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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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If I say something to a friend in a facebook private message

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If I say something to a friend in a facebook private message about someone else, and the information is true, can the someone else sue me for libel. For example if I say to Miss "A" that Mr "B" was dismissed from their job for failing to disclose material facts in their original application that resulted in their positon being terminated because it would mean they failed to fulfil their industry regulators (financial services) definition of fit and proper . Can Mr "B" sue me? (The material facts not disclosed when he joined the firm were substantial loans with no repayment plan in place from elderly vulnerable clients to him as their adviser).
My understanding is that it is only Libel if untrue. I should add there is no uncertainty/dispute as to the existence of the loans, or the reason that he was dismissed and cannot therefore be claimed as being untrue.
My name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. In order for Mr B to successfully sue, he would have to show that: If Mr B can establish those elements he may have grounds to make a claim - but as you have rightly identified, a defence to the claim would be that the message is substantially true or that it was an honest opinion. The allegations have been published to one or more personsThe allegations refer to Mr B - either that he is named, pictured or are identifiable in some other wayThat the words tend to lower Mr B in the eyes of right thinking members of society.That the publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to Mr B's reputation.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, thanks for the reply, are you saying that even though the details are true and verifiable, that he could still make a claim? The message was to one individual, and not a public message. Sure if true then how can he have any claim.
I can see where you're coming from - but just because you have a defence doesn't stop another person from suing. If you call me names I can still take you to court even if the Judge decides against me in the end. There is nothing to stop a person taking a case to court. But from what you've described Mr B is unlikely to succeed in any kind of claim so he might not bother wasting time and money ( there is no legal aid for this and a libel claim will easily cost upwards of £5,000).
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ah right I understand he can sue, but as I understand things given that the information in the conversation was factually true he would most probably fail in the action. Presumably if he did decide to sue his representation should have a duty advise him as to the likelihood of loosing. or would they take the case as they get paid even if he looses?
Correct - a lawyer would be failing in his duty if he didn't advise on the pros and cons of a case. If it was obvious to a lawyer that Mr B didn't have a claim it would be his duty to say so - you can't advise someone to sue when there no grounds to do so; that would be negligent.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Alice that's great, many thanks for your assistance, hopefully nothing will come of it.
It's not a claim I would pursue, if what you say is true about Mr B. Please do take a moment to rate my answer so that I am paid for my time. I really appreciate your business. Thank you.
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