Your Cart

Common Defences to Defamation

Defamation is a legal term that refers to the act of damaging someone's reputation by making false statements about them. There are several defences available to individuals accused of defamation, which vary depending on jurisdiction. Here are some common defences:


Truth or justification: If the statement in question is true, it is an absolute defence against defamation claims. In many legal systems, truth is considered a complete bar to a defamation action.


Privilege: Certain statements made in specific contexts may be protected by privilege. For example, statements made during judicial proceedings, legislative debates, or in certain official communications may be privileged and immune from defamation claims.


Honest opinion or fair comment: Expressing genuine opinions on matters of public interest is often protected. However, it is important that the statement is presented as an opinion rather than a statement of fact and is based on facts that are true or known to be true.


Consent: If the person allegedly defamed consented to the publication of the statement, this can serve as a defence. Consent, however, must be voluntary and informed.


Absolute privilege: In some situations, individuals may be protected by absolute privilege, which provides complete immunity from defamation claims. This often applies to statements made in judicial or legislative proceedings.


Qualified privilege: This defence applies when a statement is made in good faith and for a legitimate purpose, such as in the interest of the public. However, this privilege may be lost if the statement is proven to be malicious or made with reckless disregard for the truth.


Public figure defence: In some jurisdictions, individuals in the public eye, such as celebrities or public officials, may face a higher burden of proof in defamation cases. Plaintiffs may need to demonstrate that the statement was not only false but made with actual malice (knowingly false or with reckless disregard for the truth).


Understanding these defamation defences is crucial for individuals navigating legal proceedings, as their applicability and success may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the laws of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings occur.


Check out our exam-focused Tort Law notes now.

Featured Collection

UOLLB Features

UOLLB First Class Law Notes

Diagrams and Charts

Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

Clear and Succinct Definitions

Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

Statutory Provisions

Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

Case Summaries

We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

Rules and Exceptions

Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

Terminology

Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

Case Law

Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

Law Essay Guide

You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

Problem Question Guide

We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

Structured Explanations

Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

Legal Research

You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

Exam-focused

All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.