Your reputation is everything.
Whether you are an individual or a company, your reputation could suffer great and lasting damage by people misrepresenting you and telling lies. This situation has been exacerbated by the speed and permanence of online publications and social media alongside traditional media outlets.
The power and reach of social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, can lead to an individual’s reputation being badly damaged at the click of a button. Often ill thought through or malicious comments can stay online permanently. Meanwhile, internet giants, such as Google, can and do bring up these posts when an individual’s name is searched. As well as being a search engine, Google also provides the framework for blogs which can also be defamatory.
All of these matters are dealt with as part of our practice. Our defamation lawyers are experts at defending individual and business reputations, including the law of defamation (libel and slander), malicious falsehood and data protection.
The quicker we can act, the better the outcome. The best way to protect your reputation and defend yourself from defamation is to prevent an allegation from being published in the first place. Our team of lawyers have successfully prevented articles appearing by urgently corresponding with the author or publisher prior to publication to set the record straight.
If a defamatory story has been published online, we work hard to ensure that it is promptly removed. Where required, we can often track down the culprits even if they are anonymous.
If a defamatory story has already been published, be it online, in the printed press or on TV we can insist on an early and fulsome apology or correction, together with payment of appropriate compensation and your legal costs. This is often enough to set the record straight.
We are litigation experts and, where clients have not been able to vindicate their reputations prior to issuing court proceedings, we have a strong record of suing in relation to defamatory articles. Remedies we obtain include undertakings not to repeat an article; an apology; payment of damages and costs and, where appropriate, a statement in open court to correct the record.
We have successfully acted for the following:
Sylvia Henry, the Baby P Social Worker, in her successful action against the Sun in relation to 80 highly defamatory articles. The Sun was forced to apologise to Ms Henry, both in Court and in print, and to pay her substantial damages and her costs.
Antonio Serrano, a GP, in his claim for defamation against the Daily Mail after the paper falsely ran a story condemning his treatment of a patient. The paper ran a story under the headline, “A whole year of hell, thanks to a foreign doctor”. Dr Serrano was fully vindicated by the Court and was awarded substantial damages and his costs.
Dr Sarah Thornton, an author and academic, who was libelled by the Daily Telegraph. This was a landmark case which changed the law. It led to the important test of “substantial damage to reputation” being required in order to found a libel action. This subsequently contributed to the enactment of the “serious harm” test in the Defamation Act 2013. It was also notable because general damages were awarded for malicious falsehood for the first time in many years.
Bruno Lachaux, a French aerospace engineer residing in the UAE, in his claims for defamation against the Independent Print Limited, the “i” Newspaper, the Evening Standard and AOL (UK) Ltd, otherwise known as the Huffington Post. This is a landmark case, having been one of the first to test the requirement for ‘serious harm’ under the Defamation Act 2013.