As an individual or small business owner, it is important to be aware of laws that safeguard your reputation.

With the growth of the e-commerce world, businesses are increasingly being subject to online material that may be defamatory, for example in the form of website comments. If someone publishes communication which negatively affects your reputation, they may be liable for defamation.

To find out more information about what defamation is, read our guide.

What Can I Do If I Have Been Defamed?

1. Create A Cease and Desist Letter

A cease and desist letter is a formal notice for an individual or business to stop a certain conduct. This can help prevent further cases of defamation or conduct that constitutes harassment.

A cease and desist letter acts as a formal warning to the receiving party that there may be legal consequences if they continue their actions.

With LawPath, you can create a cease and desist letter for free in under 5 minutes. This service is suitable for any individual or business in Australian states and territories.

2. Initiate Proceedings

Any individual may initiate a cause of action for defamation. Unlisted companies with less than 10 employees can also sue for defamation. The only restriction is that an action must be brought within 12 months of the publication date of the defamatory communication.

In the event that a cease and desist letter does not offer adequate protection, before you enter a lawsuit for defamation, it is highly recommended that you seek professional consultation. LawPath has access to qualified lawyers to help you.

Penalties For Defamation

Currently, the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) allows for a maximum of $250,000 to be rewarded for non-economic loss suffered through defamation.

A plaintiff can also seek an order for an interlocutory injunction to prevent further defamatory publications from being communicated in the course of legal proceedings. However, these are rarely granted due to freedom of speech matters.

Final Tips

It is important to protect your business reputation. A defamation lawsuit would not only be costly and time consuming but adds unnecessary pressure to the establishment of your business.

To avoid defamatory communications from being published about you, remember to act ethically and be mindful of what you may say or write. LawPath can provide you with access to an experienced business lawyer who can also advise you on defamation.


Want to know more about your rights against defamation? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to receive answers to your legal questions, get help with customising legal documents or obtain a fixed-fee quote from our network of 600+ expert lawyers.

Carmen Zhu

Carmen is a Paralegal working in our content team which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. With an interest in consumer and professional negligence law, her primary focus is on the importance of expanding legal awareness to business longevity.