Defamation Articles

MUTE THOSE THOUGHTS! In the eternal struggle between individual liberty and social cohesion, one aspect where this is now playing out involves freedom of expression vs contractual obligations to employers and the arena is Social Media. The famous Australian rugby player, Israel Folau, sent out this Instagram post: “Warning – Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators,… Read more »

Defamation Time Limits

by | Defamation

Don’t Let Sleeping Slanders Lie The old law stated that in an action in defamation (to use the old language, libel and slander), the aggrieved party had six (6) years to sue. This was drastically changed in the noughties by legislative reforms to defamation law across the Australian States, where the time limit was changed… Read more »

Facebook Defamation

by | Defamation

A recent case in the South Australian District Court, Johnston v Aldridge confirmed that the old ‘notice board rule’ applies to online secondary publishers and Facebook defamation.  Just as the golf club was liable for defamatory material posted on its notice board once it had been brought to their notice; just as Google had a… Read more »

Defamation Damages Update

by | Defamation

In our article on defamation damages, we gave an overview of how a court comes to an assessment of damage to reputation and feelings based on a libel or slander of character. The damages for non-economic loss is stated in the SA Defamation Act, 2005 to be $250,000, or such adjusted figure as gazetted from… Read more »

If someone defames you, legal liability generally doesn’t depend upon whether that was malicious or not. It generally doesn’t matter if it was intentional or not.  (Actual malice can be relevant to damages, however, as an aggravating element). Malice irrelevant Bill sends a general-public Facebook message that says “Mike Savile is a pedo”. Mike sues… Read more »

Malicious Falsehood as an Alternative to Defamation Defamation The law of defamation, whilst complex (at times, needlessly so), is generally known and understood. In Australia, the States have codified defamation law into statutes. While these are not completely uniform, for the most part they align. They contain limitations on the right of action for defamation. … Read more »

We have all heard stories of people using their Will to spite beneficiaries by leaving everything to charity or the family pet.  But what about Will makers who want to have the last word and let people know what they really thought?  What if the Will maker’s last words are lies, designed to hurt and… Read more »

Defamation Damages for Internet Abuse

by | Defamation

In a celebrated recent case, a self-appointed ‘avenger’ styling himself as “The Arbitrator”, complete with website and blog, decided to go on a one-man crusade against Australia’s banks.  Fair enough, you might think – the internet can empower the weak against the strong.  But such power, like all power, should not be abused. The case… Read more »

Since our June 2015 article, ‘Internet Defamation – Sexy Photos, Lies & Broken Promises’, where we spoke of difficulties in having defamatory material removed from the world wide web, a decision of the SA Supreme Court in Duffy v Google Inc has been delivered (27 October 2015), which is instructive. In that case, various persons… Read more »

Recently, this firm successfully helped a client to demand the removal of a defamatory blog from the internet by the server company.  This is easier said than done, for in the world of the internet, complex legal questions arise as to where publication occurred, where proceedings can be brought and whether an internet server can… Read more »

Defamation Damages

by | Defamation

If a person has been the victim of slander or libel, a claim for damages can be brought. Whilst the Courts will not order a defendant to apologise, it is obviously good policy to apologise as soon as possible and the Courts take this into account when awarding damages (see also the article Apology Can… Read more »

Apology Can Reduce Defamation Damages

by | Defamation

Whether you are slandered in the Pub, libeled in the newspapers or someone sledges you by mistake, you have rights at law to protect your reputation – as long as the defamatory remark isn’t true of course.  However, just because a nasty remark is not true, does not necessarily mean it is defamatory. A person… Read more »