Clough & Willis Solicitors, Commercial and private legal services UK


Defamation is the catch all term for libel (a published defamation) and slander (generally spoken words which are not recorded). Broadcasts, plays put on in public and publications on the internet are libels.

Beware Social Media! Tweeting, Facebook postings are all "publication" for defamation purposes.  Re tweeting a defamatory tweet can make you equally liable as a publisher of a defamation.  Commenting or sharing a post on Facebook is also a publication.

For more details on any defamation matter please speak to me Chris Macwilliam on freephone 0800 083 0815 or by email

 I have set out below an introduction to defamation law which I hope you may find helpful. 

NOTE: The information below is an introduction to this complex field. It is not intended to replace specific advice and, necessarily compresses some legal issues for ease of understanding .

In business terms the most obvious defamation is to suggest that a competitor is insolvent - or similar words e.g. "gone bust”, "gone under”. Tim has advised on a number of such cases, acting for victims and offenders.

Other allegations would include illegal behaviour on the part of a business; poor quality goods or services; that a business is under investigation by the authorities; that it has evaded tax; that it is corrupt.

Allegations against directors of a business may also defame the business as well as the individuals concerned. 

The limitation period for defamation is one year which may be from date of publication or from date of loss. The Court may extend the time - but this is rare.

Defamation is governed by a pre-action protocol and usually begins with a letter written in compliance with the protocol's terms. This needs careful preparation and to be written for the specific allegations in each case.

Where a defamation is being repeated urgent action may be needed to obtain an injunction. This may be on notice or where absolute urgency is required "ex parte” i.e. without notice to the Defendant.

When considering whether there has been a libel the Court may consider the words on their face (the literal meaning); an inference which may be drawn from the words; an implication which can be drawn from the words; innuendo which can be drawn from the words.

Proof of actual damage is not necessary in libel cases.  There will be a presumption that the Claimant has suffered loss.

Where a finding is made in favour of the Claimant the following may be awarded: an injunction; damages to compensate for injury to reputation; damages to compensate for hurt feelings; damages to restore the Claimant's public reputation. Aggravated, Special and Exemplary damages may sometimes be recovered.


We have been using Clough & Willis for ten years and found them to be very efficient in all aspects of their work. What I like about their firm is that they cover a wide variety of legal services and are very quick to respond to our needs.

Nigel Compsty, Managing Director
H Compsty & Son Ltd

The contact for my name change and divorce was Marie Whittaker who again was completely professional and gave me complete confidence from out first meeting. My divorce proceeded smoothly, quickly and efficiently. I was updated regularly by letters and phone calls.

Comments taken from client satisfaction survey

"Level of service seems just right. The friendly, helpful staff explained procedures well and made everything clear."

Comments taken from client satisfaction survey

"The team are a pleasure to work with, friendly but always professional in their dealings. Following the successful sale of my business to Veolia Environmental Services plc, I continue to play a key role in the business. I would recommend Clough & Willis to business owners."

Chris Wright Recycling
H Chris Wright

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, personally, and on behalf of the Directors of SRS for all the time and work you put into the successful MBO. Professional at all times, your advice was client focused and to the point, and we were particularly impressed at your ability to work to a tight schedule, ensuring we completed on our deadline date."

Alex Docherty,
Director Sound Reduction Systems

Throughout the whole process, Clough & Willis kept me well informed and my stress levels to non-existent. I felt completely looked after with the team taking care of my best interests, I felt they had complete control and it was very reassuring.

Comments taken from client satisfaction survey

From first contact to the last, everyone has been very professional and reassuring through what has been an emotional and stressful time for us and without the help of your company it would have been much more difficult for me and my husband.

Comments taken from client satisfaction survey

I was very impressed with your firm at the outset when I first called in November 2009 after my uncles death. All staff from the receptionist and secretary through to the Partners were professional, friendly and helpful and provided the best response out of the 3 Bury firms I called.

Comments taken from client satisfaction survey

Clough & Willis are very understanding and made me feel valued, they showed me respect knowing I was albeit apprehensive of dealings within the legal profession and their workings

Comments taken from client satisfaction survey

Besides being professional Clough & Willis are also friendly and kind, making one feel relaxed able to communicate easily about the business in hand which they see to efficiently keeping in contact continually. Thank you for all you did.

Krystyna Bzdega

From reception through secretarial to solicitor the approach and attention to detail in handling my case was professional and gave me confidence that the matter would be handled to my satisfaction.

Mr M Booth

I have dealt with Clough & Willis for years since we moved to the area from Manchester and both my husband and I always appreciated your helpfulness and professionalism. Thank you

Theresa Moreen Woolley

Lorraine, I would just like to say "thank you very much" for all your hard work and assistance in the letting of the above property. The negotiations were somewhat protracted, due to a breakdown on my client's side, and I feel that your persistence and hard work led to the eventual lease completion. I look forward to working with you in the near future. Kind regards, Neil Higson, for and on behalf of Nolan Redshaw Ltd

Nolan Redshaw Chartered Surveyors

We have been impressed with the friendly professionalism of all staff, Rebecca Green has been wonderfully helpful, thorough, patient, kind and supportive. Her reassuring guidance has made some very sad and difficult times easier to bear. We hope Rebecca receives recognition for her excellent service.

Testimonial from Mr & Mrs Smith