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Defamation

Every business wishes to maintain a good reputation, which could also be its most valuable assets. Building a positive image among customers and the public may take years but to destroy it will only be done in one moment. This is especially true in a world where news travels rapidly and image could mean everything. The risks associated with the rise of digital publishing and social media have never been so tremendous. The extensive accessibility and use of such digital media has provided routes for anonymous people to repeatedly attack reputations and privacy of any individuals or organisations. Any insult on your name or that of your organisation can cause permanent damage.

Whether you are a print or online content provider or individuals or organisations who wish to seek redress for defamatory remarks made against them, ONC Lawyers is dedicated to counsel you on your rights and obligations in respect of reputational and privacy issues. Our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers act for both claimants and defendants in defamation actions. We advise clients on the most appropriate ways or legal tools to prevent and minimise the harm done by defamatory remarks.

We are experienced in dealing with claims with respect to defamation and reputation protection. The scope of our reputation and defamation services generally includes the followings:

  • defamation claims, including libel, slander and malicious falsehood;
  • persuading claimants to settle or back down the claims;
  • advising on advertising law, privacy and data protection law and regulations governing confidential information;
  • advising on strategies to help prevent disclosure of confidential information;
  • advising on media plans and policies; and
  • obtaining injunctions regarding defamatory remarks and comments.

If you would like to know more about our defamation practice or how we can help you, please contact us at (852) 2810 1212 or at ldr@onc.hk .


Please refer to our articles in ‘Knowledge’

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Defamation an Increasing Danger for Businesses in the Technological Age
The plaintiff, Golden Field Glass Works Company Limited (“GFGW”), was a company with a business of designing, manufacturing and installing glass furnishings and fittings, and had undertaken works for well-known brands. GFGW had been serving a company C (the client) as one of its main customers. The defendant was employed by GFGW as a glass installation worker since 2007. On 22 March 2010, the defendant sent an email message to C, which stated that GFGW had caused a great waste of resources, including glass pieces and manpower, leading to a rise in the cost of its products. GFGW alleged that such a message also suggested that GFGW needlessly increased its costs and thereby passed on the cost of the waste to its customers, implying C as one of them. It submitted that the message was false and defamatory, and that the defendant published it maliciously; GFGW was seeking compensation for the damages caused by it. The defendant claimed that much of the glass disposed of by GFGW due to being the wrong size could have been salvaged by machining. GFGW argued that the processed glass could withstand no further grinding as there was a risk of it becoming more fragile as a result. The defendant relied on the defence of justification (that the message was true in its natural and ordinary meaning), and qualified privilege, on the basis that the defendant and C had an interest in the information disclosed in the message. The defendant further challenged GFGW’s claim that the message caused its loss of business.
How Did Chan Mo-Po and His Wife Get Away With Defamation Suit? The Court of Appeal Explains the Law of Qualified Privilege
At common law, the defence of qualified privilege is available if the person communicating the defamatory statement has a legal, moral or social duty or interest in making it, and the recipient has a corresponding interest in receiving the same. However, the defence would fail if the maker of the statement is actuated by malice in making the statement.
Should an anonymous informant or the middleman of an informant in civil proceedings be protected by the defence of absolute privilege in a defamation case? (Part II)
In “Should an anonymous informant or the middleman of an informant in civil proceedings be protected by the defence of absolute privilege in a defamation case?”, we discussed the Court of First Instance (“CFI”) and the Court of Appeal’s decision on Chang Wa Shan v Esther Chan Pui Kwan [2018] HKCFA 29, which examined whether the application of absolute privilege should be extended to cover a novel category of anonymous informant or the middleman of an informant. The Court of Final Appeal (“CFA”) handed down judgment in late 2018 which clarified such position.
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