Defamation, Media and Reputation

interviewDefamation is the publication of a statement to a third person about a person or corporation.

An action for defamation usually has three elements including:

  1. the matter must be published to a third person other than the plaintiff;
  2. the matter must be of and concerning the plaintiff; and
  3. the matter must be defamatory of the plaintiff.

In establishing these elements, the first two elements are a question of fact, while the third element is determined by considering whether an ordinary, reasonable person would on hearing, seeing or reading the material, think less of the person about whom the material is published.

Both individuals and corporations can be defamed.

It is important to note that it is only living individuals and ‘excluded corporations’ that can bring an action for defamation. Excluded corporations are those corporations that either:

  • employ fewer than 10 persons; or
  • have not been formed for financial gain for its members.

A successful action for defamation will entitle the plaintiff to an award for nominal damages.

Further, under certain circumstances, a successful plaintiff may be entitled to an award of compensatory damages and/ or aggravated damages.

The amount of compensatory damages that the plaintiff can receive will depend on the circumstances of the case and will generally depend on:

  • actual pecuniary loss;
  • anticipated pecuniary loss;
  • any social disadvantages resulting from the defamation;
  • injury to reputation;
  • injury to feelings and health; and
  • special or actual damages.

The amount of aggravated damages that the plaintiff can receive will depend on the circumstances of the case and will generally depend on:

  • the conduct by the defendant at the time of the publication;
  • any malice towards the plaintiff;
  • the mode and extent of publication;
  • conduct of the litigation by the defendant; and
  • any additional hurt suffered by the plaintiff.

In business, the publication of a defamatory statement can have serious repercussions. If you or your business have had or made a defamatory statement it is important to act in a timely manner.

Here at Ramsden Lawyers we are expert defamation lawyers in both plaintiff and defendant matters.

Levels 5 (Main office) and 9 (Property group)
Corporate Centre One, 2 Corporate Court
Bundall , QLD, 4217 Australia
Phone: (07) 5592 1921

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