Defamation

Defamation is a false statement presented as fact that causes injury or damage to the character of the person or organisation it is about. There are two types of defamations, Libel and Slander. Libel is referred to as written form of defamation, while slander is spoken form of defamation.

Defamation Claim

There are a number of reasons why a person’s reputation is very important, and every individual has a right to protect their good name. And this right to each individual is protected by Irish Defamation Law.

A person’s reputation can be negatively affected if someone publicises their opinions in such a way that it comes across as a defamatory statement violating their right to freedom of speech or freedom of expression.

Statute of Time Frame Limitations

Am I too late to bring a claim?

You must file for your defamation claim in the time frame respective to your case. According to the defamation Act 2009, the time frame for filing for defamation claim is 1 year.
Therefore you must bring defamation proceedings forward for legal advise within the given time frame.

The grounds for proving Defamation

Has there been actual damage to your reputation?

Due to the right of freedom of speech in Ireland, if a person claims that a statement about them is defamatory in nature, the person making the claim must know how to prove it.
Furthermore, it is important to understand how a defendant should defend a case. The best way to approach this situation is to seek out legal advice from a defamation solicitor on how to go about making a claim.

If you would like to learn more about our services, call us now on +353 (0)1 264 555 to speak to a member of our team.

Slander

On the other hand, slander refers to situations where a defamatory statement negatively impacts a person’s reputation is spoken as opposed to being published. Important note for the defamed person is that according to the Defamation Act 2009, has been redefined and combined into one term as ‘tort of defamation’ instead of referring them to as libel and slander.

According to the Defamation Act 2009, a defamatory statement can be written or spoken as follows:

a defamatory statement is read or heard and written or spoken by a third party
a false statement is made about someone
a statement that is explicitly directed towards a specific person is implied, refers/relates and is defamatory in nature in any way.

Libel

The term libel refers to situations in which someone’s reputation is adversely affected by statements made online or offline. These situations can include types of publications like television, radio and internet.

Difference Between Slander and Defamation

If you are wondering what is the difference between slander and defamation, defamation occurs when someone’s reputation is damaged by a comment, statement, or publication. To further elaborate there are two common types libel and slander as explained above.

Defamation – Internet/Online

Social Media thrives on public opinions. Interestingly, the more controversial the topic is , the more people would want to get involved and give their opinions.

You can broadcast your opinions on social media easily, but are your opinions and statements defamatory in nature if you are facing a defamation lawsuit? Think before you post anything on social media, because you might be damaging someone’s reputation.

Internet defamation cases that we are highly experienced in:

  • Defamed by a Media Organisation – Media organisations can be prosecuted if they publish defamatory statements against you on social media and promote them through these sites.

How can I make a defamation Claim in Ireland?

Contact a Defamation Solicitor

It is advisable to document the defamatory event or statement and record the details:

  • Make sure you iron out the history details of the event
  • Recording any publication relating to defamatory incident or statement made
  • It is recommended to take witness into account relating to the event
  • Where possible, source or take CCTV footage or video that might help full proof your case

Defamation Case Settlement

Types of Defamation Case Settlement

The compensation estimate for your case is difficult without consulting a defamation solicitor in Dublin or Ireland. The damages for defamation awarded may vary case to case basis.

General Damages – An individual may be entitled to non-financial damages as a result of defamatory statement or opinion like pain, suffering and emotional trauma.

Special Damages – Can result in an out-of-pocket expense. For example you could lose your earnings or potential earnings (if you are out of work).

Punitive Damages – Compensation can be claimed if the offender’s intent is to go public with the defamatory statement. If the offenders have done this in a reckless manner knowing well that it is a false statement.

Aggravated Damages – Is when an offender have aggravated injury to the defamed person. For example, when the person is humiliated or maltreated as a result.

Defamation of Character

What is defamation of character?

The person making the claim must be able to prove that the statement is defamatory and also prove defamation of character by:

 

  • Defamatory statement made against the person was false
  • The statement was heard/read by a third party when it was published or spoken. The reason being that if nobody hears or reads the statement then the person’s reputation is not getting damaged. Similarly if the statement was heard or read by one person it is to assume that other parties too will come to hear about it.
  • Meaning of the statement and the language used can have a negative affect on an individual’s reputation.
  • Individual can be identified or recognized by reading or hearing the statement. The reputation of the victim may be negatively impacted if they are clearly mentioned in the defamatory statement.

Defenses to Defamation Claim

Person who is filing for a defamation claim, it is important for them to know how their claim can be defended against by the person who it was filed against. There are particular ways set out by Defamation Act 2009, in which a claim can be defended against by a person, includes the following:

  • Truth – If a person can prove that the statement made is true, then no claim can be made.
  • Absolute Privilege – An immunity order may be granted to the person, if the High Court decides that the third party who read or heard the statement had a right to know.
  • Qualified Privilege – There are cases when a High Court may decide that the statement made or the person who made the statement had a moral, social, or legal duty to publish or announce it. It may also be deemed that the third party that read or heard the statement also had a moral, social, or legal duty to that information.
  • Honest Opinion –  The court believes that the statement made was an honest, genuine opinion by the publisher, and not a false statement of fact, it may not award compensation.

Our litigation team is here to help you no matter where in Ireland you’re based.

With offices in Dublin and Letterkenny, and associates around the country, we’re perfectly positioned to help you whether you live in Dublin, Galway, Cork or Donegal or anywhere in between.

Daireann Gibson

Amanda Walsh

Niall McMonagle

Sinead Shaw

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Litigation Services FAQs

What is the most common defense to a defamation claim?

The best defense against a defamation case (really against most things) is the truth. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation – if your statement was true, it cannot be the grounds for a successful defamation claim against you.

How to make a defamation complaint

A lawsuit can be filed if you believe someone has made a defamatory statement about you. Defamation hearings in the High Court are sometimes held with a jury. You must generally make a claim within one year of the defamatory statement being issued.

Who bears the burden of proof in a defamation case?

The burden in question here can also be characterised as the “presumption of falsity” burden – that is, a defamatory imputation is presumed to be false and the burden of showing that it is substantially true is upon the defendant.

What is the law for defamation in Ireland?

You can take legal action against a person or corporation who makes a ‘defamatory statement’ to another person.

A defamatory statement is a statement that reasonable members of society would think damages your reputation. A statement is not defamatory if it is true or substantially true. Formore information visit the citizen information pageon defamation.

Since the Defamation Act 2009, ‘defamation’ has replaced both ‘slander’ and ‘libel’.

Why Choose Gibson & Associates LLP?

We are one of Ireland’s leading law firms dedicated to using our years of experience to make sure that you benefit from the best possible outcome. We will be by your side throughout the process applying for Irish citizenship , using clear, plain language to explain your options and the next steps you should take.

You and your circumstances are unique – your solicitor should be too. You will be assigned a dedicated point of contact who will take charge of your case from start to finish – this person will never change.

Our solicitors put their clients at the heart of everything they do and work tirelessly to get you the best results. We treat clients the way we would like to be treated – for us, ‘good enough’ just isn’t good enough! Call us now on +353 (0)1 264 5555.