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Definition of 'Libel'

Libel is a form of defamation that is written or published. It is a false statement that is made about someone or something, and it is published in a way that is seen by the public. Libel can be damaging to someone's reputation or their business, and it can lead to financial losses.

There are two main types of libel: slander and libel per se. Slander is spoken defamation, while libel per se is written defamation. Libel per se is considered to be more serious than slander because it is more likely to be seen by the public.

To prove libel, the plaintiff must show that the defendant made a false statement about them, that the statement was published, that the statement was seen by the public, and that the statement caused them damages. The damages can be monetary, such as lost wages or medical expenses, or they can be non-monetary, such as emotional distress.

If the plaintiff is successful in proving libel, they can be awarded damages. The amount of damages will depend on the severity of the statement and the damages that were caused.

There are a few defenses that a defendant can raise in a libel case. One defense is truth. If the defendant can prove that the statement they made was true, then they will not be liable for libel. Another defense is fair comment. If the defendant can prove that the statement they made was a fair comment on a matter of public interest, then they will not be liable for libel.

Libel is a serious offense, and it can have a significant impact on someone's life. If you are accused of libel, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

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