The following Information Law guidance note Produced in partnership with 5RB provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
It is an essential ingredient of an action for libel or slander that there has been communication of a defamatory statement to a person other than the claimant.
For a written publication to occur, the words in question must be read and understood by a third party.
For an oral publication to occur, the words must be apprehended and understood by a third party.
In practice a claimant brings one action in relation to multiple publications. Each communication is, in principle, a separate and distinct publication giving rise to a separate cause of action although section 8 of the Defamation Act 2013 (DA 2013) has moderated this principle for the purposes of the limitation of the action (see below).
You may wish to refer to Duncan and Neill on Defamation (fourth edition, 2015) available subject to a Lexis®Library subscription.
At common law, anyone who involves themselves in the communication of a defamatory statement may, in principle, be liable for that publication. Potential defendants include:
the commercial publisher
the proprietor of the publication medium
any person who causes a publication but is not its author
The following principles are relevant to the issue of responsibility for publication:
those taking subordinate or 'secondary' roles
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