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Defamation falls into two categories: libel, which covers ‘permanent’ publications such as written allegations in newspapers, brochures, websites and blogs, or allegations broadcast on the television and radio; and slander, which covers spoken words or gestures.

"Payne Hicks Beach is well regarded for its ability to handle high-stakes reputational and defamation matters. A firm that understands high net worth clients and looks after clients very well. They're an excellent firm specialising in this tier." Chambers HNW 2021

Defamation law exists to ensure that an individual, company or organisation can vindicate their reputation if it is unjustly attacked. If you feel you have been libelled or slandered, we can help you restore your good name.

The Defamation Act 2013 came into force at the beginning of 2014. The Act consolidates and modifies the pre-existing law, and most of the substantial changes have been made to assist publishers. For potential Claimants, there are new challenges such as a “serious harm” test to overcome, and corporate Claimants will have to show a serious financial loss (or a likelihood of such a loss) in order to mount an action. There are also significant protections for online publishers. We can and do advise on all aspects of the Act.

By virtue of the nature of this type of work, many of the cases we resolve are confidential. We have, however, been involved in significant recent instructions involving a prominent politician and a newspaper sting, an airline where defamatory internal communications were disseminated online, we obtained damages and an apology for a sports business defamed by a national newspaper and for an independent financial advisor against a firm of solicitors.

Due to Dominic Crossley‘s role in the Leveson Inquiry (advising all of the 54 Core Participant Victims), we have also taken a leading role in the way in which the regulation of newspapers has developed and we are able to advise on the impact this may have on the way in which a client’s case can be managed.

In addition to the Leveson Inquiry, the firm has other experience in dealing with high profile and sensitive investigations and Public Inquiries. Peter Stockwell (former consultant) had a substantial role in the Guildford Four and Bloody Sunday Inquiries.