Defamation

At O'Connor Richardson, we understand that your reputation is important to you. A public slight can make your job hunt that bit harder, it can affect you in social circles, or it can impact your business.

Defamation can be made in writing (called libel), or it can be spoken (called slander. To be defamatory, a comment must be made to a third party, it must be untrue, and it must injure your reputation.

To be successful in a defamation action, you should know who made the defamatory statement, when, what it said, and who the audience was.

We can help you determine if you have been defamed and advise what steps you could take. A defamation action will always be balanced against the right to freedom of expression.

Several factors need to be considered in determining whether you should start a court action for defamation:

  • Whether the comment is true;
  • Whether the comment was intended to hurt your reputation;
  • Whether the comment was publicized;
  • Whether there is proof that the comment was made;
  • Whether your reputation was damaged;

For victims of defamation, we try to get an apology and have the defamatory comment retracted. These steps can be achieved without the stress and expense of a court action.

If the matter cannot be resolved out of Court, or if you are entitled to damages, we have extensive experience representing clients in the Court system. It is possible that you could obtain a damage award if a Court action is started.

Limitation periods

In certain circumstances, the limitation period for defamation actions can be as little as six weeks. It is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as you become aware of the defamatory statement to understand your rights.