The law protects people against defamatory comments made against them.

If someone has made a comment about you that is untrue and potentially damages your reputation and that comment has been made to a third party, in writing or verbally, then potentially you have the basis of a defamation claim. If someone has published something about you, you do not have to show you have suffered loss or damage as a result but if someone has said something about you that is defamatory then the general rule is that you must prove actual damage in order to be successful.

It is a mistaken belief that a statement or words that amount to an insult or is abusive is defamatory and in legal terms whilst not very pleasant this is not the basis of a defamation claim, although could amount to harassment, which is a separate issue upon which we can advise. There is no actual definition of defamation although it has been said to include statements that lowers someone in the estimation of others or causes him to be shunned, avoided, hated or ridiculed.

Should you find yourself in this unfortunate position it is essential to seek advice quickly. It could be that a retraction or written apology is able to resolve matters, or we can advise you on issuing proceedings should it prove necessary.