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In the complex realm of defamation law, expert legal assistance is essential. Our experienced team is adept at managing and resolving defamation claims, whether you’re facing such allegations or seeking redress for harm to your reputation. We provide thoughtful, strategic legal counsel, ensuring your case is handled with the utmost care and professionalism. Trust in our expertise to guide you through the intricacies of defamation law, safeguarding your reputation and rights.

Melissa Care

Melissa Care
Senior Associate

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Protecting you or your business from published content that has the ability to damage your reputation

Coutts can assist you in determining whether you have a claim in defamation and advise you in relation to the requirements to be met to make out a defamation claim including whether the content has been published, whether the content identifies you or your business and whether the content causes damage to your reputation.

If the court finds that you have been the victim of defamation you may also be entitled to damages to compensate for the harm done to you.

Coutts is also able to assist you if you have been accused of actions that result in defamation including the various defences that are available to you to avoid liability.

What is Defamation?

Defamation is published content that has the ability to damage a person’s reputation. Most commonly, defamation is applicable to news media outlets, however, can also affect individuals. A recent law has also shown that social media remarks and publications made on the internet could constitute defamation.

The Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) was enacted to ensure that the law of defamation does not place unreasonable limits on freedom of expression, and in particular, on the publication and discussion of matters of public interest and importance. However, aims to provide effective and fair remedies for persons whose reputations are harmed by the publication of defamatory matter.

How do I prove a claim?

To prove a defamation case there are several requirements that must be met:

  • Published – The first is that the communication was published to other people, which includes both oral and written means.
  • Identification – The next element to prove is that communication identifies the person.
  • Damage Reputation – The final element is that communication must be defamatory in a way that affects a person’s reputation, lowers their estimation in other people or causes them to be avoided by others.

Defences for defamation

If a defamation case is brought against you there are several defences that are available to avoid liability. Sections 24 to 33 of the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) deals with defences to claims for Defamation in New South Wales. There are also common law defences that are not expressly listed under the Defamation Act.


If the court finds that you have been the victim of defamation you may also be entitled to damages to compensate for the harm done to you. The number of damages will differ greatly depending on the circumstances of the case. The court may take a range of factors into consideration when deciding damages such as whether an apology was made, whether the defendant published a correction to the matter or whether perhaps the applicant failed to accept an out of court settlement offer.

Book Your Defamation Claims Consultation Now

What to Expect with Coutts Lawyers

Step 1: Initial Contact

Reach out to Coutts Lawyers via our website, phone, or in person. Briefly describe your matter.

Step 2: Consultation Appointment

Schedule and attend a meeting with a Coutts lawyer / Conveyancer to discuss the specifics of your matter and desired outcomes.

Step 3: Information & Legal Advice

Share all related documents and information. Your lawyer / Conveyancer will review everything, clarify aspects as needed, and then advise on the best action course.

Step 4: Action Plan Development

Based on the advice, an appropriate action plan will be formulated. This may involve communication, documentation processes, or further legal steps.

Step 5: Implementation

Execute the action plan, addressing a range of legal scenarios as necessary.

Step 6: Resolution & Closure

Navigate towards a resolution, with the path determined by the nature of the matter. Your Lawyer / Conveyancer will outline any final actions or considerations.

Introducing Melissa

Your Experienced Lawyer

Meet Melissa, a Senior Associate at Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers, and the head of our esteemed Commercial Litigation teams. With more than a decade under her belt, Melissa is renowned for her clarity in communication, ensuring clients comprehend every aspect. Her confident and efficient problem-solving approach, coupled with cost-effectiveness, marks her as a top authority in Commercial Litigation.

Melissa Care
Melissa Care

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Defamation FAQ’s

Defamation refers to the act of making false statements about an individual or entity that harm their reputation. Defamation can be written (libel) or spoken (slander). Legally, defamation is typically defined as a false statement that is communicated to a third party, injures the subject’s reputation, and is not protected by legal privileges.

To succeed in a defamation claim, you generally need to prove that the statement is false, was communicated to a third party, has caused harm to your reputation, and was not protected by legal defenses such as truth, fair comment, or qualified privilege.

Common defenses in defamation cases include truth (if the statement is factually accurate), qualified privilege (when the statement is protected by legal or moral duty), fair comment (opinions based on true facts), and the defense of innocent dissemination (if you were not aware of the defamatory content).

In a defamation claim, you can seek damages that compensate you for harm to your reputation, loss of income or earning capacity. You may also seek punitive damages in cases involving malicious intent or gross negligence.

The statute of limitations for defamation claims varies by jurisdiction, but it typically ranges from one to three years. It’s essential to be aware of the specific time limits applicable in your jurisdiction and consult with a legal professional to ensure you file your claim within the prescribed period.

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