Defamation in Western Australia can be considered a civil action that is also known as a tort. Defamation is usually defined as the publication of unsubstantiated facts that has the potential to hurt a person’s reputation or suggest that an individual be hated, ridiculed, avoided, shunned, or treated with contempt.
Defamation was usually developed in the British common law system and made a difference between the two types of defamation: slander and libel. Defamation by spoken words is slander, while defamation by words is liable. Before you hire defamation lawyers Perth to fight your case, read the blog below to learn more about defamation in Western Australia and the duties or responsibilities of a civil defamation lawyer.
Versions of Defamation in Western Australia
The difference between both types of defamation was eliminated in Western Australia when Western Australia, along with other Australian states and territories, adopted uniform legislation. The main reason behind adopting uniform legislation was to promote non-judicial avenues to resolve defamation disputes and provide remedies.
Defamation in Western Australia is included in the Defamation Act 2005. This is an act that helped change the common law and repeated the previously applicable laws that were related to slander and libel. Before hiring a lawyer, you need to know more about this.
What is Considered Defamation in Western Australia?
In Western Australia, if the reputation of an individual has been tarnished by another person who has made false statements about that individual, there may be a cause of action for defamation. If you believe that your reputation has been tarnished, you will be known as the ‘aggrieved’, and the publisher is usually the person who published the false statement. On this, the victim can File Legal Actions, If their Reputation Is Hurt By Someone.
The publication is defined in Western Australia’s Defamation Act to include every type of written communication and speech. When you speak to another person who is not aggrieved in a way that can tarnish the reputation of the aggrieved can be an adequate defamation cause of action.
Written forms of communication that can be considered defamatory are as follows:
- Printed media
- Blog posts
- Social media statuses and updates
- As the internet has provided many social media platforms for people to publish statements that can be defamatory sometimes, defamation is pursued more. Defamation on the Internet does not blame the service provided, the internet platform, or the content host for any derogatory statements published on their platform without knowledge. But if a person copies, pastes, emails or links to defamatory information. They will be considered a publisher for defamation actions.
Bringing a Defamation Claim in Western Australia
A cause of action needs to recover costs for harm caused by tarnished reputation. Due to the statute of limitations, you will have around a year to bring a claim against the publisher if you are the victim of defamation in Western Australia. Before hiring defamation lawyers in Perth, you must know that the limitation period can be extended in some cases.
Corporations or companies that have less than ten people and public bodies will not be able to bring a cause of action for defamation. You cannot bring in a defamation claim against a person who is no longer alive. If the publication is made specifically in Western Australia, the defamation act of the state will apply, but if a publication is widespread, the relevant law of the jurisdiction will apply.
What Are the Elements of a Defamation Claim in Western Australia?
As per the defamation act, there are around five elements to a cause of action for defamation in Western Australia. They are as follows:
- Publication– This is a broadly defined thing that can include verbal statements and statements that can be read.
- To another individual– The publication must be public; this indicates it needs to be made to someone other than the aggrieved.
- Defamatory content– Imputation, false information, or a representation can lead another individual to believe false content. If a victim’s reputation is damaged or can reasonably be damaged by imputation or lie, it can be considered defamatory.
- Identifying another person– If the victim is not identifiable from the lie or false statements, then there is no defamation.
- Without any lawful excuse– If there are legal reasons as to why the publisher published the information, any defamation can be excusable.
What Are the Defences and Excuses?
In terms of civil defamation, if a publisher makes a statement or publishes any information that might seem defamatory, then there can be an excuse or defence. These include:
- Truth– This is also known as justification, where there will be no defamation if the publication is true.
- Contextual truth– Here, the publication was substantially true so that the imputation could not have harmed the reputation of the aggrieved.
- Absolute privilege– No defamation action can lie if the publication was made during any parliamentary debate in a tribunal judgment or court.
- Qualified privilege– The publication might have been defamatory, but the publisher needed to publish it for Social Media Defamation, moral, or legal reasons. This is why it is excused from liability.
- Public document– If the defamatory content has been published in a public document that is a parliamentary debate, court judgment, or tribunal, there will be no liability for republication.
- Honest opinion– A publication in any fair report of public concern cannot be defamatory.
- Fair report– Any publication in a fair report of public concern cannot be considered defamatory.
- Parody– A satire or parody publication cannot be considered defamatory.
- Innocent dissemination– No liability will ever arise where the publication distributor is unaware of the defamatory content or did not control or create the content or anything said.
- Triviality– The publisher will be excused from liability when a publication is considered trivial or cannot cause harm.
Offers to Make Apologies or Amends
One of the biggest reasons for adopting uniform legislation is to be able to provide non-litigious solutions to defamation. Defamation in Western Australia can damage a person’s reputation, so an offer to make amends is a fast way to resolve any defamation dispute.
If a defamation victim pursues an action with the help of defamation lawyers in Perth, the publisher can make an offer of amends within 28 days after they receive notice of the action. The offer must be in writing and be an offer to pay the victim and make corrections to the publication.
If the offer is reasonable, but the aggrieved rejects it, the publisher will have a defence to the defamation action. An offer to make amends is one of the quickest ways to avoid litigation. It is also a good idea to apologize if you publish something defamatory or false. Apologies are usually considered evidence for liability needs and can also lessen the number of damages payable.
Do Time Limits Apply in Taking Legal Action?
If you have been a victim of defamation, you can reach the court to ask for compensation for the damages caused. But it is said that strict time limits do apply, and you can take the help of top defamation lawyers to take court action for defamation cases.
What Can You Do If You Are Threatened, Harassed, or Defamed Online?
You no longer need to tolerate yourself if you are being harassed, threatened, or defamed online; you can take appropriate actions to stop it. In such cases, you can do the following:
- Ask the individual to remove the information or comments that you do not like, and if they refuse to do so, you can contact the site administrator and request them to remove the information.
- If you are a school student, you can inform your teacher, principal, or counselor about the person who made such comments. They might be able to have the information removed.
- You can also use the office of online complaints systems to report cyberbullying or remove illegal content from relevant sites.
There might be some forms of harassment or threats that can break laws; you need to be careful in such cases and take appropriate actions.
What Can a Defamation Lawsuit Lawyer Do?
Defamation law is quite a specialized area of law, and internet defamation is an even more specialized subfield that is often complicated as it intersects with many laws. A reputed defamation lawyer can greatly help you and compile all the evidence and make legal strategies to acquire a proper outcome for your defamation case. Hiring them can save you both time and money in the long run.
Who Has the Burden of Proof in Any Defamation Lawsuit?
The party that has the burden of proof is the party that needs to provide evidence that can be enough to establish the legal elements of their claim. In a civil case, the plaintiff will have the burden of proof, and in a defamation case, the burden of proof that the person needs to meet to succeed in their case will depend on their status in society.
Contact Defamation Lawyers Perth
If you are looking to opt for a defamation claim, you can take the help of the best civil defamation lawyers from Defamation Lawyers Perth. These lawyers from the best law firm can help compile all the evidence of defamation and produce strategies to help you win the case and get justice.