If your reputation has been damaged as a result of a false and defamatory statement or publication someone has made about you, you may be entitled to compensation and/or injunctive relief under the law of defamation.

If you have been defamed, prompt action is crucial to protect your reputation and avoid further damage.

Our experienced Defamation Lawyers represent both claimants and defendants in relation defamation claims including claims with represented and unrepresented parties.

We understand that when questions about defamation arise, time is usually of the essence.

If you need an answer fast, contact us today for a Free Case Evaluation.

How We Help

Our Defamation Solicitors will quickly evaluate your defamation claim and help you develop practical strategies for redressing damage caused to your reputation. We also assist parties to defend a defamation claim.

Claims for defamation through the Courts can be protracted and expensive to run resulting in significant stress or personal anxiety, particularly if parties are unrepresented or represented by Lawyers who are inexperienced with defamation cases. Where possible, we will endeavour to help you avoid the need to become involved in such Court proceedings or resolve existing proceedings promptly.

Our Approach

Our approach is usually to issue a detailed and effective Concerns Notices at the earliest opportunity and to encourage the offending publisher to seek legal advice without delay so that a proper and timely resolution might be achieved in the interests of all concerned through a reasonable Offer to Make Amends.

If Court proceedings have been commenced by an unrepresented litigant, the pleadings are often defective. When this occurs prompt action is required to address the problem, narrow issues in dispute and/or to have the claim struck out by the Court.

When defamatory publications are ongoing, we can also assist with urgent applications for injunctions.

Defamation Claims

A claim for defamation exists where a statement or publication is made to a third party that carries a defamatory imputation unless:

  • there is an available Defence, or
  • the person is a company with more than 10 employees or a publicly listed company other than a non-for profit organisation.

Defamatory Imputations

The law of defamation is based upon the communication of defamatory meanings (or imputations) and not simply upon the words spoken (or written).

There is no single test for determining whether a statement is defamatory. Examples of the formulations used to define a “defamatory imputation” include imputations which:

  • are likely to lower a person’s reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of the community,
  • injures a person’s reputation by exposing them to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or
  • tends to make the person be shunned or avoided.


The basic Defences available to a claim for defamation are:

  • truth (or justification),
  • contextual truth,
  • absolute or qualified privilege,
  • fair comment about a matter of public interest, and
  • a reasonable Offer to Make Amends.

Time Limits

A claim for defamation is only actionable if brought within a period of 12 months from when the defamatory statement or publication was made.

As Court action is best avoided, where possible, it is usually better to take prompt action to try to minimise or redress any early damage that a defamed person has suffered.

Concerns Notices

To assist parties to avoid the need for Court action, the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) provides that a person who is aggrieved by a defamatory publication may issue a Concerns Notice to the publisher whereafter the publisher has 28 days to make an Offer to Make Amends.

It is important to carefully and clearly articulate the defamatory imputations.

Offers to Make Amends

An Offer to Make Amends will usually include an offer to publish a correction or apology and payment of compensation. In addition, the offer must also include an offer to pay the legal expenses reasonably incurred by the aggrieved person.

If not accepted a reasonable Offer to Make Amends will be a Defence to a claim for Defamation.

Phil Blaxell gave me great advice.

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Very efficient, very responsive.

“Recent legal matter needed to be attended to. Haydon was very efficient and clearly explained the steps in the matter.”

Chris Trees

Highly recommended.

“Haydon and the team at Robert’s Crosbie Mortensen Lawyers are very professional and helped me through my situation with a strong positive outcome.”

Malcolm Rennie

We cannot be more grateful to have Haydon represent us.

“Received a vicious attack from somebody via social media to the business that I have. It caused severe damage to our business. Engaged with Haydon Potter, his prompt response and professional service steered us in the right direction and helped us to recover.”


Jing Wang

It has been a great pleasure working with you as an ultimate professional on this matter.

“There are very few that can measure up to your professionalism. I have worked with many ….  you “stand above the rest” in your profession.”

Geoff Page
Chartered & Forensic Accountant, Leonard & Page Pty Limited
More Accredited Specialists in Commercial Litigation than 99% of law firms in NSW.

Our Defamation Lawyers

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve received a Concerns Notice, what do I need to do?

A Concerns Notice is the first step is in the process initiating a claim for damages for defamation. The Notice is a statutory requirement that has to be complied with before proceedings can be commenced.

There are various matters that have to be addressed in a Concerns Notice and a notice that does not strictly comply may be void and can lead to proceedings being dismissed.

Should you receive a Concerns Notice you are strongly advised to seek legal advice as soon as possible, as this is often a first step to litigation for defamation. A careful examination of the Concerns Notice by an experienced lawyer can identify possible flaws in the notice and give you the opportunity to stop any claim against you at an early stage.

I have been Defamed. How long do I have to Act?

Section 14B of the Limitation Act 1969 sets out that proceedings for defamation cannot be commenced more than 1 year after the alleged publication of the matter complained of. This is provision for a short extension of 56 days in certain circumstances.

If there are extenuating circumstances the period for the commencement of proceedings may be extended to up to 3 years from the date of the offending publication.

However, it is not automatic that the limitations period will be extended, and it can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. You will have to be able to show why it was not reasonable to have commenced proceedings within 1 year of publication.

If you consider that you have been defamed you have a relatively short time frame in which to act. The requirements for commencing proceedings in defamation are not simple, and if you commence and are found to be outside of the limitations period, or are refused an extension, you could end up paying the other sides costs.

If you believe that you have been defamed, you need to talk to an experienced lawyer as early as possible, or you risk being barred from any compensation for damage you have suffered.

How are Damages calculated in Defamation Proceedings?

The amount of damages that you receive in a defamation trial is a matter for the Judge to determine.

As a general rule there is a cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded. Once a defamatory publication is proven, damage is assumed. Damages are awarded on the basis that they are proportionate to the harm that is alleged to have occurred.

Damages can be awarded for injury to feelings and reputation, consolation and vindication. The maximum amount that can be awarded is only for the most serious cases. The cap as at 26 June 2020 was $421,000.

It is possible to obtain damages that are above the cap where the circumstances of the defamation are so as serious as to give rise to aggravated damages, or where there is damage and injury to a persons health. It is also possible that a Court will, if it finds the circumstances of defamation are relatively benign or limited, only award a nominal amount of damages and costs.

Before you consider taking any action for defamation you need to consult with an experienced defamation law professional, or you could end up paying very large legal costs and receive very little in return. A practitioner with the right experience will be realistic in their assessment of your options in a complex area of law.