Anyone who has had damaging material published about them can take legal action against those responsible. This can include journalists, publishers, broadcasters, distributors and others. Damages for defamation include several distinct components:
- Compensation for hurt feelings (including distress, embarrassment, fear, shame and anxiety as a consequence of the publication);
- Compensation for injury to the personal and/or business reputation of the person; and
- Vindication of reputation. i.e. a clear sign to those interested that the allegations were untrue and improper.
In addition, the court has the discretion to award extra damages if the court is satisfied that the circumstances of the publication warrant an award of aggravated damages. Relevant circumstances include if the defamation was deliberate, or published out of ill will or malice. If the publication caused provable economic loss, then that economic loss is compensable also. This would include actual loss of business or earnings or money spent trying to repair the damage done. Defamation is a complex area of the law, however, we can assist you in this important area should the need arise. Contact Pat Campion, a member of our Litigation Team and defamation expert.