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Joe Hockey Defamation trial

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Recent media coverage has focussed on the Treasurer’s defamation case against Fairfax Media claiming damages in the vicinity of $1 million for alleged defamatory comments made about him.  That case remains undecided.

In the age of social media internet defamation claims have increased.  The almost instantaneous publication of claims and comments about individuals and companies can, in cases such as Mr Hockey’s give rise to a sustainable claim for defamation.

Defamation is a cause of action arising from someone making false claims or comments about another person or company which causes harm to their reputation.  In order to defame a company or person the words must:

  1. have a defamatory meaning;
  2. identify the person defamed; and
  3. be published.

In order to recover damages for being defamed you must show that you have suffered as a direct result of the defamatory comments.

The most commonly used defences to a defamation claim are:

  1. the comments are substantially true;
  2. the alleged perpetrator unintentionally disseminated the information; and
  3. there was no damage suffered.

Our dispute resolution and litigation lawyers have provided advice to companies and individuals aggrieved by potentially defamatory comments about them with solutions ranging from informal resolution or public apologies to Supreme Court action.

For more information about defamation claims, please contact our Dispute Resolution & Litigation team by email litigation@mst.com.au or by telephone +61 8540 0200.