There are many ways in which an individual or business can be defamed. Traditionally there was a distinction between the written form (libel) and the verbal form (slander) however this distinction has been removed and they both are now referred to as Defamation.
Defamation can be simply explained as being any statement, written or verbal, which is adversely reflective on the name or reputation of a person or company. For an action to be successful the statement must be communicated to a third party, must refer to the person or company and it must not be covered by one of the following defences:
– Justification: The truth is a complete defence to a Defamation action.
– Privilege: On certain occasions an individual may have privilege from an action in defamation i.e. Oireachtas privilege.
– Public interest: The statement has been made on a matter of public interest.
– Fair comment: In essence this defence arises when the comment was made in relation to a matter of public interest, what was said was comment and not a statement of fact, and the comment was fair and honest.
Now more than ever, defamation is a common occurrence particularly in the realm of social media and chatrooms. Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors have extensive experience in helping individuals and businesses who have been the victim of defamation in Ireland. Furthermore we also assist in pre-publication advice which can often minimise damage or prevent any publication of wrongful material.