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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50202
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My partner recently started his own business and his old

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My partner recently started his own business and his old employer has been actively seeking out his clients to discourage them. He is offering up 'advice' which people have never asked for and trying to suggest that the business is not using official parts etc (it is a scuba diving service centre)
There are 2 main issues here. Firstly that what he is saying is not true as the business is using all.manufactures official parts and is fully ensured and by the the book. The second issue is his insistence in going out of his way to make contact with existing and potential clients to do this.
At what point does this become.slander? And is there anything we can do? Having spoken directly with him today he acknowledged what he is doing and openly admitted that intends to continue.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. Is there any evidence of what he has been saying, i.e. emails, letters, texts, or is it all done verbally?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has done this via messages on Facebook to the clients (unprofessiona I know)
I do not have a copy myself but 1 client showed these messages to my partner earlier this week. I am sure we can request these to be forwarded if needed.
The ex employer also verbally admitted to this today and that he will continue. I am not sure if there were other witnesses to that conversation yet but will check when mum my partner gets home.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Apologies for the random typo I am not great on a touch screen

Thank you. This could amount to defamation and/or malicious falsehood. Defamation in more difficult to pursue but both claims are similar and will in effect try to either stop the person from making such claims through an injunction or pursue them for compensation for damages incurred as a result of their actions.

As far as defamation is concerned, (this includes libel if it is in written form, or slander if it is in oral form), such claims are generally quite 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.

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.

Of course if nothing appears to stop them and they continue defaming you and you are suffering losses as a result, you may have to go to court eventually anyway but that is up to you.

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

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.

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