A solicitor’s Facebook libel claim is rejected as the High Court finds “no material harm”

A recent case in which a solicitor had claimed her reputation had been “destroyed” by a Facebook post has been rejected with the High Court deciding the solicitor had not in fact suffered “serious harm” as per the definition set out by the Defamation Act 2013.

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A solicitor’s Facebook libel claim is rejected as the High Court finds “no material harm”

A recent case in which a solicitor had claimed her reputation had been “destroyed” by a Facebook post has been rejected with the High Court deciding the solicitor had not in fact suffered “serious harm” as per the definition set out by the Defamation Act 2013.

Dr Katherine Alexander-Theodotou had claimed for £900,000 in damages. She believed the damage had been a direct result of a Facebook post and webinar that included allegations relating to her mishandling of litigation arising from alleged mis-selling of off plan property in Cyprus.

Although there were various disputes raised by the Defendant, Georgios Kounis, the High Court found that they could not actually establish whether the publication had caused serious harm. Primarily this was because any individuals who were able to identify Alexander-Theodotou from the publication would have been dissatisfied ex-clients who had previously made complaints and, as such, would have already formed their own opinion of her.

On this basis, the Court ruled no material harm had resulted from the publication.

This case serves as yet another reminder that although upon first viewing a comment might appear defamatory in nature, there are other important factors to consider when deciding whether to take legal action against those comments.

The Defamation Act 2013 is a relatively recent piece of legislation and no doubt case law will continue to arise which will allow for a greater understanding of how the courts will use it as the Defamation Act becomes more widely and more commonly tested.

We have extensive experience in dealing with all types of defamation whether the comments were made online, on social media or using other media. For more information, contact Andrew Broadbent on 0114 2521416 or email Andrew at andrew.broadbent@keebles.com.

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