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?
OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.
Many thanks for your patience. Defamation claims are usually extremely difficult to pursue. Many people are intent on suing for defamation without having any appreciation of the law behind them, so I will try and clear things up for you now.
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.
So your comments need to have been untrue, if they are factually correct and you can show that this is the case then regardless of whether it makes them look bad or affects their reputation, this will not be defamation and they cannot claim.
Also, whilst it may be easy to 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.
You must also consider whether you are able to defend the claim. Even if they satisfy the criteria to prove the statement was defamatory it could be defended on a number of grounds, including by providing evidence that the statement was substantially true or an honest opinion.
So I would say that in most circumstances companies like this one would use these simply as threats rather than because they wish to actually make a claim. It would cost them too much and the end result is unlikely to be satisfactory to them. They just want to remove the comments and stop any further damage to their business. This has already happened so in the circumstances I do not see it getting any further.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the rights you have should they issue a claim, 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. As mentioned, there is nothing stopping them from making a claim against you but in the circumstances that would be unlikely and also rather pointless. If they do start the claims process, you should promptly point out that the statements you made are unlikely to have been defamatory as they stated the truth and you have evidence to prove that. You are very likely to be able to show that they were an honest opinion and hat the fact their business may have been affected does not mean it is defamation – showing something is the truth is the ultimate defence to defamation. Secondly, you should make it clear that having removed the statements, any damage to their reputation or losses would have come to an end so the likelihood of them being able to make any sort of claim worth pursuing are minimal. Finally, state that their chances of successfully making a claim are minimal due to you being able to prove the statements were true and if they proceed with the claim and subsequently lose, you will be making them liable for any costs incurred in the process.
You are welcome all the best