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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73814
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Looking for information on defamation of character, UK,

Customer Question

Hi, looking for information on defamation of character
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: UK
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: none
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No
Submitted: 7 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

Please explain your situation in some more detail

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Ok I posted an article on Facebook about a person who had been jailed. This was written by a newspaper and i shared it on Facebook then received nasty untrue comments saying things that are not true and unfounded!. I have been pulled in at work about the comments and on my social life. The worst being "that I like young girls". As I have worked for my local authority for 4 years with the most vulnerable children and work where there is access to important and confidential files regarding this matter also.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

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 rather difficult to pursue. Many people are keen on suing for defamation without having full appreciation of the law or practicalities of doing so. I will try and clarify the position below to give you a better understanding and cover some of these practicalities.

First of all, certain conditions must be met for the statement to be classified as defamatory. These are:

1. There has to be a defamatory statement - the assessment that is often used to establish this is whether the statement tends to lower the claimant in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally

2. Its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant – this will vary based on what effect it will have but it really has to be something sufficiently serious

3. The statement has been published by the defendant to a third party

4. The claimant must prove that the words complained of were published about them - this should not be an issue if the claimant is named or clearly identified.

Whilst it may be easy to prove that defamation has taken place, the legal process of pursuing such a claim is often complex and prohibitively expensive. A claim must be made in the High Court and will likely require the help of professional defamation lawyers, so the costs will often be high right from the outset, usually in the thousands. There is also no legal aid available for such claims so the complainant must fund these personally.

Instead of starting legal proceedings it would be best to contact the publisher of the comment, advise 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 and issue an apology. A solicitor can also be instructed to write such a letter, although here will be costs involved and it does not always make a huge difference. Either option could prompt the publisher to reconsider their position, which would avoid the need for court action. Of course, if they refuse to comply the option of suing still exists, but consider the above information before going down that route.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.