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Defamation

What is Defamation

Defamation is the publication or broadcast of a false statement, which lowers the reputation of a person or a company in the eyes of right thinking members of society. 

Defamation may be a highly critical comment posted online, or a slanderous newspaper publication. 

Defamation can arise in many ways, through the spoken word, including broadcast media such as TV and radio, through the publication online, in the press or a magazine article. 

We have also noticed that in the modern era of communication, Defamation is becoming increasingly common through electronic media such as blogs, internet articles and Social Media.

Right to Your Good Name

The right to your good name is protected under the constitution in Ireland and also by the introduction and provisions in the Defamation Act 2009. 

The value of your reputation cannot be overstated, as a damaged reputation may cause difficulties that can seriously affect your working life,  your business reputation and, indeed, your personal life. 

 A reputation often takes many years to build, but can be destroyed in moments by careless or inaccurate communication, publication or reporting.

How to Claim Damages in Ireland

Making a claim for Defamation damages in Ireland can be a complex process but we in Hussey Fraser Solicitors can make it straightforward.

The first step is to make sure you receive the best possible legal advice about whether you have a valid claim for Defamation compensation, and the best way to pursue your claim.

We have expertise in all areas of Defamation compensation law in Ireland, and offer an advice line to call in confidence and without obligation.

Please consider these vital requirements prior to contacting us:

  • A Defamation case can be complex and you should first consider if the person (Business or Company) who has made the statement against you, has the financial means to pay any award for damages and costs in the event your action is successful.

  • To take a Defamation case you must know precisely what has been said or published about you. You should ensure that you have the exact content of the alleged Defamation available in order for us to ascertain if you have a stateable case. It is advisable to retain copies of the publication for our review. 

  • The publication of any remarks about you should have been relatively widespread. For example, if a derogatory comment was made directly to you and possibly overheard by a couple of people this will not usually be sufficient grounds for Defamation. The wider the publication and greater volume of people that may have been exposed to the publication the greater the likelihood that you will succeed in a claim for Defamation compensation.

  • You cannot pursue a case for Defamation if the remarks made about you are largely true. For example, if you were publicly accused of being involved in criminal activity but do, in fact, have previous criminal convictions, then you probably would not have a stateable case.

Examples of Defamation Cases 

Please see below a number of examples of the type of Defamation cases taken in Ireland in recent years:

  • Sexual Defamation: Accusations of alleged sexual activity made against you by a third party.
  • Allegation of Cheating in Sport: Wrongly accused of cheating in a dog/horse race or alleged doping.
  • Accusation of committing a Crime: Incorrectly accused of a serious crime. 
  • Accused of involvement in illegal activity (the Sale of Drugs): Mistaken by a third party as being involved in drug trafficking. 

Defamation on Social Media in Ireland

If your character has unjustifiably been attacked on Social Media through the medium of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn, for example, you have the right under the Defamation Act 2009 to take legal action to defend your reputation and to recover damages.

Ahead of making claims for Defamation on social media in Ireland, there has to be physical evidence that your character was defamed. If you have only heard from a friend or colleague that somebody posted, tweeted or published defamatory comments about you, and you have no evidence to support a claim for Defamation on social media, any legal action you initiate is unlikely to be successful.

Furthermore, in order to successfully make a claim for Defamation on social media, it has to be shown that you, your family or your Company or Business has suffered an adverse effect as the result of the Defamatory comment, post or publication. If, for example, a Social Media post attacking your character was deleted soon after being posted, then its exposure would have been minimal and there may not have been a sufficiently severe adverse effect to warrant taking legal action.

It is also important to restate that you must evaluate whether the party you are thinking of taking legal action against, has the resources to pay any award of compensation made in your favour. 

In other words, if the party found guilty of attacking your character on Social Media has insufficient funds to pay an award of compensation for Defamation on Social Media, you may succeed in a legal action, but potentially you will not receive any compensation as the Defendant has no means to pay your damages.

Why choose Hussey Fraser Solicitors?

Hussey Fraser Solicitors is a highly experienced Law Firm that has successfully brought and defended many Defamation cases in the Circuit Court and High Court.

We also have experience in Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a tool to assist in Defamation cases. We will explore all avenues in an attempt to amicably conclude a case for Defamation without the necessity of initiating Court Proceedings. Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution can be a beneficial option as it has the considerable advantage of keeping the matter out of the public domain. 

Time is of the essence in respect of Defamation actions in Ireland with tight timelines imposed for bringing an action, therefore, it is best to seek legal advice as soon as practicably possible. 

Here at Hussey Fraser Solicitors we endeavour to take swift action against the offending party so as to alleviate or mitigate the damage to our clients and would be happy to help advise you

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