Malicious Falsehood: A Guide

Published on 15 December 2010 by admin in blog


Liverpool Solicitors Armstrongs writes as to Malicious Falsehood. If you have an enquiry on malicious falshood or Libel or Slander call Armstrongs or fill in the enquiry form at the bottom of the page.

What is Malicious Falsehood?

It is law which exists to protect against statements which aren’t in themselves Defamatory but are still untrue and have caused damage.

How does a malicious falsehood differ from libel and slander, in theory and practice?

If published statements are not defamatory, then a claimant cannot succeed in an action for libel or slander but still could still pursue a claim for malicious falsehood

To prove Malicious falsehood the claimant has to show

  • The defendant published words about the claimant which were false;
  • They were published maliciously; and
  • The publication has caused special damage.

What is an example of Malicious falsehood?

An example of this would be to say that a dentist had retired from the his profession. This is not in itself Defamatory but as it is untrue could lead the Dentist to suffer financial loss.

The comment will not damage the reputation of the Dentist so he cant bring a claim  for  libel or slander. He may be able to bring a claim for Malicious Falsehood if he can show that the statement was made maliciously.

What else must be proven in a malicious falsehood action?

Malice is an important element. It is defined as defined as a statement made by a aparty who knows that the statement is false or is reckless as to its truth. It can be by a person who has made the statement when motivated by an improper motive. Being negligent as to the truth of the statement is not sufficient to prove Malice.

It is no longer necessary for statements in written form to show actual damage. Now it is is sufficient if the words were calculated to cause damage or likely to cause damage to the Claimant in his office,profession,calling,trade or business.

What is the limitation period for malicious falsehoods?

The limitation period for  malicious falsehood actions is one year save if it relates to the Internet.

Could the potential Defendant publish a correction?

If the party making the statement publishes a correction quickly and realises the error then this will go someway to reducing the prospects of success for the Claimant on being able to show  malice.

What constitutes slander of goods and title?

Slander of goods is a false and malicious statement disparaging the claimant’s goods,slander of title is a false and malicious denial of a claimant’s title to property.

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