The old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” has absolutely no place in this age. When people (sometimes business competitors) tell others something about you that is false, it is important that you take swift action to protect any damage to your reputation. Reputation is everything if not the only asset of irreplaceable value to most individuals and businesses.

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A defamatory statement is any words spoken or written which tends to lower the opinion held by ordinary people about you, has the effect of having others avoid you, is false to your discredit or is made without justification with the intent to injure you by exposing you to hatred, contempt or ridicule or which tends to make others with to shun and avoid you.  Statements can range from those made to one person only to those published to the entire world such as posts on Facebook, Twitter or a Blog.

There are number of defences to a defamation claim including honest opinion, truth, absolute and qualified privilege.

Often a prompt request for a retraction and apology from the maker of the statement will suffice but sometimes that will be refused.  In that situation, the only legal recourse is to issue proceedings for defamation.  If it’s a trade competitor in question, the statement made may also amount to misleading and deceptive conduct.  If it’s a blogger, then it is important to squarely assess the obligations owed by the internet service provider in question.  Chris has been involved in several defamation actions including a number of internet defamation cases involving the need for urgent Court orders and has guided clients (both plaintiffs and defendants) to positive outcomes in this rather technical area of the law.