Defamation Defence Lawyers


Have you been accused of defamation? We can help you respond to the claim and determine the best defence. 

If you have been accused of defamation and received a Concerns Notice, even if you think the Concerns Notice is baseless, you should seek advice from a defamation lawyer who can help you navigate this complex area of law.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers have a dedicated team of defamation lawyers who can help you defend a defamation claim and achieve a quick resolution of the matter so that you can put this matter behind you.

Our defamation defence lawyers can assist with claims related to:

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For Individuals

A Concerns Notice is a formal written letter sent to the person (or business) responsible for publishing defamatory material which convey meanings which are untrue. 

The notice informs the individual and / or business of the alleged defamation, where the material was published, and evidence of serious harm which was caused to the person’s reputation because of the publication. A Concerns Notice will notify the publisher of the defamatory meanings conveyed in the material and the harm caused as a result and request the defamer make an offer to make amends.

A Concerns Notice must be served prior to commencing legal proceedings.

If you are served with a concerns notice, you will have 28 days from receipt of the notice to make an offer to make amends. An offer to make amends must:

  1. be in writing;
  2. provide that the offer is open for 28 days;
  3. include an offer to publish a reasonable correction of the matter in question;
  4. must include an offer to pay the expenses reasonably incurred by the aggrieved person.

The offer to make amends may also include an offer to provide an apology.

It is important that you serve an offer to make amends, as such offer can resolve the matter, or if the matter remains unresolved, it can be used as a defence to any proceedings commenced by the aggrieved person.

Depending on the unique circumstances of your matter, there are several statutory defences available to use if you have been accused of defamation.  These include.

  1. Justification. This defence requires the defendant to prove that the statement made is substantially true.
  2. Contextual Truth. This defence requires the defendant to prove that the statement carried other imputations which are substantially true, and because of those, the imputations do not further harm the reputation of the plaintiff.
  3. Absolute Privilege. This defence requires the defendant to prove that the statement was made was put in a place where the law states anything goes, for example, in Parliament.
  4. Public Document. This defence requires the defendant to prove that the statement was taken from a public document.
  5. Public Interest. This defence requires the defendant to prove that the publication of the matter was in the interest of the public.
  6. A Fair Report. This defence requires the defendant to prove that the statement was made as part of a public proceeding.
  7. Qualified Privilege. This defence requires the defendant to prove the statement was published to a person who had an interest in having that information and the conduct of the publisher was reasonable in the circumstances.
  8. Honest opinion. This defence required the defendant to prove the statement was an expression of opinion rather than a statement of fact, the opinion is of public interest and the option is based on property material.
  9. Innocent Dissemination. This defence requires the defendant to prove that the defendant was not the primary distributor of the statement or material, the defendant had no knowledge of the matter, and the lack of knowledge was not due to any negligence.

Yes! The plaintiff must commence proceedings within 1 year from the date of publication of the defamatory material, failing which the plaintiff will be barred from pursuing an action in defamation. 

For Companies

In Australia, corporations, who have 10 employees or more, are excluded from bringing an action in defamation. These are referred to as excluded corporations. Although excluded corporations are not eligible to commence an action in defamation, they may have for a cause of action for injurious falsehood in certain circumstances.

An excluded corporation is either:

  1. A not-for-profit organisation;
  2. A small company which employs less than 10 employees.

If someone makes a false representation about another person, or company’s goods or services, and that person or company suffers economic loss because of the false or malicious statement, they may be able to commence an action for what is referred to as “injurious falsehood”.

Defamation Case Law

Defamation cases are on the rise. In the following example cases, we provide a snapshot of some of the developments in defamation law in Australia.

Raynor v Murray​
A dispute between neighbours over an unlocked mailbox led to a NSW judge ordering a $120,000 defamation payout in Raynor v Murray [2019] NSWD 189. The plaintiff, the chair of a Manley apartment building’s strata committee, won his case that an email sent by fellow tenant Patricia Murray to the other residents of the block implied he was a “small-minded busybody” and that the “sneering tenor” of the email attacked his reputation.The decision was later overturned, however, after an appeals court found a defence of qualified privilege was available to Ms Murray.
Read Judgment
Ben Roberts-Smith v Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times, The Age​
A judgment is yet to be handed down in Mr Roberts-Smith’s high-profile defamation case against The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, The Age and three journalists over several 2018 newspaper stories that he alleges portray him as a war criminal, a bully and a domestic abuser. Roberts-Smith, a former SAS corporal and recipient of both the Victoria Cross and Medal for Gallantry, has denied the allegations and the trial involved more than 100 days of evidence. The newspapers are running a truth defence to their reporting.
Read About The Case
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Attwood Marshall Lawyers have experienced defamatory defence lawyers that can help support you if you have been accused of saying or writing something defamatory. We represent defendants in complex defamation disputes. If you need to defend a claim, and want to find out where you stand, contact us today.



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