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1. You should be on guard against making statements which could be defamatory. A defamatory statement is one which injures the reputation of another person: it "tends to lower him in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally1".
2. Such a statement constitutes a "libel" if it is:
3. A statement will amount to a "slander" if it is
4. An action for defamation can be brought by:
5. An action for defamation cannot be brought by a Local Authority2 nor by any other public authority.
6. Section 1(1) of the 2013 Defamation Act introduced a new test which provides that a statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant. This is qualified by s 1(2) in that for the purposes of the section, harm to the reputation of a body that trades for profit is not "serious harm" unless it has caused or is likely to cause the body serious financial loss.
7. There are a number of defences to an action for defamation, including:
8. Absolute privilege attaches to:
9. Qualified privilege attaches:
10. Statements must not be published `maliciously'. Reports are published with `malice' if the publisher knew the report was untrue, or was reckless as to its truth, or intended to injure the complainant8.
11. Where there are good reasons for HSE to issue a press release after a particular case has been heard, Press Office should be contacted immediately. Any comment should be published as soon as possible.
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