Defamation Criteria

Defamation Criteria

What is Defamation? - Defamation damages a person’s reputation.

2 Forms:

Libel (Permanent Form) – Print, Film, Video, Audio, Picture, Internet, Email

Slander (Transient Form) – Oral, Gesture, Style of Delivery, Tone, Body Language

Special Damage Rule for Slander: Monetary Loss, not hurt feelings, except imputing criminal offence, disease, adultery, professionalism

Defamation Criteria: 3 Elements – ALL MUST BE PRESENT!

1. Word / Statement must be defamatory

     a. Has a “Sting” – Defamatory Meaning

     b. Viewed as defamatory by “Ordinary, Reasonable, Right-Thinking people”

     c. Socially recognised as a “Sting”

     d. Expressions can also be a form of defamation

     e. False / Legal “Innuendo” can also be a “Sting”

2. Plaintiff is identified

     a. Plaintiff need not be named, just referenced

     b. Difficult for a group to sue, unless each is identified

3. Defamation is “published” to another person (3rd Party)

     a. 3rd Party understands the language in which defamation was used

     b. 3rd Party must be identified by Plaintiff

     c. Exact words of “Sting” are pin-pointed

Note: Societal Attitudes change over time