by defamation law.
What Can Be Defamatory?
There are a variety comments which can be defamatory, including those that attack someone’s:
- personal choices; or
- mental stability.
For the material to be defamatory, it needs to be capable of causing other people to, ultimately, think less of you. Comments regarding physical attributes or appearance are not defamatory.
Written or spoken comments can be defamatory. The comments can be in print, online, or even in a personal email or social media comment. Whilst many posts and publications can be defamatory, they will need to meet the threshold of requirements set out by defamation law. Let us explore these requirements are below.
However, it is important to note that there is no requirement for the material to be in writing. Defamatory comments can be shared with a third party during a phone call or video conference.Continue reading this article below the form
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Person is Identifiable
The second requirement is that the material has sufficiently identified you. The material need not strictly identify you by name, though it makes the element easier to prove. Ultimately, the law will require that an ordinary reasonable person be able to determine that the material is referring to you.
Damage to Reputation
Finally, for material to be defamatory is that it must actually be defamatory. This means the material must lower the person’s reputation or hold them open to ridicule. The position the law takes on this test is by determining what a reasonable person would infer from the comments and where, on this basis, it is likely to damage the reputation of the person the material relates to.
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In summary, defamation is a complex area of law. Even where material may be defamatory, there may still be defences that the offending party may make. Thus, if you are considering whether or not you should make a claim for defamation, you should speak to an experienced lawyer first. This is because the costs involved in making a claim for defamation are quite high.
If you have concerns about material that could be defamatory, our experienced disputes lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 1300 544 755 or visit our membership page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Defamation is the publication of any false information causing harm to a person’s reputation. If someone posts or publishes false information about you that causes damage to your reputation, you may be able to seek compensation for losses resulting from their posts or publication.
There is no prescribed manner in which the false information or defamatory statements must be made. It can include everything from statements made in a phone conversation, emails shared to one or more third parties, social media posts and Google reviews.
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