How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49786
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

In my role I have had a complaint made against me. Following

This answer was rated:

In my role I have had a complaint made against me. Following our Complaints Policy, this complaint has been fully investigated by my employer and this has involved consultation with external agencies - I have been found to have followed our protocol and policies to the letter and therefore the complainant has been written to to say that the complaint has not been upheld. The complainant has decided that this is not ok and is taking the complaint to the next level according to our Complaints Policy. In doing so, the complainant has emailed the governors who will be attending the panel hearing at the next level to say that I 'knowingly broke the law' in this case, and has produced a document which she says is legal proof. All those involved agree that no such document existed and that she has created it out of thin air. Can I successfully accuse this person of slander in that all agencies involved agree that no document existed, and that she is damaging my professional reputation by continuing to pursue this complaint in which she is claiming I knowingly broke the law?

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

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Ben, my name is ***** ***** you had a chance to read my complaint or would you like me to go into the details?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, happy to wait for email reply, not sure how this works. Sian

Is this person a colleague? Also, please can you tell me whether you have attempted to resolve the matter with this person, outside of the official complaints procedure, via a mediator or similar?

No problem Sian. I am unable to speak at the moment though.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am the Safeguarding Lead at a secondary school where I am also Deputy Headteacher. The complainant is the mother of a boy who attended our school until Nov 2015. I referred the mother to Social Care for emotional abuse after a series of disclosures by her son to our school counsellor. The boy later moved to Sweden to live with his father, which he very much wanted to do and he clearly stated he could not bear to live with her any more. She was accused of drunken behaviour, showing him inappriopriate images etc. He and his father came to the UK in mid Nov for a Child Protection conference. This could not go ahead because of the mother's emotional state. The son was in such distress that a Social Worker suggested be be taken to a cafe whilst the parents discussed next moves. He was asked who he would like to go with and suggested me. I took him for a drink and awaited a call from Social Workers to bring him back to council offices. 10 mins later his father arrived at the cafe and said they could go back to Sweden, which they did. The mother is saying that there was a document that she had signed with a friend witnessing it, to prevent him returning. No-one - the Chair of the CP conference, the social workers or the father saw any such document. She contacted my school in Apr 2016 to accuse me of being 'implicit ' in her son's abduction to Sweden and that 'I must be held accountable for my actions'. At Christmas she persuaded her son to return to the UK and he is now saying that he exaggerrated his claims. Help!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The phrase I really object to, and which I believe to be slander, is that I 'knowingly broke the law in handing over her son to his father and allowing him to be abducted'.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you in a short while. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your questions to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Many thanks for your patience. I am not sure whether you simply wish to inform the complainant that their behaviour amounts to defamation or take legal action against them, but I will discuss your overall legal position below so you have a better understanding of it.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.I don’t think you will necessarily struggle to show that her complaint was defamatory, however 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.I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

My full response should be visible on this page. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question or whether you need me to clarify anything else in relation to this? If your query has been answered I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating, selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you