Defamation Lawyers

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Our team of expert mediators and litigators, led by Director, Brendan Nyst, is founded on a 40 year history of dispute resolution and a wholesale understanding of the courts.

What is Defamation?

If someone publishes something about you that damages your reputation and it has a tendency to cause people to shun, ridicule or avoid you, then by definition of the Defamation Act, you have been defamed. The law also says if you have been defamed you are entitled to be compensated for that defamation in damages. However, one will need to establish that the offending publication caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the aggrieved person’s reputation in order to bring an action in defamation.

Defamatory publication is very often by writing, such as in a newspaper or blog on the internet or in a letter. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in writing. It may be some verbal statement on either radio, tv or online, or at a public meeting, including informally talking about someone to other people. It could even be something said in relatively private circumstances where someone makes a disparaging comment perhaps to an employer or another business associate, and it causes the person damage.

If that defamation causes you loss, for example if it’s said to your boss and you are fired as a result, or it’s said to your customer or prospective customer and your business suffers as a result, or even if it is said to a complete stranger and your reputation and standing in the community are thereby affected, you have the right to recover damages for that loss.

What can I do if someone defames me?

The Defamation Act 2005 in Queensland sets out a regime for providing notice of defamatory matters to a publisher. This generally involves a letter which sets out the defamatory imputations carried by the matter and requests the removal of the content and perhaps some other relief such as an apology and legal costs. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, then you can take court action.

Defamation on the internet

In recent years, we have seen significant growth in our defamation practice arising from online defamation. An increasing reliance on the internet by both businesses and consumers means companies are much more invested in their online presence than ever before. Small businesses, in particular, are naturally much more conscious of online publications and comments that defame them in some way. Understandably, companies will react swiftly to comments that overstep the mark on social media or in online reviews easily viewable via search engines such as Google.

Generally, there are two ways a business can address defamation online. The first is to demand action from the publishing site or search engines such as Facebook or Google. Suppose these companies are alerted to clearly defamatory content. In that case, they will usually take action to remove the comment or, in the case of Google, remove the link to the offending website.

There has been a raft of recent court cases by Australians bringing claims against these types of companies for failure to remove defamatory publications. The liability of US-based Google Incorporated, which operates the global search engine, to remove defamatory content in Australia has been the subject of extensive recent debate and continues to be litigated in Australian courts. Taking on big multinational companies on those issues can be a somewhat uncertain and unattractive proposition, so more often than not, complaints are directed at the initiating source of the publication.

Are there defences against defamation?

There are various defences to defamation – the most common and obvious one is the defence of substantial truth. If a statement or writing is said to be defamatory, but is shown to be true or substantially true, then that provides a complete defence to any damages action for the defamation.

Even when a statement is not true at all, defences are still available in certain circumstances. For example, when a statement is made in a privileged circumstance such as during parliamentary proceedings or in a court or a tribunal or hearing, the privilege will defeat the defamation claim.

If the defamatory statements are contained in a public document or a fair report of any proceedings of public concern and are published honestly for the information of the public or the advancement of education, then that constitutes a complete defence to the defamation action.

If the maker of the defamatory statement can prove that it was reasonably made for the purposes of providing information to a person with a legitimate interest in the subject, and provided they were not acting maliciously, they will be protected from defamation action. Various other defences include honest opinion, innocent dissemination, and triviality, which can all be raised in defence of actions for damages for defamation. To navigate these complexities effectively, enlisting the help of the best legal team available, and a diverse group of legal professionals, is crucial. This team’s depth of knowledge and breadth of experience ensure that every possible defence is considered and strategically applied to protect your rights and reputation.

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Defamation Legal Fees

Our defamation cases operate on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means you’ll cover fees and expenses as they arise throughout the case. Before you commit to anything, we’ll provide you with a clear cost agreement outlining our fees and the expected costs for your case.

Prior to initiating any work on your behalf, we will provide you with detailed explanations regarding:

Our fees are never based on a fixed percentage of any compensation you might receive if your case succeeds. While this approach is common in the United States, it’s not allowed in Australia. You’ll only ever be charged for the specific work we carry out for you.

Moreover, our commitment to transparency extends beyond fee structures. Throughout the duration of your case, we prioritise clear communication, ensuring you are informed and empowered every step of the way. 

Our team of experienced defamation lawyers in Brisbane is dedicated to providing you with personalised attention and expert guidance, aiming to alleviate any concerns and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Our Latest Defamation Blogs

“…theoretically at least, Ben Roberts-Smith could be prosecuted for War Crimes under Article 8 of the Rome Statute. But the criminal standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt is a much higher bar to be leapt than mere proof on the balance of probabilities, and the ICC already has its hands more than full.” The recent […]

"How dramatically the digital world seems to have jumped way ahead of our institutions and the protections they offer to citizens."
The controversial but tantalizing biopic Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story walks a very fine line between chronicling true events and romanticizing the horrors of cannibalism and murder. Such dark television viewing, however, calls into play a string of ethical and legal implications.

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Contact the Most Renowned Defamation Lawyers in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast Today

For expert assistance from the most esteemed defamation lawyers in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, reach out to our acclaimed legal team today. At Nyst Legal, our experienced team is dedicated to protecting your reputation and advocating for your rights. Whether you’re facing libel, slander or other defamation issues, we provide tailored legal solutions to meet your needs. Explore our comprehensive legal services, including commissions of inquirydomestic violence protection orders and commercial law. Contact us now to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist you