Saturday, 29 January 2022

defamation in tort law

 Defamation in tort law

Defamation the term refers to de-faming means putting someone reputation, insulting, saying abusive words in public, an action which can put the person reputation down in an illegal way. In the case of Dixon v. Holden (1869) in this it has explained the term defamation, in which Winfield ‘said that a statement coming out from a person’s mouth which tends to lower or decrease the person’s estimation of right- thinking members of the society generally or which makes then void completely’.

Defamation is considered to be both civil and criminal wrong, it has two types in English Law i.e. 

  • Libel – Representation in permanent form like in newspapers, or through social media, send invalid videos to others. 

  • Slander – Spoken words or gesture, etc

Essentials of Defamation 

  1. The words should not true, it has some invalid words which can cause other person emotionally break down. 

  2. The words coming out from the person should be for a one particular person.

  3. Word should be heard or read to the other person clearly, it need to published, known to the plaintiff, it should be known to the third person like in general public or before any person. 

Words must be false and defamatory 


In the case of south India Railway Co. v. Ramakrishna (1890) in this the railway person who was checking the ticket of the passengers suspected that plaintiff didn’t have the ticket and railway guard suspected, says that he doesn’t have ticket how come get inside the train. When plaintiff showed the ticket, he then files the case, in this court said that the railway guard are bonafide person since this type of situation occurs a lot it can’t comes under the defamation. 

In this word should comes under innuendo which means the word may prima facie be innocent but having also a secondary meaning can be considered to defamatory. This happened similar in the case of Cassidy v. Daily Mirror Newspaper Ltd (1929).

              Words must be defamatory and should refer to plaintiff 

A person should to one particular person while defaming, in the case of Halton & Co. v. Jones (1910) in this defendant using the plaintiff’s name made fictional character and wrote everything about him but in the case defendant was unaware of that such person is there of such name in fictional character in that court said that name is limited there could be many person of similar name and fictional character could be made by any person, when this type of situation arise the defendant should prove that the word which has been published by him were innocently and that as soon as he came to known that these words published by him resulted in the defamation of the plaintiff, an offer of amends(a correction or an apology should be given to that person).

  • Defamation of a class of person – defaming the group of people in one class like using abusive words for the lower grade people, lawyers, police, doctors, etc. so in this a person cannot file a case sine its an general statement made for a group of people.

  • Defamation of the deceased – death person defamation cannot be considered but case could be filed by its deceased relatives.

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