Defamation Law

Defamation is the publication of material that could injure someone’s reputation. Hall Payne has substantial experience in this highly specialised area of law, having acted for individuals and organisations to successfully prosecute and defend defamation claims.

We understand the importance of reputation in business, employment and private life, and we prioritise trying to resolve defamation matters before they reach court, saving you time and money, as well as the public airing of matters you may wish to remain private.

Defamation law provides a range of methods for vindicating your reputation (if you are defamed) or responding to a claim (if you are accused of defaming another party). If court is the right avenue for your matter, we will use our experience to secure you the best outcome.

What is defamation?

Defamation is the publication of material that could lead an ordinary, reasonable person to think less of you.

Defamatory matter can be published by any means of communication – spoken or written words, signs, social media posts, pictures or gestures. Defamation can take place anywhere.

Publication is the communication of the defamatory material to any other person, excluding the person whom it is alleged has been defamed. This may be private conversations, letters, radio, television, newspapers and anything online. This includes Facebook comments, article comments, Twitter and email.

What areas of defamation law does Hall Payne cover?

Our lawyers give practical advice that is tailored to the circumstances of each individual or organisation, with experience in all areas of defamation law. Whether you’ve been defamed or accused of defamation, we can help.

We regularly:

  • review the content of proposed publications;
  • respond to concerns notices regarding relevant defamation legislation;
  • commence and defend proceedings in district and supreme courts; and
  • advise on settlement terms including retractions, apologies and compensation.

Is this defamatory?

If you suspect something you have published, or plan to publish, is defamatory, you should seek legal advice immediately. Defamation is about reputational damage so it is important to act fast to prevent the publication of potentially damaging material.

What should I do if I’ve been defamed?

If you think a comment or publication may have damaged your reputation or has caused you loss, you could have a claim. Seeking expert legal advice will help you to make the right decision next.

Hall Payne understands how important reputation is and what’s needed to protect yours. We can help you settle a defamation claim on your terms, including negotiating a retraction, apology and compensation. We work discreetly to protect your reputation while getting the best possible outcome.

Can you defame someone by posting something on social media?

Yes. The rise of social media has seen a rise in defamation.

Even if a person is addressing their “friends”, or saying or writing something using a pseudonym, they are not immune to defaming another person.

If something defamatory is published on social media, it is actionable as if it had been published on the front page of a newspaper. The impact of the statement will be different, which will affect the appropriate remedy, but defamation law applies equally to online and print media.

What should I do if I’ve been accused of defamation?

If you’ve been accused of defamation or received a ‘Concerns Notice’ under the Defamation Act, seek expert legal advice immediately. This will help you understand the potential impact of the claim and what options you have.

Hall Payne is experienced in settling defamation matters before they reach court. This outcome saves you time and money defending a claim in court. If court is the right avenue for you, we will use our experience defending clients at District and Supreme Court levels to fight for the best outcome.

I think I’ve been defamed. How long to I have to do something about it?

You must commence court proceedings within one year from the date of publication. That said, the damage done by defamation is damage to your reputation and the effects that the defamation may have had on your business and your livelihood.

Hall Payne can assist you to prepare a Concerns Notice to try and resolve the matter without going to court or, if that fails, represent you in court proceedings.

It’s in your interests to act soon. We recommend seeking legal advice as soon as you can so you can discuss your options and get the best outcome as soon as possible.

Our Defamation Law Team

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