Defamation is the act of intentionally harming an individual or individuals by making false or egregious statements about them in writing (libel) or verbally (slander) which damages their reputation or livelihood.
To initiate a civil claim of libel or slander against another person or organization, it must be:
- A defamatory statement that was made to a third party
- The defamatory statement must be made about a specific person or organization
- The defamatory statement must be false and disparages the person or organization
Defamation is a highly nuanced practice area that requires an up-to-date knowledge of this rapidly evolving body of law. Our lawyers have extensive experience in litigating defamation matters in various contexts including personal, professional, business, and employment. We also have considerable experience in dealing with internet-based or online defamation. Defamation includes two elements:
When hearing a defamation case, a judge is inherently involved in a balancing act, weighing the plaintiff’s right to be free from damaging statements, and the defendant’s right to freedom of speech. To provide some protection to our freedom of speech, some defences to defamation have developed through the common law and legislation.
A defamation claim can be thwarted if the defendant can prove that the comments they made are, in fact, true. Otherwise, there are three primary defences a defendant can choose from if facing a civil claim of libel or slander: