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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69261
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was recently slandered by a museum employee (and my ex partner)

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I was recently slandered by a museum employee (and my ex partner) on a visit to the museum with my new partner, who falsely alleged there was a restraining order against me, which was believed by the museum, causing us to be humiliatingly ejected. Do I have a strong case against them and would any legal representation be affordable/free, as I have limited financial means to take action?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Why did she say there was a restraining order against you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Our relationship was a very unhappy one (marked by significant emotional abuse on her side, 'borrowing' of large sums of unreturned money, invasion of my privacy etc.), which 'culminated' in my slapping her and her successfully prosecuting for me for common assault - a unique event in my life.


(She is, as I too late discovered, a pathological liar with an undiagnosed personality disorder.)


Her motive for the false allegation is difficult to determine, but most likely an expression of her general hostility and nastiness three years on, exacerbated by her seeing me with a new partner.


My partner and I protested very vigorously to museum staff, who simply refused to act on our (correct) version of events, citing a spurious 'duty of care' toward her, though we were at pains to emphasise we had no malicious intent and would not even have been in contact with her during our visit. (They also called police, despite no criminal activity having taken place. The police duly confirmed there was no restraining order, yet we did not even receive an apology.) In a public space, and at a museum I love and have visited many times, I consider the damage to my reputation and hurt feelings to have been considerable.


Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

But has she made any reports to the police previously?

Has the museum asked you to leave before?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The common assault was dealt with by the court 3 years ago, and I was discharged with a nominal fine. There has been no further legal or police action on either side since.


I have never had any issues of this kind before with this museum. I lived in the village for 2 years, visited the museum many times for research purposes and cultural enjoyment, and even registered as a volunteer there. The plain facts are that the woman concerned clearly wished to sabotage my day there with my new partner, which her manager assisted her in doing. My further concern is also that, if this is allowed to pass, she will be given 'carte blanche' to make false accusations against others, with similar results.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for that.

These comments may be defamatory. Defamation takes two forms. One is slander which covers the spoken word. The other is libel which covers the written.

You have to prove that the words are defamatory, that they would be understood to refer to you and that they have been published to a 3rd party.

Comments made directly to a person about themselves are not published and so cannot be defamatory however bad or untrue they are. If such contact were to continue it might amount to harassment.

There is no set definition of defamation. A statement is likely to be considered defamatory if it tends to do anyone of the following.

1 lower the claimant in the estimation of right minded members of society

2 disparage the claimant in his business, trade, office or profession

3 expose the claimant to hatred, ridicule or contempt or

4 cause the claimant to be shunned or avoided

An opinion, however, is not generally defamatory. People are entitled to an opinion under the human rights act and, indeed, under the common law generally. However, a person cannot hide behind the argument that a defamatory comment is just an opinion. For instance, if the person were to say “in my opinion, X is a liar with 15 convictions for theft" then that would be defamatory unless it were true. The opinion must be fair with some basis for it. It must be shown that it was a reasonable comments in all the circumstances.

Similarly, foul abuse is not defamatory although there might be other actions open to an aggrieved person.

Truth is a defence to defamation. The defendant would have to prove that it was the truth and that is reasonably hard to do so this defence is not often relied upon.

The real difficulty with defamation actions though is that they are very expensive. Unfortunately they are the domain of the very rich. That is not to say that you couldn't send a letter from a local solicitor for reasonable cost warning this person of the laws of libel and slander.

Also, you may want to consider other alternatives. This may amount to harassment which you can report to the police or sue at the civil courts much more economically. It might also be a malicious communication and you can report that to the police.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any more information.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much Jo. I will consider my options in the light of the museum's response.


Could you kindly just advise who I should contact in the first instance to instigate a prosecution through the civil courts, given that I am currently out of the UK?


Many thanks again -



Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
You will have to contact a defamation solicitor and pay the costs I'm afraid. Its not a cheap action.

They would probably want you to attend their offices at some point to give proper instructions.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69261
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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