Briefing

Defamation Act 2013: You cannot be serious

Posted by: Tom Rudkin | Date posted : 08/03/2016

This article first appeared on the Inforrm blog and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the editors. A version of the article also appeared on Media Lawyer.

In this article Tom Rudkin reviews the current position two years after the introduction of a key part of legislation in the world of reputation management: the "serious harm" requirement in Section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013.

Section 1 introduced a new threshold that claimants have to meet if they are to proceed with a defamation claim. Now the publication complained of must not only be false and have a tendency to adversely affect the attitude of other people towards the claimant but it must also have caused or be likely to cause "serious harm" to the claimant's reputation. Corporates trading for profit must show that the publication has caused or is likely to cause "serious financial loss".

Whilst early case law suggested that the new provision would make it much harder to succeed on defamation claims, the current position following further High Court decisions appears to be a more balanced one, protecting both the right to freedom of expression and the rights of individuals and corporates to defend their reputations.

You can read the full post here.

If you require further information on anything covered in this briefing please contact Thomas Rudkin(thomas.rudkin@farrer.co.uk; 020 3375 7586) or your usual contact at the firm on 020 3375 7000. Further information can also be found on the Brand & Reputation Management page on our website.

This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Farrer & Co LLP,  March 2016