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What is Defamatory?

Although by no means an exhaustive list, subject to a claimant being able to satisfy the 'serious harm' test, the following are likely to be defamatory and potentially actionable:

  • Individual, X, (who may or may not be named explicitly) has committed some criminal or seriously anti-social act ...
  • X is a liar, is dishonest or has committed a fraudulent act ...
  • X took a bribe; X tried to bribe Y ...
  • X stole from Y; X is a thief ...
  • X is violent or abusive in some way ...
  • X damaged Y's property ...
  • X is a drug dealer, a drug user or, simply, 'is involved in' drugs ...
  • X is a hypocrite ...
  • X is bankrupt; is nearly bankrupt or has serious financial problems ...
  • X owes money which he won't (or can't) pay back ...
  • X sexually assaulted or harassed Y ...
  • X is sexually perverted in some way ...
  • X had sex with an underage girl or boy; X is a paedophile ...
  • X is cheating on his wife/her husband or his/her long term partner ...
  • X is gay, when X is married to someone of the opposite sex, or claims publicly not to be gay ...
  • X has a sexually transmitted disease ...
  • X has had plastic surgery (when it's been denied previously) ...
  • X 'framed' Y for a crime ...
  • X (particularly policeman) planted evidence, 'fitted up' Y, forced an untrue confession ...
  • X was negligent in some way, was guilty of a dereliction of duty ...
  • X harassed Y, was a nuisance ...
  • X's activities are putting others at risk, in danger, damaging the environment ...
  • X exploits others in some way ...
  • Company Z is dishonest (for whatever reason) ...
  • Z's products are dangerous or unhealthy, for example cause cancer ...
  • Z's products are substandard, of poor quality...
  • Z's methods of production, operating methods or activities are putting employees, customers, the public at risk in some way ...
  • Z's activities are damaging the environment ...
  • Z exploits its workers in some way, for example uses child labour, low pay, uses sweat shops ...
  • Z is bankrupt, is nearly bankrupt or is in financial trouble ...