The publishing of a defamatory statement which refers to the claimant and has no lawful justification.

Defamation is a tort.


This area of the law is concerned with the protection of reputation.


Defamation may be defined as 'the publishing of a defamatory statement which refers to the claimant and has no lawful justification'.


It can be readily seen that there are separate elements of the tort .


The elements are that there must be a publication and this involves making a statement to a third party.


Secondly that the publication was of a defamatory statement. And it is for the judge to decide whether the statement can be seen as defamatory and it is for the jury to decide if it is in fact.


The final element is that the publication must refer to the claimant.


The general rule about what is defamatory is that the statement must lower the esteem of the claimant in the minds of right thinking people and consideration ought to be given to the statement of Lord Atkin in Sim v Stretch (1935) when he said ' a statement which tends to lower the plaintiff in the minds of right-thinking members of society generally, and in particular to cause him to be regarded with feelings of hatred, contempt, ridicule, fear and disesteem....'


Ordinarily each separate element of the tort must be proved in order for the action to be successful.


There are two categories of defamation. One category being libel the other being slander.


Libel is defamation in a permanent form for example in writing but also films Youssoupoff v MGM Pictures ltd (1934) and a waxed effigy in a museum Monson v Tussads (1894). The latter  established the principle of "libel by innuendo,"


Slander is defamation in a transitory form, for example the spoken word and gestures in general are slander.


Libel reform | Law | The Guardian

Defamation Act 2013 — UK Parliament

Defamation Act 2013 aims to improve libel laws - BBC News

Defamation Act reforms libel law - Press releases - GOV.UK

BBC News - Carmarthenshire blogger libel case judgement reserved

Alan Rusbridger: The long, slow road to libel reform

The defamation bill is now in thrall to a politically motivated Leveson

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