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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47881
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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We need to sue our neighbours for slander. They have given

Resolved Question:

We need to sue our neighbours for slander. They have given false information to our local council and, as a result, we have been sent a letter from the Council for anti-social behaviour. This has all resulted from a problem with their dog keeping us awake at all hours of the night and various other problems of barking and howling during the day. Several visits were made by us to the neighbour to ask them to keep their dog quiet during the night to which they denied it was their dog. They have made 3 attempts to "blacken" our name and we need to protect ourselves and our reputation from any further malicious action of the neighbours. We are upstanding citizens in our community, own our own business, belong to Trading Standards, Which Trusted Traders, etc. It seems to be a coincidence that all of this is happening to us as a result of another call we had to make to the dog warden about their dog. Can you advise what recourse we may have? Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long has this been going on for?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. Thank you for your request for a phone call. I am unable to talk at the moment as I am in court today but if you provide the information requested, I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message after you have provided the information as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Over 18 months
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. I will get back to you at the earliest opportunity.

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Whilst this may appear to be a potential case of defamation (this includes libel if it is in written form, or slander if it is in oral form), such claims are 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.

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. 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.

You must also consider whether the party alleged of making the defamatory statement can defend the claim. Even if you 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.

There is of course nothing stopping you from contacting the other party and threatening them that what they have done amounts to defamation and that you will consider pursuing the matter further if they do not retract their statement. This could prompt them to reconsider their position, but I would not recommend that you actually proceed with a claim for defamation due to the issues highlighted above.