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Sunday, 21 August 2011

Stuart's Daily Word Spot: Libel or slander?

Libel or slander? 
Libel: noun – in Civil and Admiralty Law, a document bearing a plaintiff’s allegations and establishing a suit; in Scottish Law, a formal statement setting out grounds on which a civil or criminal prosecution is made, an indictment; in Ecclesiastical Law, the first pleading, or the plaintiff’s written statement or charges, in a plenary case; a small book, short piece of writing; a leaflet or pamphlet publicly posted or circulated and  defaming the character of someone; a false and defamatory statement; some thing or circumstance that tends to bring undeserved discredit on a person, a country, an organisation, by misrepresentation; in Law, a false and defamatory statement in writing, film, or other permanent form; the act or offence of publishing such a statement.

Slander: noun - utterance or spreading of a false or malicious statement about a person, intended to injure or defame; in Law, a false and defamatory oral statement; the act or offence of making such a statement; Discredit, disgrace, or shame, especially as incurred by transgression of moral law; disrepute, opprobrium; a source of shame or dishonour; a discreditable act or person; a cause of moral lapse or fall.

In the legal definitions, ‘libel’ involves letters (publication of some sort), ‘slander’ is said, spoken.

So, you can shout slander from the rooftops or you can libel through written, recorded, filmed or any other permanent means; in either case, you’re open to a law suit.

Pic: Bullrushes in Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire.
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