Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
How long ago did this occur?
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To pursue them for defamation will be very difficult and expensive and to be honest I would not even say this was defamatory behaviour here. First of all, certain conditions must be met for the statement to be classified as defamatory. These are:
1. The statement has to be untrue.
2. It must directly identify the complainant.
3. It must have been published, usually communicated to at least another person.
4. It must be in a form of words, which would tend to lower the claimant in the estimation of ‘right thinking members of society generally', expose the claimant to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or cause the claimant to be shunned or avoided.
5. Its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.
Even if you can prove that defamation has occurred, the legal process of pursuing such a claim is extremely complex and expensive. As this goes through the High Court, you would need the professional help of specialist defamation solicitors and the costs are undoubtedly going to run into the thousands right at the outset. Also there is no legal aid available for such claims so the complainant must fund these personally. So when you hear about defamation claims being made, these are usually pursued by big corporations or celebrities who have a public image to protect.
In terms of harassment it is possible to make a claim for this and it wold generally be easier than defamation. However, you would not necessarily be looking for high levels of compensation so making such a claim would be risky. You could consider threatening them to pursue such a claim and hope that in the course of this they consider compensating you rather than have their name dragged through the courts and their practices made public or examined by a court.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the next steps you should follow and how to make a claim if necessary, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Thank you. If you were considering making a claim for defamation then that must be made within 1 year of the defamatory statement having been made. You need to complete form N1 and send it to the High Court:
I strongly suggest consulting a specialist lawyer on the process tough as it is very complex and technical.
Apologies, for some reason the second part of my answer did not post so I will try again. In terms of harassment it could be both a civil matter and a criminal one. The law states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. Although there is no definition of what specifically amounts to harassment, it would usually include alarming a person or causing them distress and must have occurred on at least two occasions.
Under criminal law, and if this is reported to the police who then take action, the punishment for harassment can be imprisonment and/or a fine. A court may also impose a restraining order for the purpose of protecting the victim.
In addition to criminal action, a civil claim can also be brought against a person who is alleged to be guilty of causing harassment. The courts would award compensation to the victim, something that is unlikely to happen if this is pursued as a criminal issue.
The police will not often get involved in trivial disputes so if they believe that this is not serious enough they could refuse to help and advise you that this is a civil matter. In such circumstances, the victim can warn the harasser that their actions are being treated as harassment and that unless they refrain from such behaviour in the future they will be reported to the police and legal action under harassment legislation taken against them. Legal action would be pursued in the same way via an N1 claim form and you can submit that in the English courts and if necessary serve it out of the jurisdiction as explained earlier.
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