Posted by Defamation Lawyers Perth on December 27, 2022

The difficulty in proving a defamation case (if you have a valid claim) might depend on whether the court considers you a private or a public figure. From the context of defamation, a public figure is usually defined as a person who has assumed an essential role in society and has been in the public spotlight, be it a celebrity or a government official.

When bringing a defamation claim, public figures usually have a higher burden of proof. Be it a public or a private figure; most people opt for the top defamation lawyers in such cases. A confidential figure is usually defined as an individual who does not qualify as a public figure and is not in the public spotlight. Read the blog below to learn more about the defamation of public and private figures.

Who Are the Public Figures in the Defamation Arena?

The main difference between private people and public figures in the case of defamation law is vital as it changes the burden of proof in bringing a lawsuit. To be able to succeed in a defamation lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the statement was not true and harmed their reputation. Other than these factors, a public figure also must prove that the defamer made the statement with malice in mind.

Defamation of Public Figures in Defamation Law

As per legal terms, public figures are considered individuals who perform essential roles in society and are also at the forefront of general issues. People who have a specific amount of fame or popularity can be called public figures.

For instance, the following people can be considered public figures in case of a defamation law:

  • Important business leaders
  • Politicians and government officials
  • Celebrities
  • Famous athletes or sports figures

What Are Some Examples of Public Figures?

The below list can provide you with useful and real-world examples of different forms of public figures:

  • Chris Hemsworth, a famous actor (all-purpose public figure)
  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (Public official)
  • A minor league player who has limited name recognition (limited-purpose public figure).

Why Are Public Figures Usually Considered to Have a Tremendous Ability to Counteract Defamation?

It is not true that public figures are considered to have a remarkable ability to counteract defamation, or at least in a legal sense. The legal standard is far more challenging for public officials to counter defamation as society values free speech, general information about those of persuasive influence and uninhibited debate.

For instance, if an actual public figure publishes a blog post falsely claiming his neighbour was convicted of armed robbery some years ago, the neighbour will likely win a defamation case against the person. But if that individual makes the same claims regarding his senator, it will be harder for the senator to win the case.

The individual only has to show that he has a “ good faith belief” in the negative claim, which will indicate that he acted with negligence and not malice. The Australian courts usually hold that public figures do not require much reputational protection as they are in the public spotlight and must expect some negative attention.

Before hiring a publication defamation lawyer, you must know that public figures in any country can better use an online platform or media to counteract any narrative about them. As public figures have a larger social media following and more access to the media than private citizens, they have other means of making the truth known without involving any courts.

Requirements for Proving the Defamation of a Public Figure

In every defamation case for both private and public individuals, the plaintiff must prove that the statement was:

  • Communicated to a third party
  • A false statement of any fact about the plaintiff
  • Harmful to the reputation of the plaintiff
  • Made with a negligent level of intent.

For public figures, there is another requirement to bring any defamation claim. They are required to prove that the defamer had actual malice in mind (in other words, the defamer was aware that the statement was false, or they acted with no regard for whether the statement was true or false. The requirements can be broken down even further for limited-purpose public figures, public officials and all-purpose public figures.

What is a Private Figure Based on the Context Of Defamation?

Public figures are the ones in the public spotlight; it can be due to their occupation or participation in any public or private controversy. But the existence of public figures involves private figures. Read below to learn more about private figures and how they must prove their case in defamation lawsuits.

Private Figure Based on the Terms of Defamation Law

Private figures are mostly not in the public eye, and compared to public figures, they are usually not drawn into public controversies. They are also not considered public officials or celebrities.

Examples of Private Figures

Some of the few general examples of people that can be considered private figures in a defamation case are as follows:

  • A private guardian was accused of sleeping with the father of a client.
  • A high school principal.
  • A company that does not extensively advertise.
  • A local news reporter has left their job at a local television station.

How Can Private Individuals Prove Defamation?

As private figures are not known to enter the public spotlight via their career or role in a public controversy, the law wants to protect their privacy. This is why private people have less burden of proof in any defamation matter or case. A private plaintiff must only aim to prove that a defendant only had ordinary negligence with mind and not with malice.

Contact Defamation Lawyers Perth

Whether you are a public or a private figure, want to file for defamation or defend yourself against a defamation case, you require the help of lawyers. Contact Defamation Lawyers Perth, one of the top law firms, to hire the best lawyers to represent your defamation case.