Q&As

Is there a risk of a claim for defamation being made against a company as a result of statements made at a company meeting? What defences are available?

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Produced in partnership with Joshua Marshall of Fieldfisher
Published on LexisPSL on 13/06/2017

The following TMT Q&A Produced in partnership with Joshua Marshall of Fieldfisher provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Is there a risk of a claim for defamation being made against a company as a result of statements made at a company meeting? What defences are available?

This Q&A focusses on the situation where the statement made was oral. This considers libel and slander generally, rather than by reference to statements of a certain nature.

The starting point is to determine the medium in which the statement was made or communicated. If the statement was spoken or oral, the correct cause of action would be slander. If the statement was written, the correct cause of action would be libel. At the outset, it should be noted that libel and slander proceedings are inherently fact sensitive, with liability hinging on the specific facts of the case.

Under the common law, a statement was defamatory where it caused, or was likely to cause, a substantially adverse effect on the claimant’s reputation. However, section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 (DA 2013) requires that a statement have caused, or be likely to cause, serious reputational harm to the claimant before it qualifies as ‘defamatory’. Where the claimant is a body that trades for profit, serious harm means serious financial loss. It is, therefore, necessary to determine about whom the statemen

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