"No Win No Fee" Available for Defamation Cases

Judith Thompson

Defamation cases can be costly and time consuming to bring. However, where you have a claim with good prospects of success and your opponent has the means to pay an order for costs or damages, we may be able to help you with your claim for defamation, under the terms of a conditional fee agreement, also known as a no win no fee agreement. 

If solicitors act for you under the terms of a no win no fee agreement for a defamation of character case, there will be a success fee that needs to be paid, if the case wins. Defamation cases were unusual, as it was possible to recover that success fee from your opponent. However, the law changed some years ago, and now clients have to cover that success fee themselves, usually paying it from their damages. 


What is defamation of character?

There are two main types of defamation of character: 

  • Libel, is when someone publishes a false statement that damages your reputation.
  • Slander, is a false spoken statement that damages your reputation.

In either case, you have to be able to prove that serious harm as been caused to your reputation, as a result of the defamation of your character. 


How to prove serious harm as a result of defamation of character

In order to have a claim against your opponent as a result of their defamation of your character, you have to be able to prove that their statement has caused you serious harm. This means that that harm caused to you cannot be trivial, and each case will be decided on its own facts. 

Examples of the harm caused by defamatory statements are:

  • making people think less of you - this can have serious consequences for you if the people who think less of your are your family members, friends, or your work colleagues;
  • disparaging you in your business - if you are a member of a particular profession, or if you run a particular type of business, the defamatory statement can be very harmful if it relates to how you do your job, or run your business;
  • causing you to be shunned or avoided - this could mean you are expelled from membership of a club or organisation, or you are not asked to join in social activities that you had previously enjoyed; or
  • exposing you to ridicule, contempt and hatred - this can often be a consequence if the defamation of your character has happened on social media.


Remedies for defamation of character

If you or your business are the victim of defamation of character, you could make a claim against the publisher of the untrue statement, seeking an apology, damages, an injunction to prevent your opponent making the same statements again in future, and your legal costs.

In many cases, if you have a strong claim, your opponent will voluntarily agree to apologise to you, and to give you an undertaking not to repeat the defamation again. 

If your opponent apologises to you, you can require them to publish that apology as part of your settlement with them. For example, if the original defamatory statement appeared on social media, you could ask them to publish the apology on the same account or page, and to leave it there for a specified period of time. In addition, you can publish the apology yourself, and show it to whoever you want. 


How to bring a claim for defamation of character

If you have suffered from defamation of character, you have to bring your claim within 1 year. After that, it can be very hard to bring a claim, and so it is best to contact a solicitor as soon as you can. 

You should also preserve any evidence you have of the untrue statements which have harmed you. This means that if the defamation has been published on social media, you should take screenshots of the post, and of any comments, likes, or shares which appear afterwards. 

At Samuels, we understand that the costs of bringing a defamation claim can be daunting. However, we will always discuss your funding options with you at the outset. Defamation was one of the few areas where  traditional CFAs, or "no win no fee" agreements were still allowed. This has now changed, but we are still able to help you with your claim for defamation of character

We are a niche litigation practice with particular expertise in defamation of character claims, and all types of reputation management work.

Contact us to speak to one of our experts today. You have to act quickly or you could lose your right to claim, so call today.


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