One of the fundamental principles about rights and freedoms is that each individual is entitled to enjoy their individual rights and freedoms but in doing so, they must not infringe on those of others. This is the fundamental principle in which the law of defamation is based on. The existence of this law essentially means that there is a very thin line between defamation and free speech.
Just to take a step back, defamation can be defined as issuing a statement that is likely to hurt a person’s reputation. In the event the statement is verbal then it will be referred to as slander and if it’s written and published then it’s referred to as libel.
In this article we’ll look at 4 things you need to know about defamation cases.
1 It helps if there is a record of the statement
It’s generally very difficult to prove slander because there will often not be a record of the verbal statement especially in the absence of witnesses. Therefore, for a person to successfully litigate such a case, they will need to have proof that the statement was made therefore they need some sort of record of the statement.
2 Proof of publication in such cases requires a very low standard
When it comes to cases involving defamation, the standards for providing proof of publication are usually quite low in that as long as the aggrieved party can provide evidence that the statement was made in any medium be it on TV, social media or even written on a door, and there’s a witness who can corroborate, then it’s enough proof.
3 Proof that the statement is false must be provided
One of the key things in successfully litigating a defamation case is that the aggrieved party must be able to provide proof that the statement made was false. This is because in such cases it doesn’t really matter what harm a statement causes as long as it’s true. It only becomes defamation if you can prove the statement was false.
4 Proof of injury must be provided
In order for the aggrieved party to be able to have success in litigating a case involving defamation, they must be able to provide proof that the statement made resulted in injury. This essentially means that any negative effect that the aggrieved party is going through such as loss of income or damaged reputation will need to be directly linked to the statement.
It’s always important to also note that when it comes to defamation cases, it can be very difficult to determine what the aggrieved party is owed in terms of injury costs therefore you should always be prepared for very unpredictable outcomes.