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  • Created by: debbie.t
  • Created on: 25-04-16 00:43

Libel and Slander


  • Tort
  • Actionable per se : Slander is only actionable per se when; a criminal offence is imputed HELLWIG V MITCHELL (1918) (I know enough to put you in jail)
  • ; Imputing an inadequacy in relation to a profession or trade e.g. an uncharitable clergyman or a judge sleeping on the bench
  • ; Imputing a disease e.g. leprosy, AIDS or the plague ( this now requires proof of special damage)
  • ; Imputing that a woman is not chaste (this has now been repealed)


  • Could be both a TORT and CRIME
  • Permanent form of defamation : usually seen for example reading an article with a defaming statement
  • No special damage needs to be shown by the person being defamed, the the defamer must prove that what they're saying is true. Traditionally even no actual loss is suffered, the claimant usually can claim damages for a libel defamation
  • MONSON V TUSSAUDS LTD (1894) (a waxwork of the claimant was placed outside the chamber of terrors imputing that he was a murderer even though he was found not proven of his charge
  • Only a TORT
  • Non-permanent or transient form of defamation : usually heard for example recordings or seen in the form of gestures
  • Some damage needs to be proved, which shows serious harm to the claimants reputation, this is quite difficult to prove however.
  • ALLSOP V ALLSOP (1865) the illness was classified as the special damage caused by the worrying of the slanderous statement, however it was considered too remote

Overall comparison

Slander is only a TORT whereas Libel can be both a criminal offence and a tortious offence. Slander requires prove of special damage to the claimant whereas Libel doesn't. Slander is temporary, whereas Libel is considered more permanent.


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