In the social media age, it is easier than ever for people or organizations to propagate untrue statements that are far-reaching and damaging. When confronted or threatened with defamatory statements, it can be necessary for a person to take legal action.

Defamation law offers recourse to people who are the subject of false written or oral statements made to third parties. The target of a defamatory statement can seek an injunction to prevent a statement from being made, or bring an action for damages if the defamatory statement has already been made public.

There are a number of ways in which the parties to a defamation suit can challenge and defend allegedly defamatory statements. Our lawyers ensure clients present their best possible case. We anticipate and understand the best arguments, because we represent parties on both sides of defamation claims. We also provide pre-publication advice to media outlets and other companies, and assist with access to information requests.

Meet our lawyers and professionals in this area

Bryan Finlay

Partner Emeritus

Areas of Expertise

  • Access to information requests
  • Defamation suits
  • Freedom of expression claims
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Libel
  • Publication bans
  • Search warrants
  • Slander

Representative Experience

Among the firm’s many significant cases in this area are the following:

  • We represented one of the parties in the Supreme Court of Canada in the leading Canadian case on the law of defamation. Among other things, the case interpreted the common law of defamation in the context of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, considered the defence of qualified privilege and established principles for awarding damages in such cases, including aggravated and punitive damages. Hill v. Church of Scientology, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1130.
  • We represented one of the defendants at trial and all levels of appeal in a case that was ultimately decided, as a companion case to Hill, in the Supreme Court of Canada. Botiuk v. Toronto Free Press Publications Ltd., [1995] 3 S.C.R. 3.
  • We have acted in a number of cases that involved defamatory statements being circulated on the internet. In one such case, we represented the plaintiffs in an action that was commenced against an individual who was using postings on the internet to libel the management team of a corporation and, in so doing, influence the company‘s share price. By means of the proceedings, we were able to put a stop to the objectionable statements.

Defamation - Insight & Events

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