Defamation is the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort or a crime.
Such a statement constitutes a ‘libel‘ if it is:
- published (publication, for these purposes, is simply the communication of the defamatory matter to a third person); and
- in writing, print or some other permanent form.
A statement will amount to a ‘slander‘ if it is:
- published; and
- made orally or in some other transient form.
An action for defamation can be brought by an individual or a company, in respect of statements that damage its business reputation. An action for defamation however cannot be brought by a Local Authority nor by any other public authority.