Posted by Defamation Lawyers Perth on May 27, 2024

When an individual or organisation confronts a defamation lawsuit with the best lawyers for defamation of character in WA, they have various potential defences that, if established, could cause the claim to fail. This website blog thoroughly explains the types of defences, allowing you to comprehend the legal framework better and negotiate defamation law.

  • Truth

If you can demonstrate that the material published was accurate, you can depend on the truth defence as a comprehensive defence. This means that even if the court considers a misrepresentation defamatory, the publisher is not liable if they can show that the allegation is true or not materially different from the truth.

Truth is difficult to prove since the evidence must be admissible in court. As a result, you will need authentic documents and competent witnesses willing to testify in court on your character. Additionally, these witnesses must have direct knowledge of the relevant situations. 

As a result, claims based on secondhand information or testimony from others are not acceptable. Therefore, it is suggested that you hire defamation lawyers in Perth, as they will help you find genuine evidence to support your case.

  • Duty or Legitimate Interest

A defendant could claim that the defamatory statement was published under ‘qualified privilege.’ The defendant must show that they had a duty or reasonable interest in publishing the statement and that the recipients had a similar interest or responsibility to receive it. 

However, this protection is conditional; if the plaintiff can demonstrate with the help of defamation of character lawsuit lawyers in Perth that the defendant’s primary purpose was malice or that their actions went beyond the bounds of the privileged occasion, the defence is invalid.

  • Opinion

The First Amendment generally protects statements of opinion. A comment that is an opinion rather than a statement of truth cannot be considered defamatory. For example, if someone writes a restaurant review and claims that the food was horrible, this is an opinion, not defamation. However, if the remark is presented as fact without supporting evidence, it may be considered defamatory.

  • Privilege

Privilege is a defence that applies in cases where persons have a legal or moral duty to speak up. For example, if witnesses testify in court and make a potentially defamatory statement, they are shielded under privilege. Similarly, journalists are shielded by privilege when reporting on issues of public concern. However, privilege does not apply if the remark was made with malice or reckless contempt for the truth.

For example, some forms of publications that would attract the absolute privilege defence are:

  • Parliamentary materials;
  • Australian court or tribunal judgments;
  • Ombudsman reports;
  • The Privacy or Information Commissioner reports;
  • The Law Reform Commission reports; or
  • Certain legislation includes the Workers Compensation Act(s) and Motor Vehicle Act(s).
  •  Consent

If the person allegedly defamed responds positively to the statement, it is not defamatory. For example, if someone signs an agreement giving a gym permission to use their photo in an advertisement, they cannot later claim that the advertisement is defamatory.

  • Responsible Communication

If the defamatory comment concerns public interest and the defendant can show that it was published properly, they can use the ‘responsible communication’ defence. This suggests that, although insulting, the information was regarded as credible and reported appropriately. It also relates to ‘reportage,’ or the fair and balanced coverage of a public-interest debate.

  • Fair Comment

The defendant may claim ‘ fair comment ‘ when a defamatory statement is subjective or an opinion rather than a fact. To effectively employ this defence, the defendant must demonstrate that the comment was in the public interest, was founded on facts, was clearly an opinion, and could have been expressed honestly based on the facts supplied. However, if the person suing can show that the defendant behaved with malice, the defence can be overturned.

  • Absence of Intent

Finally, the absence of intent can be used to defend against defamation allegations. If the individual who made the statement did not intend to hurt the allegedly defamed person’s reputation, it may not be ruled defamatory. However, this defence can be difficult to show and is frequently unsuccessful in court. You can ask for guidance from the best defamation of character lawyers in WA.


Those accused of defamation can raise a variety of defences. The truth defence is the most effective, but it is critical to guarantee that all statements are entirely truthful. The First Amendment protects opinions, but they must be presented as such. Privilege can be an effective defence, but it only applies in particular situations.

Consent and lack of intent are other valid defences, but they can be difficult to prove. It is critical to contact defamation lawyers in Perth to identify the appropriate defence strategy for each unique case.