Defamation and Privacy Laws

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Defamation law protects peoples’ reputation and good character. The laws of defamation serve to protect a person’s good name. If an untrue or misleading statement is made about a person in a public forum it can have a highly damaging effect.

In order for a statement to be defamatory, it needs to have been made publicly – the plaintiff’s reputation and standing in the community needs to have been tarnished as a result of the false statement. A defamatory publication can take on many forms, they can be written or verbal, published in the media or online, or could comprise texts, emails, social media posts and online reviews, to name just a few.

Gordon Legal acts for people whose reputation has been damaged by a defamatory publication or comment.

We also act for people who have been accused of making a defamatory comment to guide them through the process and to try and limit their exposure to a potential legal claim.

In some cases, defendants may seek to dispute an allegation of defamation made against them on the basis that what was published was true, it was an honestly held opinion, or they were otherwise legally permitted to make the statement.

Privacy legislation in Australia has been put into place to prevent wrongful disclosure and misuse of an individual’s private information. These statutory laws work alongside the law concerning breach of confidence.

In some instances, it may be appropriate for a person to notify the Privacy Commissioner to investigate an unlawful inference with privacy. In other instances, it may be more advantageous for an individual to pursue a legal remedy for breach of confidence.

Gordon Legal acts for people whose privacy has been unlawfully interfered with and/or whose confidential information has been disclosed without authorisation.

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Our lawyers have considerable experience in defamation claims and are highly skilled in advising clients on how to protect their reputation and private information. We have acted for well-known media and business figures seeking to protect their reputation. We have also acted for small business owners who have had their reputation tarnished by defamatory statements made by others. We also act for everyday people who have had their reputation and character unfairly attacked and/or privacy unlawfully interfered with.

Respecting your privacy and protecting your reputation

With the rise of social media, people are publishing more material on the internet which can potentially expose them to the same defamation laws that apply to more traditional publishers. Defamatory statements can be made on social media, including in chatrooms, on Facebook and on Twitter. In some cases, even re-posting a defamatory statement by another person could land a social media user in trouble.

If you think that you have been defamed, you should seek legal advice quickly, as there may be options open to you to limit the spread of any damage caused. There are also strict time limits that apply to making defamation claims in Australia. If you think you have been defamed you should seek advice on the time limits that may apply to your circumstances.

If you have been accused of defamation it is also important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

FAQ

The first thing you should do is make a record. Take a copy of the publication that concerns you.  If you have been defamed online, take a screenshot or video of the defamatory content. Material can be posted and then taken down online quickly. If you don’t keep a record of the defamatory content, there is no guarantee that you will be able to locate it later.

Your record of the defamatory statement would ideally also include the information published around, or linked to the page or statement of concern. Your lawyer will need to review this record in order to give you advice about the strength of your claim.

Yes. Defamation laws do not just cover what is published about people in traditional media, such as newspapers or magazines. About half of all defamation claims filed in Courts in Australia relate to digital defamation. A large number of defamation disputes that don’t make it to Court also relate to what is said on social media, or has been texted or emailed to people.

Defamation laws are usually used to seek to protect the reputation of individuals. However, the laws can cover some small companies and not-for-profits, in some cases. Defamation laws can also cover circumstances where an individual’s reputation is very closely linked to the reputation of a company, in some instances. If any of the above may apply to, you, you should seek legal advice.

The above information is related to claims in Victoria. For claims outside the state, please contact our office for specific information as potential claims and time frames vary from state to state.

For us every case is personal

Our Defamation and Privacy lawyers have decades of experience in handling difficult cases and understand the unique ins and outs of Defamation and Privacy Laws claims.

We strive to ease your burden by making the legal process as simple as possible for you.

Defamation and Privacy Laws Experts

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Once you have contacted us, we will organise for you to speak with an experienced lawyer who will go the distance with you and your claim.

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