What is defamation?

Published 05 Jul 2019

Word of mouth is a powerful tool in the business world and can make or break a reputation. Here, we break down the ins and outs of defamation.

What is defamation?

Defamation is when something is written or shared about another party or business that isn't substantiated, with detrimental effects to reputation.

In New South Wales, defamation used to split into two categories: libel and slander. Slander was said to occur when a person is defamed orally, either face-to-face or on a recording, such as radio or television. Libel, on the other hand, was defamation in written form. Now, there are general defamation laws, governed under the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW).

In today's age of social media and instant sharing, libel is seen all over the internet in varying levels of severity, from gross accusations to direct tweets shaming a business.

How can I lodge a claim for defamation?

In order to bring a claim forward for defamation, you'll need to detail exactly what part of the written piece or oral communication was defamatory or false, with evidence that the statement was incorrect or malicious. For a successful defamation claim, it needs to be proven that:

  • The party in question had shared their statement with outside people, either in person, through newspapers or other mediums, or over the internet.
  • The statement referred to you or your business, either directly or through pieces that insinuate a likeness to your character.
  • The statement was negative, with the potential to harm your reputation either professionally or personally.

Those defending themselves from a claim of defamation often tout free speech as the reason behind their statement, however, this is only applicable when making statements pertaining to the government.

If you or your business have been the victim of defamation, the team at Malouf Solicitors are determined to help you get your case up and running for a favourable outcome.

With comprehensive knowledge in the world of commercial law, our expert lawyers vigorously defend all our clients, guiding you through the legal process quickly and timely. For more information, get in touch with our team.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

I remain extremely grateful for Maloufs legal representation related to my financial management of the estate of my brother and for your continuing help and advice in this matter. As an aside, I always recommend Maloufs to my friends and family members who are seeking the best legal representation - only last week, I strongly advised a close family friend that their best interests would be served by arranging an appointment at your Parramatta offices.
John of Parramatta NSW

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