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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71031
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Someone who I thought was my friend has written to the Nursing

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Someone who I thought was my friend has written to the Nursing and Midwifery Council to say I am unfit to practice in my job as a nurse.
She has written many untruthful comments and many things that she thought has happened which are incorrect.
My employers are very supportive of me and I am still working- they have said that they trust me and have faith in me. The report sent to the NMC is not about anything related to my place of work or about me working as a nurse. I am awaiting a response from the NMC and the Medical defence Union are aware, they have advised me not to write any defence but to wait and see what - if anything the NMC are concerned about in the report.
This may not come to anything but my name has been tarnished by the untruths written and read by the NMC and my employers.
What do you advise please?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking if you can sue?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, I am.

These comments may be defamatory. Defamation takes two forms. One is slander which covers the spoken word. The other is libel which covers the written.
You have to prove that the words are defamatory, that they would be understood to refer to you and that they have been published to a 3rd party.
Comments made directly to a person about themselves are not published and so cannot be defamatory however bad or untrue they are. If such contact were to continue it might amount to harassment.
Under the new law there is a definition of defamation which you will find here
and it needs to be such as to cause 'serious harm'. That obviously depends on the nature of the claims.
An opinion, however, is not generally defamatory. People are entitled to an opinion under the human rights act and, indeed, under the common law generally. However, a person cannot hide behind the argument that a defamatory comment is just an opinion. For instance, if the person were to say “in my opinion, X is a liar with 15 convictions for theft" then that would be defamatory unless it were true. The opinion must be fair with some basis for it. It must be shown that it was a reasonable comments in all the circumstances.
Similarly, foul abuse is not defamatory although there might be other actions open to an aggrieved person.
Truth is a defence to defamation. The defendant would have to prove that it was the truth and that is reasonably hard to do so this defence is not often relied upon.
The real difficulty with defamation actions though is that they are very expensive. Unfortunately they are the domain of the very rich. That is not to say that you couldn't send a letter from a local solicitor for reasonable cost warning this person of the laws of libel and slander.
Also, you may want to consider other alternatives. This may amount to harassment which you can report to the police or sue at the civil courts much more economically. It might also be a malicious communication and you can report that to the police.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any more information.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you.

No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.