Defamation is when a person publishes content that is defamatory to another living person without a lawful reasoning.

In order for an individual to produce a successful claim of defamation they must prove that:

  • The material was published, that it can be considered defamatory; and,
  • That there is no legal defence for the material to be published originally.

These claims must be brought forward by the applicant within one year of the publication, except in exceptional circumstances where a claim can be brought within three years.

If there is an issue of jurisdiction (where the claim should be properly brought), it will be chosen based on the location where the most harm has occurred.


The court can consider any of the follow defences:

1. Defence of justification:

  • The defendant will be required to prove that the assertions identified in the matter are substantially true.

2. Defence of contextual truth:

  • If the matter contains multiple imputations that are seen as substantially true, along with outstanding material that does not harm the plaintiff’s reputation due to the substantial fact then a defence will be identified.

3. Defence of absolute privilege:

  • In circumstances where the material drawn upon is recognised to be created and utilised in publications of a parliamentary body or published by an Australian Court or Court tribunal a defence is likely to be recognised.

4. Defence of publication of public documents:

  • If the material was previously contained in a summary of a public document or a public document itself, then a reasonable defence of defamation will be identified. The term public document is wide spreading and can refer to papers published by parliamentary bodies, through to reports issued by tribunals.

5. Defence of publication concerning issue of public interest:

  • Upon a court taking into account all circumstances of the case, if the defendant has a reasonable belief that the publication was in the public interest, and it was, a defence will be identifiable.

Call a Defamation Expert 

If you are charged with a defamation offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert criminal lawyers and can represent you in court. Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.