Whether you are an individual or a company going about your business, you rely on your good name. However, a reputation that has taken you years to build may be seriously harmed by a few untrue words. Worse still, the internet means that those untrue words can reach a very wide audience within a matter of moments. At George Green, we have the skills and experience to protect your reputation and recover damages for any financial harm you have suffered as a result of defamatory and untrue allegations.
Our solicitors also have considerable experience of defending clients against defamation claims. We can advise you on the merits of any claims made against you and help resolve disputes without the need for litigation.
Defamation is one of the most misunderstood areas of law and it is important to seek specialist advice immediately.
Defamation can take the form of libel (permanent statements) or slander (spoken statements).
Libel claims arise out of things said in a tangible form, such as newspaper articles, radio broadcasts or internet forums. The nature of libel claims means that the defamatory words often have a chance to reach a very wide audience. As well as recovering damages for libellous statements, our expertise extends to obtaining injunctions removing the publication, preventing similar allegations being published in the future and advising in relation to apologies.
We have considerable experience of acting for clients who have been defamed by local and national newspapers and publications. We are sometimes able to offer clients 'no win, no fee' agreements in defamation matters, although legal changes the Government introduced in 2019 mean that such agreements are no longer suitable for many clients. Our reputation means that, where appropriate, barristers are also prepared to work with us on a 'no win, no fee' basis.
Although slander is less tangible, it is often no less harmful. Typical slander cases range from competitors alleging that your business has ceased trading or gone bust to false allegations of criminal activity.
The internet changed the face of defamation as many statements that would otherwise have been kept private are now recorded and published to all of the world.
Many businesses rely on internet marketing to advertise their products and services. However, it only takes one bad review or article to undo years of hard work and development. Unfortunately, our solicitors have had to help numerous businesses who have faced substantial harm and financial loss as a result of competitors using the internet to bad mouth them.
In addition to bringing claims in relation to defamatory statements online, we have worked with website operators to remove defamatory content.
Inaccurate or malicious statements
Statements may still be wrong and harmful without being defamatory. Two typical examples where we can help are negligent misstatement and malicious falsehood.
Negligent misstatement arises when someone says something about you without checking that it is accurate and makes a mistake that causes you loss. We have acted for clients who have lost new jobs because their previous employer made important mistakes in their reference.
Malicious falsehood arises when someone, often a competitor, says something that is not defamatory but is still untrue. For example, a competitor may write to a customer to say that you have retired or stop offering a particular service. Whilst that customer would not think any worse of you, you may lose a contract or deal. Other examples may arise in comparative advertising, where competitors falsely advertise their products or services as being better than yours.
Our solicitors have experience of obtaining damages for losses caused by inaccurate or malicious statements, as well as injunctions to stop the statements in their tracks.