litigation and dispute resolution

Defamation

With Victor Legal in your corner, we will work tirelessly to prevent any further defamation from occurring while ensuring you receive a suitable remedy. There are strict timeframes surrounding defamation cases; if you believe you have been defamed, get in touch with our team now.

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Defamation Law in Queensland:
What you need to know

If you have been defamed in Queensland, it is important to take action quickly. The Defamation Act 2005 (Qld) sets a 1-year limitation period for bringing defamation proceedings. This means that you have 12 months from the date the defamatory material is first published to take legal action. If you delay, you may lose your right to sue. At Victor Legal, we can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of taking legal action.

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We have extensive experience in dealing with defamation matters in Queensland.


The Serious Harm Threshold

In Queensland, a new ‘serious harm’ threshold has been introduced. This means that a claimant aggrieved by a defamatory matter will now have to establish that the publication has caused or is likely to cause ‘serious harm’ to their reputation. The small group of corporate claimants that are eligible to bring defamation actions (not-for-profit companies and companies with fewer than 10 employees) will also need to establish that the publication has caused, or is likely to cause, serious financial loss.

There is yet to be a case considering the meaning of this new ‘serious harm’ threshold. However, cases considering similar legislation in the UK have held that, whether a defamatory publication causes ‘serious harm’ may depend on: the actual impact of the defamatory words (which may be assessed by reference to a number of factors) and the inherent tendency of the defamatory words to cause harm.

Concerns Notices 

Section 12A of the Defamation Act makes the use of concerns notices compulsory. A concerns notice is a formal request for an apology or retraction. It must be in writing. When preparing a concerns notice, it’s important to provide as much detail and context as possible. State the defamatory imputations and the significant harm that the injured party believes has been done to them in order for your concerns notice to be considered by the court. If feasible, include a copy of the defamatory remarks with your notification.

Defences

A new provision has been added to protect journalists and media organizations in situations where they are reporting on matters of public interest. The introduction of this new defence reflects the Queensland government’s commitment to protecting freedom of speech. 

Similarly, the ‘scientific or academic peer review’ defence has been broadened to better protect those engaged in public debate.

Cap on damages for non-economic loss

The Act prescribes a maximum amount of damages that can be awarded for non-economic loss. Non-economic loss is presently limited to $421,000 in accordance with the Act, which specifies that damages for non-economic loss are capped on a scale or range. Additionally, section 35 of the Act now expressly requires that aggravated damages (if any) be calculated and compensated separately from awards for damages for non-economic loss.

This is not an exhaustive list of the changes to Queensland’s defamation laws. If you have been defamed, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. The experienced team at Victor Legal can help you understand your rights and advise you on the best course of action.

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