The Easy Distinction between Libel and Slander in Australia

What do these terms mean?

In Australia, both slander and libel refer to defamation. Defamation is a civil offense that occurs when a person makes a statement or publishes material that damages another person’s reputation. However, there are some key differences between slander and libel in Australia.

What does Libel mean?

Libel refers to written or published defamation, including statements made in print, on television or radio broadcasts, or on social media. For example, if someone writes a defamatory post on Facebook about another person or publishes false information about them in a newspaper article, that would be considered libel.

To submit a claim of libel, the plaintiff must prove that the statement was made, that it was defamatory, and that it was published or communicated to a third party.

What does Slander mean?

Slander, on the other hand, refers to spoken defamation, which occurs when a person makes a defamatory statement about another person that is heard by a third party. For example, if someone spreads false rumors about a person’s personal life or business practices to others, that would be considered slander. In order to establish a claim of slander, the plaintiff must prove that the statement was made, that it was defamatory, and that it was heard by a third party.

What are the differences between Libel and Slander?

The differences relate to the medium in which the statement or material is published and the burden of proof required to establish a claim of defamation.

One key difference between slander and libel in Australia is the burden of proof required to establish a claim of defamation. In a slander case, the plaintiff must prove that the defamatory statement caused them actual harm, such as financial loss or damage to their reputation. In a libel case, however, the law presumes that the publication of defamatory material has caused harm. If the defendant wishes to oppose the claim, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to prove that the statement was true or that they had a valid defence for making the statement.

Another key difference is the time limit for bringing forward a claim. In Australia, a person has only one year from the date of publication, or when the comment in question was made, to make a claim for defamation, regardless of whether the defamation was in the form of slander or libel.

What is Defamation?

The law on slander and libel in Australia is governed by the Defamation Act of 2005. This act provides a legal framework for individuals who have been defamed and seek to sue for damages. However, the Defamation Act of 2005 abolished the distinction between slander and libel, meaning that both types of defamation are now treated equally in the eyes of the law. This means that the same legal principles apply to both forms of defamation, and plaintiffs can sue for damages in either case.

If you believe that you have been defamed and decide to pursue legal action, you will need to file a claim in court. The claim must include a detailed account of the defamatory statement and how it has harmed your reputation. You will also need to provide evidence to support your claim, such as witness statements or documentation. Defamation cases can be complex and time-consuming, and it is important to be prepared for the process.

Legal Advice:

If you believe that you’ve been the victim of defamation in Australia, it is essential to take action to protect your reputation and seek compensation for any harm caused. You can contact our sister company, Legal Kitz by arranging a FREE 30 minute consultation with one of their highly experienced solicitors by contacting us at or 1300 988 954.

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