The comments may be libellous and/or slanderous allegations. Slander is spoXXXXX XXXXXbel is written
You have prove that the words are defamatory, that the words would be understood to refer to you by even one other person; and that the words have been published to a third party.
A libel claimant does not have to prove that the words are false or to prove that he has in fact suffered any loss. Damage is presumed. A slander claimant will need to prove that the defamatory allegations caused actual damage, unless the slander is within certain categories.
There is no set definition of 'defamatory'. A statement may be considered to be defamatory if it tends to do any one of the following:
- lower the claimant in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally;
- disparage a claimant in his business, trade, office or profession;
- expose the claimant to hatred, ridicule or contempt; or
- cause the claimant to be shunned or avoided.
Let me warn you now, libel and slander cases are the preserve of the very rich.
Of course fair opinion is not Libel or Slander. So, if I say that "In my opinion ABC is not as good an athlete as XYZ", that is not slander, it is an opinion.
Speaking/writing truth even if defamatory, is not slander/libel but the "offender" may have to prove it true , the recipient does not have to prove it untrue.
BUT you cannot hide behind "In my opinion",. So you can't say "In my opinion he is a thief and a liar with 27 failed marriages behind him". It must be fair opinion with some kind of basis for the opinion.
You can get a solicitor to write to the offender refuting these allegations and advising them that unless these allegation cease forthwith, and there uis a retraction/apology you will make an application to court for an injunction preventing them making any such allegations in future. If they do make any they will be in contempt of court and liable to arrest. The solicitor should threaten to seek the costs of the court proceedings from them. They should also threaten to apply for damages in respect of tarnished reputation.
If you don't want to spend £lots, there is little you can do other than complain or write a solicitors really snotty letter threatening an application for an injunction and costs. BUT..
There is one final thing you can do: Go to the Police and ask them to warn here under the Protection from Harassment Act. She is harassing you and it is a criminal offence. Some Police forces dismiss this so you may need to be firm. If necessary, ask to speak to high ranking officer. If they still do nothing, make a formal complaint. Police are undera duty to stop you being harassed.
Hopefully, the allegations will stop. It is likely to be jealousy unless you have aggrieved her in some way.
If you go to court for an injunction to stop her without proof that she has done this your application will be a costly failure, £2000 at least.
A slander/libel claim will be £10,000 plus. and her cost too if you lose
A solicitors letter threatening court action may help.
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