Claiming for Defamation of Character – Irish Law

Defamation of character is a defamatory statement that reasonable members of society would think damages your reputation.

What is defamation of character?

A defamatory statement that reasonable members of society would think damages your reputation. Legal action can be taken against a person or a corporation who makes a ‘defamatory statement’ to or about another person. But, if the statement is true or considerably close to the truth it is not considered defamatory. The statement can be either written (libel) or spoken (slander).

How to know if you have a case for defamation

In order to have a case for defamation, you must show that the defamatory statement was ‘published’ (libel) or ‘spoken’ (slander) to at least one other person and the ‘one other person’ cannot be you, the person making the complaint. If you believe that you have been defamed, talk to our legal team. You will need the evidence to support your claim, such as the defamatory statement itself, as well as any evidence of the harm that it has caused to your reputation. In order to have a viable case for defamation case, the claimant must prove the following elements:

  • The statement was false.
  • was published to at least one other person.
  • The statement was about the claimant.
  • The statement caused damage to the claimant’s reputation.

What constitutes a published communication?

‘Published’ includes any type of communication in the form of a document or post, print or digital – written Comments (libel) made on social media, newspaper articles, blog posts and speeches.

What damages are awarded for defamation cases?

The amount of damages awarded depends on a number of factors, mainly the seriousness of the damage to the person’s reputation. If the defamation hearing is in the High Court, your case could potentially be held with a jury and so the Jury decides on the amount of damages that should be awarded to you.

If your case is held the Circuit Court or District Court the judge makes the decision as there is no jury. If your case is successful, you may be awarded damages to compensate for the harm to your reputation and depending on the case, you also be awarded an injunction to prevent the defendant from publishing the defamatory statement again.

The injunction will prevent a defamatory statement from being published, or to have it removed (from a social media post for example). An injunction is an order of the court that compels a person or body to either do something or refrain from doing something.

What you need to know about claiming for defamation in Ireland

  • You must generally make a defamation claim within one year of the defamatory statement being issued. The time limit for personal injury claims is two years. Read More about the statute of limitations for personal injury in Ireland.
  • The claimant must prove that the statement was false and that it caused harm to their reputation.
  • If your case is held in the High Court, the Jury could decide on the amount of damages that should be awarded.

Read More:

The Defamation Act 2009

Claiming for Defamation of Character on Social Media

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