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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7609
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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A misinterpretation of a comment,is being told to people as

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A misinterpretation of a comment,is being told to people as fact,it was made in all innocence and actually I was trying to help a situation.


Thanks for your question.

To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following:-

  • 1. Are you asking whether the statement is defamatory?
  • 2. Is it is, are you asking what you can do about it
  • 3. What specifically is the content and is it untrue (please do not use people's real names)

Kind regards.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

After a friend was a bit flirty with another friends husband,slightly,eye fluttering,the husband said his wife was jealous and they had,had a row about it.At a later function

we all were in the same room together and said lady started to talk to said husband.

Thinking this might become unpleasant,because of husbands comments,as we went to the ladies I commented that said lady was no threat,this has been taken as a real insult by said lady e.g. that their marriage was too fragile to stand a bit of flirting.

She told me on the phone that (everyone she had told agreed that I had said some thing way off and with bad intention)this is untrue.One of the people she told said that she should have batted me in the mouth!

So, are you asking whether the married woman's statements to other people that your private comments to her were an inference of fragility of her marriage are defamatory?


Just to be clear


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Not really its the fact that she is slagging me off to other people,when my comment was harmless,hopefully?



Thanks for your reply.


People are free to say what they like to other people provided that what they say must not be defamatory. In order to be defamatory (ie. Libel or slander), it must:-

  • 1. Be a false statement
  • 2. Communicated publicly (ie. To another person other than the defamor and the defamed
  • 3. Cause damage to the person who is defamed.

We're in tricky territory with your situation if all she is doing is repeating what she said to you or suggesting that you your comment was made with a view to suggesting that he marriage was fragile because neither is technically making a false statement. Were there other false statements made then you could in theory have an action against her.

However defamation actions are extremely expensive (tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees - no legal aid), with a unpredictable degree of success and it is only worth suing a person if they have money against which you could enforce judgement.

The police will not be interested in this obviously, it is a civil matter.

I would attempt to resolves the situation informally and appeal her sense that any comment you made was simply out of wish to support her.

If you cannot resolves your dispute informally with her then you may consider asking a solicitor to write a letter before action to her asking her not to repeat false statements but she will probably know that the expense of a defamation action is prohibitive and so it may inflame the situation.

Sorry it could not be better news, I'm sure it's frustrating.


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I will answer your follow up questions you may have.

Kind regards,


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