Clough & Willis Solicitors, Commercial and private legal services UK

Personal Defamation

If you have been the victim of personal defamation, whether at work, online or in your private life, Clough & Willis can help you make a claim for damages against those guilty of the defamatory comments.

Defamation is legally defined as a statement, written or spoken, which lowers the victim in the minds of right thinking members of society, or causes him to be shunned, avoided, or exposes him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or disparages him in his office, profession, calling, trade or business. 

In traditional terms, slander is defamation using the spoken word and libel is published in print. To claim damages for slander you must show loss, whilst for libel you do not need to prove loss as the damage is presumed. In today's world broadcasting defamatory material on television, or publishing it on the internet via Twitter or any other medium is permanent and constitutes libel.

Defamatory statements

Examples of defamatory statements include allegations of:

  • Fraud
  • Dishonesty
  • Being investigated/under suspicion of a crime
  • Racism, homophobia, or sexism
  • Guilt
  • Sexual crimes
  • Mental illness
  • Avoiding debts

Allegations of mental illness may be defamatory if they have an impact on the victim's ability to conduct his or her profession or calling. Defamation is governed by a pre-action protocol that usually begins with a letter written in compliance with the protocol's terms. This needs be carefully prepared and detail the specific allegations in each case.

Proof of damages

Proof of actual damage is not necessary in libel cases. There will be a presumption that the claimant had suffered loss and the more serious the allegation, the higher the payout of damages. If defamation is being repeated, for example on television or in the printed press, it is common for a victim to obtain an injunction. This may be done without informing the defendant.

Rulings in favour of the claimant

When a finding is made in favour of the claimant the following may be awarded:

  • An injunction
  • Damages to compensate injury to reputation
  • Damages to compensate hurt feelings
  • Damages to restore the claimant's public reputation
  • Aggravated, special or exemplary damages

When making a defamation claim, claimants are not entitled to legal aid and must pay for legal fees themselves.

Contact Clough-Willis

If you have been the victim of defamation contact Clough & Willis Solicitors today to find out how we can help you. Phone us for free on 0800 083 0815 or email Chris Macwilliam at


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