We understand that defamatory statements can be extremely destructive both emotionally and financially. We can help stop the defamation and restore your reputation. Read our Client Reviews and then call us to speak with an Adelaide defamation lawyer with specialist experience on a no obligation basis.
Experienced defamation lawyers Adelaide
Our experience is that most defamation occurs in circumstances where the defamer is actively trying to cause damage to our client’s reputation. The defamatory statements can take various forms but most often include online publications. Defamatory statements often occur on social media such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.
Whilst one strategy is to “turn the other cheek” and ignore the defamatory statements, that choice is often not available where the defamation is likely to adversely affect reputation and potentially damage one’s employment or business prospects. In those situations it may be necessary to take rapid and decisive action in the form of a letter of demand and, if necessary, legal proceedings seeking injunctive orders and, ultimately, damages and costs.
Peter Jakobsen has published an article entitled "Defamation Damages". Find out more
Apology for defamatory statement
Ultimately most clients subjected to defamatory behaviour simply want an apology and an undertaking that the defamation will cease. See Peter Jakobsen’s article: “Apology Can Reduce Defamation Damages“. In some situations however the effect of the defamation is so immediate and so devastating to one’s reputation and business interests that an apology alone is insufficient to restore the person to their former position. In those cases it will be necessary to also pursue financial compensation in the form of defamation damages.
As with all litigation matters, remember that time limits apply.
What is defamation?
Defamation is a legal cause of action designed to protect personal reputation. The action arises when something is written said or otherwise represented, about someone, to another or others, which tends to lower the reputation of that someone in the eyes of the community.
What is slander?
Slander is a form of defamation in a non-permanent form, such as spoken words. In bygone days, a person suing for slander had to prove special damage flowing from the slander, because a casual conversation was seen by the common law as less damaging than a newspaper article or television programme.
What is libel?
Libel is a form of defamation in a permanent form, such as writing in a newspaper or website, a cartoon or drawing. Various Australian States have passed defamation legislation that abolishes the old common law distinction between libel and slander. In South Australia the Defamation Act, 2005 (SA) applies and in section 7 of the Act the distinction between slander and libel was abolished which means that it is no longer necessary for a victim to prove special damage.
How do I sue for defamation of character?
The victim of defamation first issues a written “Concerns Notice”, which informs the publisher of the defamatory imputations that the victim considers are or may be carried about the victim. Within 28 days, the publisher can offer to make amends. If this does not resolve the matter, the victim must sue in court within 1 year of the defamation (a limited extension of time may sometimes be obtained).
If you are out of time to commence an action for defamation or there is some other technical reason which bars such an action, it may be possible to proceed with an action for malicious falsehood.
What defences are available to a charge of defamation?
Division 2 of the Defamation Act, 2005 (SA) sets out a number of defences to a charge of defamation. These defences are in addition to those prescribed by the common law (section 22(1) of the Act. In particular section 22(2) states that if the publication was actuated by malice, the general law applies in proceedings in which the defence is raised to determine whether a
particular publication of matter was actuated by malice.
The defences set out in Division 2 of the Act are as follows:
- Justification (section 23);
- Contextual truth (section 24);
- Absolute privilege (section 25);
- Publication of public documents (section 26);
- Fair report of proceedings of public concern (section 27);
- Qualified privilege for provision of certain information (section 28);
- Honest opinion (section 29);
- Innocent dissemination (section 30); and
- Triviality (section 31).
What award would I receive if a Court finds defamation?
If the defamation is proved and none of the defences apply, the usual remedy is an award of damages. Damages are to compensate for hurt feelings, loss of reputation and vindication. There has to be a rational link between the defamation and the harm to the victim. The maximum amount allowed for non-economic loss is $250,000. Damages are usually reduced if the publisher has apologised and issued a retraction. See also Peter Jakobsen’s article on ‘Defamation Damages‘.
Read our Client Reviews and you can stop the search for defamation lawyers Adelaide because you have found someone that can help. Call now and talk to Peter Jakobsen about your matter on a no obligation basis.