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Hi all,

Here I am again asking for information on the legal side of things. :)

This time it's about libel. Can someone tell me exactly what it is?

Reason I ask is to do with the court case that my partner is facing with his estranged brother (and that some of the members on here know about from reading my posts).

In the witness statements produced by the enemy ;) (my partner's brother and his cronies) they have made some extremely wild claims. They can all be disproved but 2 of the more hurtful allegations that have been published are that:

a) My father is a convicted drugs trafficker. Don't ask me why they have said this. My father is just a regular guy and has never been convicted of anything in his life, not even a speeding ticket. Scotland Yard have of course provided the proof that my dad is just a regular guy.

B) My partner is a convicted thief and has been to prison for it. Again, completely off the wall and not true at all. I think the guys at Scotland Yard think we've been winding them up with all our subject access requests. The most hurtful thing though for my partner is that his brother has convinced his mother that he really has been to prison and is a criminal (it took months for him to convince her) and becuase of that my partner's relationship with his mother has now vanished. He lived with her until the age of 34 and she is all the family he has apart from his brother who he is battling with in court.

I know I could ask my solicitor about it but it's late, and to be honest I don't want to spend £200 just for a yes it's 100% libel or no it's not.

I've told my partner that if it is he should launch proceedings immediately as it may help with this case. I felt that if he has a 99% chance of winning a libel suit because of what his brother has published in his witness statements and his brother felt that my partner was going to actually launch it against him that it may give him some good negotiating power.

What do you think?

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I'm afraid Libel cases are for Pop Stars and those who have money to throw away on Barristers.

It is very hard to prove someone has been libeled, in fact its near impossible and will eventually come down to the view of the judge on the day.

You then have to consider what you may get out of a successfull verdict.

If you are rich and famous, then for sure a libel could potentially cost you millions in lost work........say for example Advertising, or Film Deals.

But if you are Joe Bloggs on the street, the libel although very hurtfull will be thought of in the capacity of what financial effect has this had on you. If there is no effect, then you will get no compensation other than costs and the satisfaction of clearing your name.

However if you lose the case, or no verdict is given due to insufficient evidence, then for sure you are on a big loser with legal fees, and getting nothing in return.

If you have a problem with someone, in a family then I would recommend spending your money on a mediatior whereby you could all sit in a room together and iron out the issues. That would cost you a couple of hundred quid, and maybe you might just all forgive one another and get on with your lives.

It is easy to break a family bond up, but takes a lifetime of forgiveness to put it all back together.

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Looks like a clear libel to me. However as laurejon says you are unlikely to be awarded a great deal of compensation. Whether it's worth doing depends on whether a succesful libel action will discredit your partner's brother in any other legal proceedings you're engaged in.

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I'm assuming your father and partner do not have the criminal convictions as claimed by your brother in law, and your brother in law is lying when he makes these claims.

These lies have appeared in witness statements which suggests he intends to make these claims in evidence on oath at trial.

A very foolish thing to do lying on oath when the lie can be proved.

I don't understand his tactics. Probably because I don't know the type of case you're involved in.

In the civil courts it's common practice to make exaggerated and untruthful claims against the other side in written statements. Take divorce proceedings. If you're fighting for custody you claim the other side has physically/sexually/emotionally abused the children in written statements. It does not mean you will make these claims in evidence on oath during the trial. These written statements are designed to stress people out, and soften them up for a negotiated settlement.

It's unlikely he will repeat these lies on oath, the stuff about your father and partner, if it is untrue. If he does , and the Judge finds his claims untrue, the judge/jury will consider him a liar and will not believe anything else he says , even if truthful. His whole case will be undermined and he will be completely discredited. What you want is for him to pursue this attack. You want him to lie as much as possible, and you want him to make as many outlandish claims about your side.


Because every assertion that's proved to be a lie undermines his case. It creates more work and stress for you but your ultimate goal is to discredit him in the witness box and the best way to do this is to prove he is lying. If he makes these claims about your father and partner in evidence and on oath, he will be discrediting himself and may well hand the case to you on a gold, diamond encrusted, platter.

The cost to you in pursuing a libel action would be astronomical and not worth pursuing unless you are very rich and a masochist. I would concentrate on the task in hand which is to win your lawsuit, whatever it may be, and taake some comfort by understanding lying in witness statements is a common tactic. It's part of the game lawyers play, on instructions from their clients.

Don't let the b@stards grind you down.

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