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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49787
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I wish to seek advice on libel, I have been a victim of

Customer Question

Hi I wish to seek advice on libel
JA: Thank you. Can you provide any more details to help us find you the right Expert?
Customer: I have been a victim of Libel and malicious communication by The Chairwomen of a lottery funded voluntary group I was a member of until September 2016.This individual sent an email with untruths in to myself and CC'd other parties stating that complaints had been made against me by Local Councils. This was after I had asked for my concerns about the behaviour and operation of the group to be discussed.On contacting the said complaining Local councils, it turns out no complaints were ever made against me.This malicious Libel behaviour has affected other members to shun me, it has affected my health, well-being and relationship with Local people.
I was voted out of the group by The Chair women, her husband and close friends.I have complained to The Big Local Trust and The National Lottery whom oversee this group and fund it, and they appear to be satisfied that I have no complaint against the behaviour of the Chairwomen.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. What are you hoping to achieve please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi I want an apology and I want to become involved with the project again, and for this individual to be removed. This individual sent the malicious libel communication and then got me voted out. This individual has bullied three people out prior to myself. Theoretically The overseeing body is not sticking to its own rules and she has brought the Community Group into disrepute and should be removed.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

The issue here is that you cannot force the organisations to make any changes or to resolve this in the way you hope. This is a decision only they can take. Whether the position you are in now was as a result of libel or untruths, you cannot force them to make the changes you require or for an apology to be issued. I will explain how libel law works below.

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. The outcome can only be compensation for damages suffered, either accrual losses, or in more limited circumstances – damages to reputation. No apology can be forced.

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 realistically a legal claim for defamation is unlikely to get you the outcome you were hoping for.

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

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would rather someone official wrote to the other party and advised them that what they have done amounts to defamation and that I may consider pursuing the matter further if they do not retract their statement. How could I go about this?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Do you mean a solicitor?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
a Solicitor, advising them that what they have done amounts to liable/defamation and that I may consider pursuing the matter further if they do not retract their statement. How could I go about this?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

You would need to approach a solicitor in person and they have to be willing to do this for you. There is no right or wrong way to do this really, it is best if you approach solicitors yourself and ask them if they are prepared to assist you in this way. You can start with High St solicitors near you and move on to more specialist ones dealing with defamation. You can use the Law Society's website to search for lawyers in general if you wanted to. Hope this helps?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, what would I approach them with? Would you do this?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

We cannot do anything outside of this site unfortunately we are only a Q&A service where we discuss our rights and tell you what your legal position is but anything further is down to you. So you would have to approach these solicitors yourself, especially as you would be their client. You simply need to ask them if they are able to send a letter in relation to defamation and then explain your situation

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.