Posted by Defamation Lawyers Perth on February 3, 2023

Defamation is an act where an individual puts up defamatory content capable of harming the reputation of another individual or entity. Lawyers and courts are often involved in a defamation case, and the definition of defamation can change based on the way it occurs.

Before you hire civil Defamation lawyers for know the steps of your civil defamation case, you must be aware of the difference between criminal and civil defamation. There are two forms of defamation, namely libel and slander (there are also differences between the two). In this guide, learn more about the difference between civil and criminal defamation.

What is Known as Defamation?

Though people always hear about defamation cases, not many are aware of what defamation actually means. Defamation is considered as an injury to another individual’s reputation, and if any person does that, they do it at their own risk. If defamation is in the form of spoken words, it is slander, but when it is written or printed, it is called libel.

Based on the country you live in, defamation may be both a criminal and civil offence. In civil law, you’ll find that defamation usually comes under the Law of Torts, which leads to punishment as damages awarded to the individual filing the claim.

But in the case of criminal law, defamation is considered to be a compoundable or bailable offence. As a result, the police are unable to begin a defamation investigation without acquiring a warrant from the magistrate. This is one of the differences between civil and criminal law.

What Are the Differences Between Criminal and Civil Defamation?

In the case of criminal defamation, the main objective is to punish the perpetrator by ensuring that no other person does the same. But in civil defamation, the main aim is to right the wrong that the individual commits. In the case of both defamations, there are different branches of law.

Before you hire a civil defamation lawyer for your defamation case, you must know that there are different legal provisions for civil and criminal defamation. In the case of civil defamation, the judgement is based on penal provisions, but in the case of criminal defamation, the decision is based on common law principles and precedents. For civil defamation, punishment is only in the form of compensation, but for criminal defamation; there may be fines or even imprisonment.

What Are the Differences Between Libel and Slander?

As per customary law, defamation is divided into two forms, mainly libel and slander. Libel is the form of representation made in different permanent forms such as pictures, printing, writing and many more. But in the case of slander, it is defined as the publication of any statement in short form (spoken words or gestures).

As per the law, there is a distinction between libel and slander material for two reasons only:

  • Under criminal law, only the libel form of defamation is taken as an offence and slander is only considered a civil offence.
  • In the case of the torts law, action will be taken on slanders only when people have suffered from significant damage. But in case of libel, action will always be taken.

What is Defamation under Civil Law?

When it comes to civil law, defamation is considered the publication of a statement that can harm the reputation of an individual within members of society. But to be able to prove defamation under civil law, there are some conditions that must be satisfied:

  • The statement must be defamatory: A defamatory statement is a form of a statement that has the potential to harm the plaintiff’s reputation. The statement must be such that it aims to humiliate or ridicule the victim in a bad way.
  • The statement must refer to the plaintiff: Most defendants say that they had no intention to harm the plaintiff’s reputation but are considered to be immaterial. The defendant will be liable if the individual to whom the statement was published can infer that it referred to the plaintiff.
  • The statement has to be published: Publication usually indicates that the defamatory material is known by other people other than the individual defamed. Before such a thing is done, there is no civil action for defamation.

What Are Some Defences for Defamation?

Before hiring defamation solicitors for your defamation case, be aware of criminal and civil Defamation lawyer responsibilities and learn more about the defences available to you. Some of the common defamation defences are as follows:

  • Truth
    A statement is not said to be defamation if it is true. In most countries, truth is an ideal defamation defence, mostly in civil cases, but even in criminal cases, it is important to make a truthful statement for the good of the public.This is because, despite the individual’s intention, no defamation suit can be made against another individual if they are speaking the truth. No matter how bad a statement may seem, the truth can never be considered defamation.
  • Privilege
    People may not need to hire defamation claim Lawyers if a privilege is conferred upon them by the law. Any person can safeguard themselves from defamatory lawsuits when they have a right conferred upon them by the relevant law.Absolute privilege is known to be granted to an individual by government officials and public officials for discharging their public functions. When it comes to the journalists, they are provided qualified privilege that is only valid if a statement was made without having the intention to defame the individual, only to provide information.
  • Fair comment
    For defamatory views, fair statements are given exceptions. The defamatory opinion or material should be expressed as an opinion and should not be mixed up with facts. The opinion should be such that a fair-minded individual can hold it, no matter how illogical it may seem.

Associate with Defamation Lawyer Perth

If you are a part of a defamation case where lawsuits are filed against you, or you seek defamation compensation, it is best to hire a lawyer. Read the blog above to learn more about civil and criminal defamation differences. Contact Defamation Lawyer Perth to access lawyers who can help you in a defamation case; they have experienced lawyers who can help you in every step of a defamation case.