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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70181
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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,We are a very small limited company delivering

Resolved Question:

Hello, We are a very small limited company delivering courses based around Preventing Violent Extremism and we have just received a solicitors letter claiming defamation on behalf of a gentleman featured in our brochure. We are willing to remove his image with immediate effect but if they then want to take things further and we close the business will we still be liable? Many thanks in advance, Lisa

Would you like me to forward the letter that they sent us?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Have you said anything untrue about him?
I am due in court this morning so will have to go offline now but I can pick up at about 10am if that is ok?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo,

The guy is one of the leading figures in Hizbu-tahrir.They are quite mistaken in what they are saying because what we are explaining in the course is that theirs is a non-violent group so other than the fact that his image in the brochure and video clip ( which we will remove immediately)

what they re stating is incorrect. We have never said that he or his group is violent. We are even considering closing the business as long as we would not become personally responsible. I look forward to hearing your response later this morning. Good luck in court.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

And no we have not said anything that is untrue about him at all.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo,

Where do I rate you when we are done?

Lisa

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo,

Can you answer my question now?

Thanks,

Lisa

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Have you said anything misleading?
Does your literature make clear he is not violent?
What is the specific complaint in the letter?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo,

We have not said anything misleading and we position him and his group as non-violent.

The specific complaint is that we are being defamatory toward their client.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Does it mention in what specific way?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It says "We write to complaining defamation over the content of the brochure produced for our course"

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, that is rather unhelpful of them. That is like summonsing you to court for an offence without telling you which
I wouldn't panic just because you have received a solicitor's letter. They are cheap enough to send and it doesn't mean that they intend to sue. It is very expensive to sue for defamation so quite unlikely that he will. These letters before action quite often are limited to a letter only.
In terms of defamation, I am at a loss to see it. You haven't said anything untrue or misleading. There doesn't even seem to be an implication of anything untrue. Obviously that is only your version of events rather than the allegation he is making so it might be that there is an arguable case.
In terms of personal liability, the fact of a limited company will not protect you per se. It depends who put the content on your brochures. It is possible to argue they are personally liable although the company would also be liable. The company's liability will not attach to you personally obviously.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Jo,
The last thing that I will ask is just for you to confirm that the limited company would be liable not us personally?
Thanks again,
Lisa
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It is not that simple.
With defamation, the person who asserts the untruth is liable. The publisher is also liable.
The company is the publisher here and therefore liable and that liability would not attach to you.
However, some person must have asserted the statement in writing or orally and they are also liable.
That is always supposing that this amounts to defamation.
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