Defamation, reputational damage and media law

In today’s high-speed digital age, a business’s hard won reputation and brand can be damaged by social media posts and other online activity.

A complex area of law, defamation is defined as an untrue statement that leads members of society to think less of you.

In the corporate environment, defamation may occur, for example, when a disgruntled customer or competitor publishes exaggerated and distorted criticism of your business.

If you believe you have been a victim of defamation, you may be able to take action to prevent any further defamatory comments, and remove any permanent record of the offending criticism. It may also be possible to make a claim to compensate you for any damage caused to your business reputation and recoup any financial losses.

In order to bring legal action for defamation, you need to show that the damaging comments:

  • Are untrue
  • Identify or refer to you and
  • Have been published by the defendant to a third party

Any action for defamation must be brought against a ‘publisher’. The definition of publisher is interpreted very widely to mean anyone who participated in the publication of the defamatory statement.

The Defamation Act 2013 introduced a series of reforms to this area of law to giving better protection to people expressing their opinions in England and Wales. With strict time limits in place, whether you are bringing or defending a claim for defamation it is important to obtain specialist advice quickly.

At Linder Myers, we can help prevent the publication of defamatory material and, where already published, obtain a retraction or an apology and seek consequential losses. We can also provide pre-publication advice on the wording and content of material where there is a risk of reputational damage.

Our lawyers have acted in a number of high-profile defamation claims, including for sporting and business figures and have defended claims on behalf of blue chip companies.

With strict time limits in place for bringing action for defamation, contact our specialist team to see how we can help.