Defamation

Defamation is a statement that injures a person’s and/or company’s reputation in the eyes of a reasonable person who hears or reads the statement.

 

There are three conditions that must be satisfied in order to prove defamation:

 

  1. It must be published – that is heard or read by a third party
  2.  It must relate to a person expressly or by implication.
  3. It must be false.

The law in Ireland is set out in the Defamation Act 2009. This act abolished the traditional distinction between ‘Libel’ (meaning a written defamation) and ‘slander’ (meaning a spoken defamation). We now have the common tort of defamation which combines both libel and slander.

TAKING A CLAIM

A claim for defamation must be filed within one year of the publication of the defamatory statement. The courts can extent this limitation period to two years in cases where it would be in the interests of justice to do so.

DAMAGES FOR DEFAMATION

A successful injured party in a defamation action has the potential to obtain a high award of compensation for the injury to his or her reputation. In Ireland, two of the most high profile cases, the Monica Leech case, in which Mc. Leech was falsely accused in a newspaper of having an affair with a government minister, and the Donal Kinsella case, in which it was falsely reported that Mr. Kinsella had sleepwalked into a woman’s bedroom, settled for the amounts of €1.9 million and €10 million respectively.

DEFENCES

There are a number of defences to defamation that any aggrieved party must take into consideration before pursuing a claim for compensation, such as the defence of Truth, Privilege, Honest Opinion and the defence of Fair and Reasonable Publication on a matter of Public Interest.

Should you have any queries arising from this area of law please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information on defamation as well as advice and support contact the Edward Healy Solicitors team today

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