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Defamation

Defamation

What is it?
A statement which lowers the claimant in the estimation of the right thinking member of the general public, as defined in [Sim v Stretch].

Libel
A permanent form of defamation.  This tort is actionable ‘per se’No proof of damage is needed, only proof that the libel was published. If damage can be proved, damages received will be significantly higher.

A libel can come in different forms including statues – [Monson v Madame Tussauds], films – [Yousoupoff v MGM Ltd.] and through the internet – [Godfrey v Demon Internet].

Slander
A temporary form of defamation.  In this case, damage must be proved, unless the libel is an allegation of:
(1) Imprisonable offences [Gray v Jones]
(2) Contagious diseases [Bloodworth v Gray]
(3) Unchastity of women [Kerr v Kennedy]
(4) Unfit to trade [McManus v Beckham]

Claimants
A claimant can be anyone from an individual to a company [Body Shop v Channel 4].  Somebody who is dead, or a member of Government, does not have an action.

In order to have an action, the claimant does not have to trade within the UK, but merely have a reputation within the UK [Jamel v Wall Street Journal].

Timeline
Defamatory statement must be made -> It must refer to the claimant [Hulton v Jones] -> It must be published [Gutwick v Dow Jones].

Words
Normally, to decide whether something is defamatory, words are given their ordinary and natural meaning [Jonathan Hunt v The Sun].  However, there can be an action against an innuendo [Tolley v Fry].  Statements must be taken within their context [Charleston v NGN].

Defences
Qualified Privelage

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