def·a·ma·tion | \ ˌde-fə-ˈmā-shən
Modern libel and slander laws (as implemented in many, but not all, Commonwealth nations) in the United Kingdom, and in the Republic of Ireland are originally descended from English defamation law. The history of defamation law in England is somewhat obscure. Civil actions for damages seem to have been relatively frequent so far back as the reign of Edward I (1272–1307), though it is unknown whether any generally applicable criminal process was in use. The first fully reported case in which libel is affirmed generally to be punishable at common law was tried during the reign of James I. From that time, both the criminal and civil remedies have been in full operation.
English law allows actions for libel to be brought in the High Court for any published statements alleged to defame a named or identifiable individual or individuals (under English law companies are legal persons, and allowed to bring suit for defamation) in a manner that causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of them. Allowable defenses are justification (the truth of the statement), fair comment (whether the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held), absolute privilege (whether the statements were made in Parliament or in court, or whether they were fair reports of allegations in the public interest) and qualified privilege (where it is thought that the freedom of expression outweighs the protection of reputation, but not to the degree of granting absolute immunity). An offer of amends is a barrier to litigation. A defamatory statement is presumed to be false unless the defendant can prove its truth. Furthermore, to collect compensatory damages, a public official or public figure must prove actual malice (knowing falsity or reckless disregard for the truth). A private individual must only prove negligence (not using due care) to collect compensatory damages. To collect punitive damages, all individuals must prove actual malice.
Criminal libel was abolished on 12 January 2010 by section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.
Libel law in England and Wales was reformed by the Defamation Act 2013.
We are assuming that you will be relying on what is classed as defamation UK? The term 'defamation' describes an untrue statement that's been presented as fact and causes harm to the character of the person it describes. If someone's reputation is damaged because of a false statement, this statement will be considered defamatory. We have NEVER claimed that:
The Defamation Act 2013 (c 26) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which reformed English defamation law on issues of the right to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation. It also comprised a response to perceptions that the law as it stood was giving rise to libel tourism and other inappropriate claims.
The Act changed existing criteria for a successful claim, by requiring claimants to show actual or probable serious harm (which, in the case of for-profit bodies, is restricted to serious financial loss), before suing for defamation in England or Wales, setting limits on geographical relevance, removing the previous presumption in favour of a trial by jury, and curtailing sharply the scope for claims of continuing defamation (in which republication or continued visibility constitutes ongoing renewed defamation). It also enhanced existing defences, by introducing a defence for website operators hosting user-generated content (provided they comply with a procedure to enable the complainant to resolve disputes directly with the author of the material concerned or otherwise remove it), and introducing new statutory defences of truth, honest opinion, and "publication on a matter of public interest" or privileged publications (including peer-reviewed scientific journals), to replace the common law defences of justification, fair comment, and the Reynolds defence respectively. However, it did not quite codify defamation law into a single statute.
The Defamation Act 2013 applies to causes of action occurring after its commencement on 1 January 2014; old libel law will therefore still apply to many 2014–15 defamation cases where the events complained of took place before the commencement.