The new ‘serious harm’ test under section 1, Defamation Act 2013

By Amber Melville-Brown

The law of defamation assists a claimant, damaged by a defamatory publication, to remedy a rubbished reputation. But just what is a defamatory publication? Right from the get-go of the new Defamation Act 2013, which came into effect on 1 January 2014, it is clear that changes are afoot.

A defamatory statement used to be described as one that lowers the claimant in the estimation of right-minded members of society; also one that causes him or her to be shunned or avoided; or even that exposes him or her to ridicule or contempt.

But will these established definitions be shaken up by section 1 of the new act, which now provides that ‘a statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant’. Ah, there’s the rub. But what does ‘serious harm’ actually look like? …

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Withers briefing.

Briefings from Withers

  • Family law revolution

    22 April 2014 marked ‘the largest reform of the family justice system any of us have seen or will see in our professional lifetimes’, according to the president of the Family Division.

  • A day out with the Charity Tax Group

    Withers’ Graham Elliott discusses the points he found most interesting from this year’s Charity Tax Group annual meeting.

View more briefings from Withers

Analysis from The Lawyer

Browse This Firm’s

Overview

16 Old Bailey
City of London
London
EC4M 7EG
UK

Turnover (£m): 117.80
No. of Lawyers: 307