Have companies lost the ability to sue for defamation?

By Tim Sales

The Defamation Act 2013 and the Defamation (Operators of Websites) Regulations 2013 came into force on 1 January 2014. Companies in particular will now face considerable challenges in attempting to bring a successful defamation claim. Other significant changes shift more power to defendants, attempting to move the jurisdiction of England and Wales away from its claimant-friendly reputation and provide increased protection for website operators.

Many of these changes will be welcomed, particularly by website operators, secondary publishers and other frequent defendants. However, companies may need to start exploring other avenues in an effort to preserve their reputations if defamed. While companies are familiar with awards of only nominal damages in successful defamation claims, now, in the absence of demonstrable ‘serious financial harm’, a statement that injures the reputation of a company may not be defamatory at all.

This article explains the key changes and what they might mean for parties involved in or considering launching defamation claims…

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