Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.

Defamation Act 2013 : cases ?

(18 Posts)
TalkinPeace Sat 08-Feb-14 20:18:26

Good evening all,

I've been hauled over due to a post I made.

Is there any case law yet on what actually classifies under Section 1
and whether Website providers can reject a section 5 request until evidence of Section 1 breach is provided?

Also what leeway is available under Section 3 and whether the actions of the litigant can be deemed to turn section 3 into section 2 ....

Hope that makes sense.

prh47bridge Sat 08-Feb-14 21:21:53

If a website operator refuses a section 5 request they have lost their defence against. It is therefore sensible for them to take a cautious approach and either enable the complainant to resolve the issue with the poster or remove posts that are reported as libellous unless they clearly are not.

I am not sure what you mean by leeway under section 3 and I don't understand how you think the litigant's actions could "turn section 3 into section 2". You need to consult a lawyer specialising in libel and slander if you need authoritative answers.

TalkinPeace Sat 08-Feb-14 21:30:30

Hi there prh
Do you have a link to show that section 5 comes before section 1?
I don't doubt you but this is very new legislation.

My comment was, I thought, pretty innocuous - proving "harm" from it will be interesting
It won't take you long to find the discussion in question!

LadyMaryLikesCake Sat 08-Feb-14 21:36:52

The fundamentals of UK law is that they can not change the past. It would be pretty silly to make a law in 2014 that legislated prior to this - you could find that you were arrested in 2035 for spitting on the floor in 2014 because there's a new law in 2034 or something so it's just impractical. See what I mean? If it's a previous problem then it will come under the previous laws and regs, not the new ones. HTH.

TalkinPeace Sat 08-Feb-14 21:42:14

The post was made this year - the thread in question commenced on 29th January, so it will definitely be the 2013 Act
I have no problem with that

but what I am trying to ascertain is the rights of websites to ask for proof of "harm"
and whether there have been definitions of "harm" that might or might not halt a claim.

LadyMaryLikesCake Sat 08-Feb-14 21:44:23

You're probably best off getting legal advice from a specialist solicitor for this as it's not your bog standard query. smile

TalkinPeace Sat 08-Feb-14 21:46:20

Too true,
But mainly I was wondering whether any of the excellent people on this board would be able to direct me to any current case info : I suspect there isn't any due to the timelag of cases

the thread is quite an amusing read, even in its bowlderised state!

LadyMaryLikesCake Sat 08-Feb-14 21:50:12

Maybe it's something you should take up with MNHQ if it's about a post on here? They will 'be in the know'.

TalkinPeace Sat 08-Feb-14 21:58:00

MNHQ have been hit with the Section 5 : they have been great
but I'm trying to find out both theirs and my position.
Many of the other people who got the same email have had their posts deleted
I have chosen not to as I believe in free speech
have to balance rightness and sanity

hence my search for current legal thought about what will get through section 1
and whether 5 comes before 1

LadyMaryLikesCake Sat 08-Feb-14 22:00:14

From what I cab gather these are pretty new amendments so you really should get in touch with a specialist defamation lawyer. I can have a hunt to see if I can find one for you if it helps?

LadyMaryLikesCake Sat 08-Feb-14 22:00:28

can, not cab. Sorry.

Nyborg Sat 08-Feb-14 22:02:32

The 2013 Act only came into force on 1 January 2014 - no case would make it to full trial in that time. If there have been relevant proceedings for emergency injunctions this year, I'm not aware of them.

TalkinPeace Sat 08-Feb-14 22:08:44

Hopefully it will never come to that!
The 'complainant' has gone for several posters
many have gone for the peaceful approach, a couple of others seem to be bloody minded like me.

I'd be incredibly and utterly grateful if you could keep and eye and ear out ...

for amusements sake, this is what I'm in about

prh47bridge Sun 09-Feb-14 00:42:39

It is not a question of section 5 coming before section 1. That isn't how it works. It is not for a website operator to judge whether or not section 1 has been contravened. That is up to the courts. But when the website operator receives a complaint they have limited time to act.

If a school (or anyone else) notifies Mumsnet that a post is defamatory Mumsnet has 48 hours to deal with the complaint. Within that time they must either enable the complainant to resolve their dispute with the poster or remove the post. The clock starts ticking as soon as Mumsnet receive a complaint with the prescribed information and does not stop for any reason. If at the end of 48 hours Mumsnet has failed to take the required action they lose their section 5 defence and can be sued along with the poster. The courts will then decide whether or not section 1 has been breached.

Libel damages can be very high. If Mumsnet receives a complaint and ignore it their insurers may be able to refuse cover. It is therefore sensible for Mumsnet to treat any complaint that a post is defamatory seriously and take appropriate action unless they are very confident that the post is not libellous.

By removing your post Mumsnet is not judging whether or not you have defamed the school. They are simply protecting their own position. It means the school can sue you (provided they can identify you) but any action they take against Mumsnet will fail.

TalkinPeace Sun 09-Feb-14 13:02:40

Thank you prh that makes sense.

I'll be interested to see how the definitions of "serious harm" start to pan out.

CouthyMow Sun 09-Feb-14 13:19:07

Would the poster have the initials JH by any chance?!

TalkinPeace Sun 09-Feb-14 13:25:54

No, nothing to do with him.
I linked to the thread in question last night at 22.08
Its all a bit fluffy compared with the JH stuff smile

babybarrister Sun 09-Feb-14 15:26:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: