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defamatory online review?

Re: defamatory online review?

Postby atticus » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:49 pm

No.

Words are defamatory if they tend to diminish the reputation of the person about whom they are said.

Saying Nigel is a shyster has that effect. It is defamatory. The truth of those words, if you can prove it, is a defence to a libel claim.
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Re: defamatory online review?

Postby atticus » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:52 pm

The limitation period for libel claims is indeed 12 months from publication (assuming law of England and Wales). Other things you have said also indicate a difficult claim.
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Re: defamatory online review?

Postby jeremy2017 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:41 am

Thanks atticus. As I said I did not use any defamatory remarks lke shyster about anyone in my review. It was a truthful account of my experience with a local company.
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Re: defamatory online review?

Postby atticus » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:05 am

However politely worded, the review as a whole may be defamatory, even if truthful.
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Re: defamatory online review?

Postby jeremy2017 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:33 am

Forgive me, but I don't understand this:
However politely worded, the review as a whole may be defamatory, even if truthful.


I thought "truth" was the best defense against defamation claims. Maybe I'm wrong?
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Re: defamatory online review?

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:54 am

A statement is defamatory if it damages the subject's reputation. This is the case regardless of whether or not the statement is true. It is a defence to any action arising from the defamatory statement that the statement is true.

If I were to say that atticus is a mass murderer, I would have defamed him, and no defence of truth would be open to me (because he is not, in fact, a mass murderer). If I were to say that Ratko Mladic is a mass murderer, I would have defamed him, but I could defend any action because it is true.

It may seem arcane but it is an important point. In a defamation action all the claimant needs to show is that the words in question are defamatory. This isn't usually difficult (although it has become more so now that he has to show that they are capable of causing serious harm). If the defendant wishes to rely on a defence of truth it is for him to prove that the words are true.
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Re: defamatory online review?

Postby atticus » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:08 am

Stoaty has eloquently explained what I have thrice tried to get across.
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Re: defamatory online review?

Postby jeremy2017 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:43 am

Ok, I get you. Perhaps I was already one step ahead. So, if the defamatory statement is in fact true, the complainant doesn’t have a leg to stand on, isn’t that right? A point I’ve been trying to get across.
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Re: defamatory online review?

Postby atticus » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:44 am

No, again.

It is for the defendant to prove his defence of "justification" (that the words used were justified, i.e. true). As stoaty and I have both said.
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Re: defamatory online review?

Postby jeremy2017 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:58 am

And what about the fact, that any action taken by the firm in regard of defamatory remarks can easily backfire on them if it turns out, they were true after all? Just a thought...
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