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Case Study on tort of Defamation (Relevant to AAT Examination Paper 6: Fundamentals of Business Law) Alfred Chan, Solicitor There has been an increase in the number of defamation cases which have gone to court. In the two scenarios cases that follow, both of which are taken from recent court cases, we can see examples of legal issues in defamation and how one can approach them. Hopefully this will improve your technique in answering problem-solving type questions. First to refresh your memory, in defamation: 1. The plaintiff has to prove a. the statement is defamatory and it refers to him b. there is publication of the statement c. whether there should be special damages for slander. 2 The defendant can defend by showing the statement…show more content…
You will have to explain further in your script. Has there been any malice? The rationale behind qualified privilege is that there are circumstances when there is a need, in the public interest, for a particular recipient to receive frank and uninhibited communication of particular information from a particular source. If a person’s dominant motive is not to perform this duty or protect this interest, he is outside the ambit of that defence. He can however show to the court he genuinely believes (even if stubbornly) what he uttered. This would impact on what the court thinks his dominant motive was. So you can see this is not an open and shut case as it first appears. You should form a view to the outcome and justify it by sufficient explanation. (Note: in the fair comment defence there is a similar but not identical concept of malice.) ************************* -2- CASE 2 Defame Daily is a newspaper with a wide circulation. One day it ran a front page story ‘Solicitor feared to have absconded with clients’ funds’. There was also a photo of the front of an office bearing the name ‘Money Ho & Co’ next to the story. The newspaper published the article based on information given by a caller to its hotline but it did not verify the facts. Later it found it had made a mistake and immediately published an apology. The sole proprietor of the firm Money Ho was pregnant during this period. She was depressed and this led to a pre-term delivery.

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