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Reported Defamation cases in the UK have dropped to their lowest level since 2008/2009

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According to figures from Thomson Reuters, 58 cases were brought last year, which is a drop of 8% on the previous year. Whilst this is only a small decrease, it appears that that Defamation Act 2013, which came into force in 2014, has impacted on the confidence of prospective claimants that they will be successful in a claim. Under the Defamation Act 2013, a statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of a claimant. In the case of businesses, the harm to reputation will not be serious harm unless it has caused or is likely to cause serious financial loss.

hlw Keeble Hawson logoDespite the above, we have seen an increase in the number of instructions in respect of potentially defamatory remarks made by individuals on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Such posts can easily reach thousands of people within minutes, which can have a similar (or worse) impact to remarks printed in more traditional print media. The figures seem to reinforce this swing, with an increase in cases being brought against individuals when compared to cases against media organisations and businesses.

Andrew Broadbent regularly advises on defamation cases - for more information, contact Andrew on 0114 252 1416 or email

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