Your reputation or your business’ reputation rests on the opinion of others, and thus, it can be easily compromised. The recent increase in technology has made it possible for anyone to disperse information about you or your business to a broad audience through the internet. These days, a ruined reputation is just a post, tweet or blog comment away, which is why it is important to address any and all defamatory statements as soon as possible. The longer the words linger, the more damage they will do. In Canada, the law recognizes that every person has the right to protect their reputation from being damaged by false statements. A legal claim indicating that an individual or business has experienced a loss in reputation is known as an action in defamation.
Defamation consists of any written, printed or spoken words which tend to lower a person in the estimation of others or cause a person to be shunned or avoided or exposed to hatred, contempt or ridicule. In a defamation action, the plaintiff is required to prove 3 things to obtain a judgment and an award for damages:
- That the impugned words were defamatory, in the sense that they would tend to lower the plaintiff’s reputation in the eyes of a reasonable person;
- That the words in fact referred to the plaintiff;
- That the words were published, meaning that they were communicated to at least one person other than the plaintiff.
Although the scope of defamatory statements is very wide, any impugned statement is not actionable if it is the truth, fair comment, protected by privilege or a responsible communication based on matters of public interest.
At De Bousquet Law, we understand the subtleties of defamation law in Canada and how it applies to information disseminated through the internet. We also understand that defamation law involves balancing your reputation or your business reputation with freedom of expression.
We have extensive expertise in all aspects of defamation law and regularly act for both plaintiffs and defendants. We can also provide pre-publication and pre-broadcast advice for local media clientele. If you are deciding whether to sue in defamation or how to respond to a defamation lawsuit, we can guide you through all of the strategic considerations.