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plclegal, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8566
Experience:  Barrister at law
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I have been in my current relationship for almost 2 years

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Hi, I have been in my current relationship for almost 2 years during which time my partners ex wife has become increasingly more volatile. My partner decided to go through the courts to have an order put in place to prevent his ex wife from stopping him from seeing his children and using them as weapons, the ex wife has been using this against him because he has moved on and she hates it. Just recently a report was done for the courts where she has lied about everything. My issue is she has made an accusation that I am picking her 8 year old daughters clothing and sexualising her. I want to persue slander/defamation of character but I'm not sure where I stand, it's in black and white that she's made this accusation but I am aware she is also telling people this is the case therefore damaging my reputation and creating a very upsetting situation. What can I do please?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Weymouth, Dorset
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None as yet
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: There is a history of disturbing behaviour that is indicative of severe narsisism, she is also a regular cocaine user and a heavy drinker.

Good morning.

My name is ***** ***** I specialise in family law. I’m happy to assist you today and I appreciate that is is important that you find a resolution as soon as possible.

Please note that our discussions on this site are for general information purposes and do not create an lawyer-client relationship. It is always recommended that you consult with a local solicitor for specific legal information.

I'll do my best to resolve this for you, please give me time to review your question and I will revert back to you shortly.

Please bear in mind though that this is an email service and not live chat and therefore I may not respond immediately.

Thanks for your patience.

Libel and slander are both forms of defamation.

Many people are keen on suing for defamation without having full appreciation of the law or practicalities in doing so. I will try and clarify the position below.

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 him - 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.

In your case, the fact that this statement is made within the context of family law proceedings to Cafcass (a professional body) also causes difficulty. Family law proceedings are private proceedings, they are not conducted in the public sphere. In the context of family law cases, there is normally one party saying untrue things about another - it is the nature of the area of law. These comments weren't therefore in the public sphere and it is going to be nigh impossible to prove any reputational damage that could lead to a successful claim on the basis of information used in the context of court proceedings.

However, information shared publicly is another matter.

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. This could prompt them 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.

I trust that this assists?

I didn't hear from you, but I trust that the information provided was of assistance.

Thank you for your enquiry today. I am happy to answer follow-up questions - please do get in touch with requests for extra information or further queries and I will do my best to help you.

plclegal and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 18 days ago.

Hi, thank you very much for your response, while it is frustrating I did have an understanding that as this has been said on a caffcass interview that it probably couldn't be used. This is such a horrible situation as I am not seeking financial gain from this incident, I just want to have the accusation retracted and for the person responsible to be hald accountable for the damaging actions.

I believe there may be some evidence of these accusations in emails/texts that have gone between my partner and his ex wife.... Are these permitted as evidence if I were to persue the complaint? I'm so upset as I have been persecuted by the ex wife, the ex mother in law and several people that are known to both myself and her. I feel humiliated and angry that the protection for this is so difficult to obtain. Really appreciate your helping me with this.

Thank you.

I happy to assist, of course. It is such an unpleasant situation, I appreciate that.

Emails and texts between your partner and the ex wife could be used if you did pursue it, but none of these are in the public domain so they are not examples of defamation per se.

I trust that clarifies the position.

Thanks again for your questions today.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.

Thank you very much for your help,

My pleasure.