Slander is defamation in a transitory form.


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


The present law distinguishes between permanent and transitory statements but the law is probably no longer adequate due to the modern advances in technology . The Faulks report did in fact recommend that the distinction is dispensed with. The distinction has been done away with by most commonwealth jurisdictions. However the Defamation Act 1996 did not take the opportunity to do away with the distinction.


Examples of slander have been taken to include the following that the spoken word in general is slander, gestures in general are slander tapes are likely to be slander as they can be wiped but other recordings such as CDs and vinyls are less easy to categorise.


Unlike libel which is actionable per se (without proof of damage) for slander damage must be shown except in four situations. The situations are:


  • the imputation of an offence involving imprisonment;

  • the imputation of a contagious disease;

  • the imputation of unchastity of women (Slander of Women Act 1891 ), including lesbianism Kerr v Kennedy (1942);

  • and unfitness of incompetence in a trade, profession,office or calling and since the Defamation Act, 1952   any employment provided the claimant shows that they are harmed as a result.

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