What do you do if you have been defamed?
If you believe that you have been defamed, then the first step in a defamation action is to issue a Concerns Notice. This notice will usually outline the date on which the defamatory statements were made, what was said, the defamatory imputations that stem from the publication, who the statements were published to and the remedy sought.
The publisher of the defamatory statement will then have an opportunity to make an Offer to Make Amends in order to avoid the defamation action being pursued further.
What is a Concerns Notice?
Under section 14(2) of the Defamation Act 2005 (Qld) a notice constitutes a Concerns Notice if:
- It is in writing; and
- Informs the publisher of the defamatory imputations that the aggrieved person considers to be present.
What are defamatory imputations?
Defamatory imputations are the implications that an ordinary reader would draw from the published statements. These insinuations can be drawn in three ways:
- By giving the words their true meaning;
- By reading between the lines; or
- By reading the statements in context with the rest of the publication.
There can be several defamatory imputations that stem from the one statement. It is important that all defamatory imputations are outlined in the Concerns Notice.
When can an Offer to Make Amends be made?
The publisher of the defamatory material has 28 days, from the date of receiving the Concerns Notice, in which to make an Offer to Make Amends.
An offer to make amends may include, but is not limited to:
- A written apology;
- A retraction of the defamatory statements;
- A letter written by the publisher outlining that each statement published is untrue;
- Publication of a correction;
- A promise not to publish future defamatory statements; or
An offer to make amends must be in writing and be readily identifiable as an Offer to Make Amends.
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