1. The definition of defamation in English law is: "the publication of a
statement which tends to lower a person in the estimation of right-
thinking members of society generally, or which tends to make them
shun or avoid that person". Is this a correct definition of defamation?
2. Would it be correct to say in most cases that "it is for the judge to
decide whether the words are capable of a defamatory meaning and, if
they are, it is for the jury to decide if they do in reality constitute a
defamation of the plaintiff"?
Juries only ever estimate the damages and decide nothing else in a
The judge only ever guides the jury, and they decide everything.
3. Would it be correct to say that "defamation" and "libel" are two
interchangeable words and that they mean the same thing in reality?
Libel, unlike defamation, is only ever spoken and never written.
Libel is is a defamation where financial loss occurs
4. Would it be possible to defame someone by simple juxtaposition? By
this is I mean depicting them in a derogatory position. An example of
this would be a museum placing a waxwork of someone not guilty of
murder in a "chamber of horrors".
only if they are politicians
only if they are public figures prior to the defamation
5. In English law we are allowed to make "fair comment" on a matter of
public interest. Amongst other things would it be true to say that the
test of this defence includes whether it is "an honest person expressing
their genuine opinions"?
6. In which branch of English law is defamation normally found?
7. Every time a defamatory statement is made there is a fresh
publication and this is actionable. Is there a special defence for
publishing something defamatory that is open to an internet company,
this defence arising when the company does not know that a
publication on its web site is defamatory?
8. Which one of the following publications is not open to a defence of
• a testimonial given to an employer
statements in the course of Parliamentary proceedings
relevant statements made in official legal proceedings
fair and accurate reports of proceedings in the European Court of
9. In ordinary circumstances is it a defence to show that the defendant
never intended to refer to the person defamed?
• yes, but only if the defamed is not a politician
yes, but only if the person defamed is not publicly known
10. George Carman QC recently died at the age of 71. He was a
renowned libel lawyer. Do you know where he was born?
• Southend -on-sea, England
just off Middle Temple Lane in London, England
Ayr in Scotland