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A person’s reputation is important, for many different reasons and every person has the right to his or her good name. This right is protected by Irish Defamation law. There is a fine line between freedom of speech and publishing one’s opinions in such a way that negatively affects a person’s reputation. Defamation is a niche area of the law, and you should therefore always seek advice from a Solicitor who specialises in this type of work.

Niall Fox Solicitors have acted for many clients in Defamation cases before the courts.




Libel refers to situations where a statement that negatively affects a person’s reputation is published online or offline. This can be extended to publication on radio, the internet, and television.


Slander, on the other hand, refers to situations where a statement that negatively affects a person’s reputation is spoken as opposed to published.


redefined the two types of defamation and instead of referring to libel and slander, it has amalgamated them into one term called, ‘tort of defamation’.

The Defamation Act 2009 refers to a defamatory statement (whether written or published) as:

  • a defamatory statement is written or spoken and is heard or read by a third party
  • a false statement is made
  • a defamatory statement explicitly implies, refers/relates to a specific person.


Defamation can occur on several different platforms and in several different situations. At Niall Fox Solicitors we have a wealth of experience of all sorts of Defamation claims.

If your case falls into one of these categories contact us by email immediately at [email protected] to tell us about your case:

  • Accusation of Theft – Wrongly accused of shoplifting from a shop/supermarket or any other retail outlet
  • False Imprisonment – Detained by security in a retail outlet following a false accusation of theft
  • Assault by Security – Physically being stopped or held by the security of a shop
  • Defamatory Reference – from a previous employer
  • Defamation by a Media Organisation – Where a media organisation published a statement that is defamatory against you
  • Fraud Accusation – Being accused of paying for goods or services with counterfeit notes


Social media thrives on our opinions. The more controversial the topic is, the more people will get involved. So, if a media organisation publishes a defamatory statement against you and uses social media to promote this publication contact us immediately.


  • Detail out the history of the event in a notebook or in email format.
  • Keep all records of any publication or recordings of the defamatory incident or statement being made.
  • Take witness accounts of the event, where possible or get names of relevant personnel who were present at the time.
  • Source or establish if there is any CCTV footage that will help your case, where possible.


To prove a statement is defamatory, or even how to prove defamation of character, the person making the claim must be able to show that:

  • The statement made was false
  • The statement was either published or spoken and a third party had read or heard the statement. The reason for this is because if nobody reads or hears the defamatory statement then it cannot damage a person’s reputation. If the statement was heard or read by one person, it can be assumed that it would also be heard by further parties.
  • The language used; the meaning of the statement could have an adverse effect on a person’s reputation.
  • A specific person can be recognised or identified by reading the statement. If the victim is clearly referenced in the defamatory statement, then it could have an impact on their reputation.


For the person who is pursuing a claim, it is important they understand how the person they are making the claim against can defend the claim against them. Defamation Act 2009, sets out ways in which a person can defend a claim made against them, which include:

  • Truth – If a person can prove that the statement made is true then no claim can be made.
  • Absolute Privilege – In certain cases, a court might grant immunity to the person who made the statement if the court decides the third party that reads or heard the statement had a right to know.
  • Qualified Privilege – In certain cases, a court may decide that the statement made and the person that made the statement had a moral, social, or legal duty to publish or announce it, also, in this case, it may be deemed that the third party that read or heard the statement also had a moral, social, or legal duty to the information.
  • Honest Opinion – The court may decide not to award compensation for defamation where it believed that the statement made was an honest, genuine opinion of the publisher, rather than a false statement of fact.


  • Offer to Make Amends – The publisher of the statement may offer to retract their statement by publishing a correction or make a payment to the defamed person.
  • Apology – As part of a defence against defamation claims, the guilty person may offer an apology to the defamed person.
  • Consent to Publish – If the defamed person has given consent to the publisher before the publisher made the statement public then no claim can be made by the defamed person.
  • Fair and Reasonable Publication on a Matter of Public Interest – This type of defence implies that the statement was fair and reasonable. It was a topic of public interest and was made for the benefit of the public.
  • Innocent Publication – This defence refers to a situation where a third party was not the author of the statement, editor, or publisher of the statement. They took reasonable care in relation to its publication.


The compensation awarded for a defamation claim is difficult to estimate monies awarded are known as compensation for damages. At Niall Fox Solicitors we can advise you more accurately once we have your specific instructions.



As per the Defamation Act 2009, the timeframe is 1 year following the date of the defamatory act. Therefore, the time frame in which you must make a claim is ONE YEAR! If you do not act fast your case could become statute barred- i.e., you cannot bring your case!


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