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.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 75915
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
29905560
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

Defamation law is something I want to speak bout, London,

Customer Question

defamation law is something I want to speak bout
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: What steps have you 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: I have been a victim of false allegations
Submitted: 6 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 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 6 days ago.

What has been said and by whom? Please explain your situation in some more detail

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Hello Ben
A tenant of mine has gone to the council to make some serious and false allegations about me
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I gave him a simple one month notice to leave on expiry of 6 months. He instead went to the council to say he is being forcefully evicted, being harassed and I have entered his room forcefully - all false allegations
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Council wrote me a very stern letter without even contacting me for my side of story. I have responded to the council, not heard back from them but am seriously troubled by false allegations as they damage my standing with the council
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
It has all the 4 elements of defamation and I want to a legal letter sent to the tenant to retract from what he said and issue and apology. If he does not, we file a court case for damages etc
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Is that something you could help with
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 days ago.

I understand. We do not do drafting on here but if you prepare a letter yourself I can have a look at it for you and make any necessary changes. Just be advised though, there may be a extra charge depending on how much work is needed because the initial fee only covers basic chat advice so anything more will be treated as a premium service and I will advise you in advance of the charges.

If not, I am still here to deal with your original query in writing over this chat.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 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 this situation and any associated issues.

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.

You must also consider whether the publisher of the statement can potentially defend the claim. For example, this can happen by proving the statement was true or an honest opinion which could have been made based on the available facts.

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.

As we are just an online chat service, we cannot send a letter on your behalf and you must find a lawyer, maybe someone locally, who would be prepared to do so for a fee.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 days ago.

I trust that everything has now been dealt with to your satisfaction and your original question has been resolved. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.