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Defamation Law

Woman looking out at a landscape | Shine Lawyers

As Australians, we enjoy a right to freedom of speech that can sometimes be to the detriment of others.  At Shine Lawyers we understand that there can be negative and far-reaching consequences for your professional and personal reputation as a result.  That’s why we have a team dedicated to simplifying defamation law and helping you achieve an appropriate solution.

What is defamation?

If a person is subject to slanderous or libellous comments that damage their good reputation, then there may be a case for defamation. Examples of this could be accusations that you've committed a crime, have a disease, that you're a fraud or even something that ridicules you.

Libel is considered as written or published defamatory statements, whereas slander is verbal or oral defamatory statements. Both require evidence that others have seen these statements, comments or actions.

Find out more about defamation law and how Shine Lawyers' defamation practice can work for you in the video below.

 

What are the requirements to make a defamation law claim?

To establish a claim for defamation, you must be able to prove all of the following:

  1. Publication - the information considered by you to be defamatory must be communicated to others; this can be verbally, in writing, by gesture or through pictures.
  2. Identification - the information must identify you. Your name need not be specifically mentioned, but it has to be sufficient to allow someone to infer it as referring to you.
  3. Defamatory matter - the information must contain defamatory material, regardless of whether it was published intentionally or not.

A lawyer can help you with this and go through the requirements with you.

At Shine Lawyers we have a team of experts in defamation law, who can assist in determining if you have a case and how to progress. If you believe that you have been subject to defamation, please get in touch using the forms below or via phone.

 

Related infomation:

Defamation Services Capability Statement

Common questions about Defamation Law

To establish a claim for defamation, you must be able to prove:

  1. Publication – the information considered by you to be defamatory must be communicated to others; this can be verbally, in writing, by gesture or through pictures.
  2. Identification – the information must identify you. Your name need not be specifically mentioned, but it has to be sufficient to allow someone to infer it as referring to you.
  3. Defamatory matter – the information must contain defamatory material, regardless of whether it was published intentionally or not.

Your lawyer can help you with this and go through the requirements with you.

Shine Lawyers are experts when it comes to giving you practical legal advice about your particular situation. Since the Defamation Act 2005 (Qld) came into effect, defamation actions after that date must be brought within one year of the defamatory material being published. Time is therefore of the essence and you will need to act fast to prevent further damage to your reputation. There is a lot of grey area in the field of defamation law, so it is in your best interests to have an experienced team of defamation lawyers acting on your behalf.

Time is of the essence when it comes to defamation actions. After certain time periods you may not be able to lodge a claim. For material published after 1 January 2006, your claim must be bought within one year from the date of its publication.

Our team can make an assessment of your situation to determine what options are available to you. Provided you have a valid claim, the first step is to issue a Concerns Notice to the party alleged to have defamed you. This sets out the grounds of why you believe they have defamed you. The publisher of that material then has 28 days to issue an Offer to Make Amends in order to settle the matter. If they don’t make an Offer to Make Amends we can commence legal proceedings on your behalf. Most defamation claims are resolved quickly without the need to commence legal proceedings.

Shine Lawyers can immediately institute proceedings seeking an injunction to prevent the publication of the alleged defamatory material. Time is a critical factor and can help prevent damage to your reputation.

Compensation is not the only option. The party alleged to have defamed you can make an Offer to Make Amends which can include, but is not limited to:

  • A written apology;
  • Retraction of defamatory imputations;
  • A letter stating each imputation published is untrue;
  • Publication of a correction; or
  • A promise not to publish defamatory imputations in the future.

Defamation proceedings can be costly and most claims can be settled without needing to go through the courts. That’s why we’re offering to run your defamation claim on a fixed fee basis to provide you more certainty. This service includes:

  • An initial consultation with a member of our team;
  • The issuing of a Concerns Notice to the party suspected of defaming you;
  • All costs associated with participating in negotiations.

Defamatory material can be in writing, by gesture or through pictures. With claims for defamation, it is particularly important that you are able to provide us with the exact words spoken or written, gestures or pictures used.

  • If verbal words were spoken, try to make a note of the precise comment/s word for word as well as the surrounding circumstances (who said it, who heard it, where it was made, when it was made).
  • If the defamatory material appears in written form, try to obtain a copy of it so that we can understand the context in which it was published.

Gather any and all material you can and we can help you with the rest.

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