Mitigating the effects of Defamation

11 Oct 2017

When someone accuses you of wrongdoing,  it can have lasting and damaging effects both on you as an individual and on your business. If this happens to you, here are our three recommendations for limiting the damage that might otherwise be caused.

Act quickly…

It can be tempting to bury your head in the sand on occasions like these but that’s probably not going to be the best way forward. Consider putting across your views about the issues in question in an appropriate and proportionate way. Releasing a statement on your company website, for example, may help to counter any negative press that might be out there  and anyone searching for the story will be able to find a more balanced version of events.

…but calmly

Be careful if you do decide to respond to the accusation in this (or any other) way. There is a balance to be struck between wanting to be heard on the one hand - a perfectly rational and understandable reaction - and risking making the situation worse by doing so, on the other. Sometimes, the best approach, taking everything into account at an early stage, will be to keep your powder dry and not risk exacerbating the situation.

Have you lost money/business?  

Where defamation has been established, the usual legal remedy is a payment in damages to compensate the wronged party. In some, more serious circumstances, exemplary or punitive damages can be awarded. Whether or not you bring a claim, you should work out what effect the defamation has had and is likely to have on you and your business.  There has to be what is known as “serious harm” for a claim to succeed. So, for example, have you lost business as a direct result of the defamation; how can you demonstrate that this is the case and what is the cost of that lost business to you and/or your company?

Speak to us

Defamation can have devastating consequences but it is a complicated legal area and not one to “road test” without sound legal advice. If you have been defamed - or think you may have been - and you believe that your own or your business’s reputation might have been damaged, then contact our Commercial Dispute Resolution Team at DMH Stallard. We will be able to help you quickly and without fuss to take the most appropriate action for you and your position.

Further reading

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