You are the Judge – defamation dispute

 

The sixth scenario in our You are the Judge series is a defamation situation. It's the classic scenario - the big corporation versus the ordinary person - and what people believe defamation to be.

What do you think the correct answer is in this situation?
 


 
Josh, who is scrupulously honest, resigned from his consultant job at Lame Associates after a disagreement about their business ethics. He worked his notice, then left to work for another company.

He has just received an angry and abusive email from his former manager at Lame, accusing him of being dishonest and a thief. It doesn't explain in what sense. The email goes on to say that Josh should think himself lucky that his current employers have not been informed.
 
Josh is hurt by the accusations and worried about his reputation and has started a defamation claim against Lame. Lame have applied to have the case struck out, saying that there is no case to answer.

Who is correct, and what is the likely outcome?

The answer:

Despite the fact that Josh is honest, Lame are right about the case.

Calling Josh dishonest and a thief could be defamation, but in this case it is not. For a remark to be defamatory, it must be communicated to a third party, which does not seem to be the case here. That is the crucial point about defamation.

So whilst Lame have been incredibly rude to Josh, his reputation is sound until they publish the email. Instead of suing for defamation, which is a case he won't win, Josh could apply for an injunction to prevent Lame from publishing its allegations in the future.

Call
0808 1593 554
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
Name:
Town/City:
Email:
Phone:
What our clients say about us
"This was the first time I've been to court, which was a nerve-racking experience for me. However, I felt very prepared, I understood my case and representation - this was down to you."
Gavin, criminal motoring, Oct 15
"Your service, and the prompt call back from your recommended firm was very good. I would not hesitate to call again or recommend your service."
Ian, employment law, Truro, July 15
"The firm were excellent, could not have been better! They are exactly what I need right now."
Linda, criminal defence, Thames Ditton, Jul 15
"Your contact and service was immediate and utmost professional, 10/10."
TF, conveyancing, Dudley, Jun 15
"I appreciate the service that you provide. I found you to be courteous, efficient and reassuring at a time when my confidence in justice is completely negative."
Patrick, litigation, Pontypridd, Jun 15
"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the speed of which you came back to me in. If anyone else can benefit from your help like I have done, it would make my day."
Gail M, family law, Potters Bar, Jun 15
"Your assistance was extremely helpful. Particularly to someone who in 40 years of business has never experienced this sort of issue."
TD, commercial litigation, Galashiels, Apr 15
"It is difficult to express the value Contact Law has to someone like me who had very little understanding of the law and how to proceed forward with my case. Thank you for the service you provided."
AE, defamation law, Worthing, Apr 15
"Thank you for the efficient service I received. I was contacted by your solicitor on the same day as my request. Your quick response to my situation made me feel secure."
AN, employment law, London, Apr 15
"Your service was excellent, very fast and informative. I never got the impression of being pressurised at all. The solicitor you recommended was also excellent – very knowledgeable and supportive."
JHD, Motoring law, Liverpool, Apr 15
Contact Law supports the endeavours of STAE and commends all the work they are undertaking to assist in the plight of the Asian Elephant

 

We use cookies on the Contact Law site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.