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Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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A book has been written that mentions my deceased father by

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A book has been written that mentions my deceased father by name in a defamatory manner and I as his only child was not asked for permission to publish my father's name in this manner. Do I have any legal recourse as my family name, and my father's memory is now being ridiculed?

Hi thanks for your question, I will assist you with this.

Can you please advise what the book is about - fact or fiction?

Where has the book been published?

Are there any disclaimers in the book? If so, what do they say?

What is actually said about your father and is any of this true?

Has anything that has been said, directly affect or refer to you or any other members of your fathers immediate family?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I do not yet have a copy of the book but I have been informed of the following nby relatives;

The book is fact and is called "My Story: for the Record"

Doesn't say where but it's on sale generally

No disclaimers as such apart from saying there are three sides to every side..your side and the truth and is truth is reality

Describes my father as an alcoholic but its how its said...basically calling him a liar and Father Marron, the author, is twisting the truth

No names mentioned re other family.

I am looking to get a copy to see why other members of my family, particularly my father's sister, are so annoyed and distraught about the content. My aunt, who is not a well woman, has been stopped by others and had this brought to her attention, her brother being described as a down and out drunk, even though he was a principal teacher, and this has caused her a lot of upset. I myself have not been approached by anyone outside the family about it yet, but I now live and work away form the hometown. My main issue is with the lies that Father Marron says about my father, and the fact that my family name is ***** ***** through the mud with very little basis in fact. If I, as the sole direct progeny of my father, had been apprioached about using my father's name I would have refused as I find what has been read to me is defamatory to my fathers good name. When I get an actual copy I will be in a better position to answer your questions, hopefully within the next day or so if I can find a bookstore in Belfast that carries puerile books, but at the minute I am just wondering if there is an issue I can pursue here, I am more interested in a public apology and retraction at the minute.

Hi Cathal
Sorry for the delay in responding.
In terms of a libel or defamation case, I have to say it is a pretty difficult action to bring under the circumstances you describe.
An attempt was made to insert a clause allowing libel actions by relatives of the dead in the Defamation Act 2013 but this was defeated. Whilst the new legislation was brought into England and Wales, Northern Ireland Assembly refused to consent to the new act therefore the old UK legislation still applies (which also does not allow libel actions on behalf of the dead).
Thus, the general position is that one cannot defame the dead. Even if the defamation arose before a persons death the right of action ceased in the event of their death before a judgement was made. The rule comes about as action is based upon defending ones reputation and when one dies, the "reputation" per se is no longer capable of being defended.
Therefore under current UK/national legislation there is no cause of action.
However, the European Court of Human Rights has examined this issue several times and considers there may be a right to redress under Article 8 which protects the rights to a private and family life. The issue to be determined is whether the book sufficiently identifies you and your father.
This is a long and expensive route to take of course and you state you are more interested in a public apology. In this instance, therefore, I would recommend you write to the publishers (or have a lawyer do this - it is quite a complicated area) to demand an apology and retraction - quote Article 8 of the EC Human Rights Act and the fact that the European Court of Human Rights has confirmed their is a right of action for relatives of deceased family members who have been defamed to take and advise if this is not forthcoming legal steps will be taken.
I hope this assists.
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