Defamation Compensation Lawyers - Canada Libel & Slander Law
Whilst freedom of speech is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. there are limits as to what is acceptable and individuals have the right to protect their reputation from defamation which includes untrue allegations made verbally, known as slander and written statements that are offensive and do not represent reality, known as libel. Canadian defamation law has developed in a piece meal fashion and includes both common law based on previously decided cases and State legislation both of which vary throughout the country. Although defamation law has changed recently there is still no uniform defamation compensation law which has been enacted throughout Canada although all states prohibit the dissemination of defamatory comments, specifically, spoken or written words that discredit an individual in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally.
Libel & Slander
Defamation is defined as communication through the spoken word or through images which is untrue and which lowers the victim’s reputation to members of the community or which damages a person’s reputation in their business, profession or trade. Defamation through spoken words is known as slander and defamation through images which includes writing is known as libel although the law does not really differentiate between them, referring to both as instances of defamation. Publication of defamatory matter by way of libel or slander constitutes a sufficient act upon which a Canadian defamation compensation lawyer can base the issue of legal proceedings by way of a civil summons in a court of law. In all cases where a matter proceeds to trial, it is the judge or the jury if appropriate, who sets the level of compensatory damages to be awarded after hearing representations from both sides defamation lawyers.
There are a number of potential defences used by defamation compensation lawyers to repudiate an allegation of libel or slander, generally termed as 'truth', 'fair comment', 'qualified privelege' and 'absolute privelege' which may include :-
- Justification – if the allegation is true or substantially true.
- Triviality – if the allegation is unlikely to cause harm.
- Absolute Privilege – publication during parliamentary proceedings.
- Public Documents – including parliamentary papers & court proceedings and judgements
- Fair Report – proceedings of parliamentary bodies & international organisations.
- Qualified Privilege – including non malicious references and complaints to police
- Honest Opinion – rather than a statement of fact on a matter of public interest.
Determination of the level of damages to be awarded is dealt with by a judge or a jury, after hearing representations from both sides defamation compensation solicitors. The amount of the award must, by law, relate to the harm suffered and generally covers actual financial losses and a sum for hurt feelings and damage to reputation. The court does have discretion to make unlimited awards known as aggravated damages or punitive damages in cases of recklessness or malice.
In general terms there is a limitation period, meaning that claims must be settled or proceedings must have been issued in a court of law within the relevant time limit following publication of the defamatory material, failing which the opportunity to claim compensation may have been lost forever. The court does have a rarely exercised discretion.
Defamation Compensation Lawyers
Matters relating to slander and libel are notoriously difficult areas of law. If you have suffered harm due to the publication of defamatory material, it is essential that you take urgent legal advice on damage limitation and to ensure that you receive compensation and an appropriate apology. Our defamation compensation lawyers are specialists in dealing with libel and slander compensation claims. If you would like to speak to a lawyer for initial advice, with no charge and no further obligation simply complete the contact form or email our offices.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7145