The MV difference
At MV Law, our experienced and dedicated team understands the emotional as well as financial damage caused by defamation, or accusations of defamation. We have connections to Australia’s leading defamation barristers, as well as particular expertise in working with sensitive and politically-charged subject matter.
There is no clear definition of what is defamatory. The usual tests that are applied by a court are that a publication will be defamatory of you if it:
- disparages your reputation; that is, it causes ordinary members of society to think less of you;
- causes others to shun, avoid or exclude you, or
- subjects you to hatred, ridicule or contempt.
Whether or not the author of the publication intended to convey the defamatory meaning is irrelevant. The question is largely one of impression — what is the impression, or the gist, of the publication to an ordinary reader?
A defamatory publication does not need to include your name to defame you. It will defame you if someone reading the publication who knows your circumstances would understand the publication to be referring to you. For example, a Facebook post that says: ‘the person that drives the green Mitsubishi is the one that keeps stealing everyone’s money’ would be of concern to you if you drive a green Mitsubishi and were identified by those who read the publication.
It is irrelevant whether or not the person who published the post intended to refer to you, or even knows you.
Social media platforms and websites that enable readers to add their own comments, share publications, and give reviews about businesses or products have made it incredibly easy to proliferate defamatory material, and the impact of a single comment can be exponential. The application of the law in this space is complex and developing, and can be a minefield. Whether you host or monitor a Facebook group, online publication or website, or you are a business trying to manage inexplicable Google reviews, our expert defamation lawyers are ready to help you navigate the tricky issues involved.