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Many people know what defamation is in the court of public opinion. However, there are very specific elements that need to be satisfied before a claim for defamation can succeed.
There are now uniform defamation laws across Australia. In Queensland, the relevant provisions are found in the Defamation Act 2005 (Qld).
To establish defamation, the following must be satisfied:
- The information was communicated to a third person;
- The material identifies the complainant; and
- The information and/or material is defamatory.
The most common problem for any defamation claim is trying to determine whether the material is defamatory. Typically, such a question is answered by examining how a reasonable person would view the publication. It becomes a lot more difficult when you ask the reasonable person to “read between the lines” to determine the defamatory meaning of certain communications.
Potential complainants also need to be aware of standing issues; that is, does the law allow them to bring an action for defamation. They should also be aware of possible statutory defences, including justification, contextual truth, absolute privilege, qualified privilege, publication of public documents, fair report of proceedings of public concern, honest opinion, innocent dissemination and triviality.
When bringing an action for defamation, it is important to seek advice from an experienced law firm with expertise in this area to ensure that you do make mistakes that could affect your prospects of success.
Stone Group Lawyers are experts in defamation cases and can provide you with ongoing advice on both litigious and non-litigious ways in which to deal with communications that may be defamatory.
Specifically, Stone Group Lawyers will provide you with advice on:
- Resolving any dispute non-litigiously by way of a Concerns Notice;
- Drafting relevant court documents should the matter need to be determined by a court (acting for both Plaintiffs and Defendants); and
- Taking practical steps to ensure that defamatory material is taken out of the public domain to prevent further damage to your reputation.
Please contact Stone Group Lawyers today on (07) 5635 0180 to arrange a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your defamation matter.