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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33817
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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As part of my divorce case my ex wife made written accusations

Resolved Question:

As part of my divorce case my ex wife made written accusations against me that including violence and rape. I was never arrested, cautioned or prosecuted however I did end up voluntarily giving undertakings to the court stating that I would vacate my property and not molest her etc and after that as before there was no further incident and these have now expired. This was based on what in retrospect I feel was bad advice from a lawyer. During the on going divorce as with most people I'd imagine she continuted spreading these malicious allegations and it has caused me to lose friends and has generally caused me what I'd loosely describe as damage to my person.

I've been looking into defamation and specifically libel and potentially slander and I'm interested in bringing a case against her. She doesn't have any money but more for my sake to clear the fact that she was lying. Having gone through the court system and in the end been presenting in person I've got a certain level of confidence in dealing with courts.

My question is what do you think of the possibility of pursuing such a case is, what are the main barriers to bringing a case such as this and has this ever been tried before. If this is just not possible, I'm happy to try if it's difficult but if there's some reason it's just not technically possible then do you have any other suggestions for things that I could try to bring some closure to it and have an external party verify that these things beyond reasonable doubt did not happen.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Were the allegations ever repeated in writing outside of the court proceedings?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Not that I have seen but I know that she has been talking to people through Facebook and I could approach those people and ask them to help by showing me what she has written to them but given what she has probably said it is unlikely that they would help, certainly if I was in their position I would probably refuse.


 


The house is mortgaged and because of some other reason the backers of the mortgage, a trust, will need me to do a yearly inspection of the property if she stays there. So there would be one month notice and essentially I would be their representative for any maintenance work. Now they are making it an issue as if there is some danger to her by me doing this and have written this into their offers. I have told them that I find this offensive and defamatory which I do. This is still part of their offer in the ancillary relief proceedings and is without prejudice but would this count if they keep repeating it given I was not arrested, cautioned and there was no physical evidence or witnesses to this alleged violence or rape.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
The fact that the allegations were made within Court Proceedings means that you cannot make any claim for Libel.
The main barrier is that you cannot refer to the paperwork within the proceedings
They were not in fact published - and it is highly unlikely that it made the court think badly of you since such allegations - false and others - are part of their daily work.
You were in fact well advised to give your Undertakings - in general FAILURE to be willing to do so can easily be interpreted as a a sign that there is indeed some truth in the allegations
Of course if she has repeated them to others then there could be some mileage in that.
HOWEVER then you face the fact that you have to establish what she has actually said and in what context.
Given that spouses in divorce proceedings do routinely make derogatory comments about their ex's you will struggle to prove that the allegations were seen as anything other than the outpourings of an embittered spouse
If you were to start proceedings this would certainly be seen as evidence that you are ay the very least a Bully - and will do you more harm than good.
With regard to the inspection I can see no basis on which such a provision for inspection by a former spouse would be seen as acceptable unless they were on the best of terms. This is whether or not there are any allegations of violence.
I know that this is not what you wish to hear - but I have to be honest with you
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Actually I feel that I am the victim of a dangerous bully but that is just my opinion.

 

So to be clear then the legal documents containing the malicious allegations would not be relevant because they have already been presented in court.

 

1. If these statements are repeated outside of court verbally and I can get that person whoever they were repeated to to make a statement that would be defamatory and would be slander ?

 

2. If these statements are written down say in the form of an email or a Facebook instant message and I can get hold of a copy of the email or message with the recipients permission that is also defamatory and would be libel ?

 

When I start the case is it like other court cases where you submit the form with a payment, serve notice on the other side and then a hearing date is booked. If so which form is it that I need to use.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
They are not not relevant - but they cannot be used as they are NOT public documents and you would need a Court Order to release them
1. technically yes - but you must also show that it caused that person yo think less of YOU = rather than your embittered ex
2. Not necessarily no. What we say in private to our friends in a message is not libel - if it is posted on her Face book wall - published as it were - then it could be - however again it is a matter of whether the accusation was such as to bring you into general disrepute and do you "serious harm" difficult when the fact is that your whole case could collapse on the basis of one cross examination question
"Did you not think that these were simply the rantings of a bitter woman...."
If you are determined to do this then wait until the financial issues in the divorce have been completed as otherwise you will suffer financially within them
To start the case you need to follow the Pre Action Protocol set out here
http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/protocol/prot_def
The form you will eventually need is here
http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33817
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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