VIC How to Self-represent and Sue for Defamation?

Discussion in 'Defamation Law Forum' started by Muxaul, 15 May 2018.

  1. Muxaul

    Muxaul Well-Known Member

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    In Oct last year, besides false allegations to the police and an interim IVO which police eventually dropped, my ex has also lied to a third person via Messenger app about me “being violent to her that she had to apply IVO”.

    1. I have evidence such as audio recordings and documentations and even her own contradictory statements to prove that she made false allegations to both the police and third party.

    2. I have the defamatory message that she sent to that person.

    3. I also have evidence to prove that she may intentionally made false allegations and defamatory messages as tactic in order to get most out of the divorce.

    I wonder if there is some merits for me to sue her for defamation and if there is any path to do so as self represented letigant?

    Thank you very for reading my post.
     
  2. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    Your first hurdle would be to prove actual damage.

    If it's just what happened in a Family Court action, forget it. From what I understand (not being a family law practitioner), the Family Court sees this sort of thing all the time and it has about zero impact on them.
     
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  3. Muxaul

    Muxaul Well-Known Member

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    Hi Rob,

    It’s not what she said in family court or police that I am chasing her for. It is the defamatory message she sent to a third individual in writing that I am focusing on. This is part of her smear campaign after separation.

    There is a previous case similar to mine from WA however I live in VIC. Facebook defamation: WA woman forced to pay ex-husband $12,500 in damages | PerthNow

    I wonder if there is any merits for me to bring her to court and if I can self represent. Thanks.

    There is another case from QLD
    Queensland woman wins $10,000 in Facebook defamation case against ex-husband
     
  4. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    Again, it comes down to whether you've suffered actual damage. Defamation actions are always a roll of the dice - even more than court actions usually are.
     
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  5. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member
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    Hi Rob,

    Defamation is one of those torts where actual damage doesn't have to be proven. Aggravated damages is available and in some cases, though unlikely here, special damages can also be awarded.

    But I don't consider defamation to be a DIY situation. It is a technical area of law and the average person needs legal assistance to properly frame their case.

    Various defences, including triviality, are available and should also be considered before undertaking court action.

    And yes, it is good reading of the case mentioned by the OP. An important factor in that case was the employment of the aggrieved. Teachers arguably need to protect their reputation more than a someone sitting at home on Centrelink. I am not suggesting the OP is home on Centrelink, just highlighting that employment is a factor in the size of payout.
     
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  6. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    Rod, I acknowledge your points. My comments were more from the practicality point of view. It’s not my area of law by any means, but I do have enough experience to understand that a litigant is not going to get very far without showing some sort of detriment as a result of the defamatory material. Further, technical arguments may win the day but lump you with a costs order which makes the whole process a net negative outcome.
     
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  7. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member
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    Yep, I sort of agree with you. A lot comes down to the subjective assessment by the judge on how much damage has occured to your reputation. It is possible to win $1, and pay your own costs.

    The Joe Hockey defamation suit against Fairfax is a good case in point. He won his main argument got a decent amount of money, but according to news reports had to pay 85% of his own costs because he sued on many grounds and lost some of them. Left him out of pocket despite a payout.

    Defamation may be OK if both sides self rep, but if the other party 'lawyers up', it puts a significant risk on the self represented litigant.
     
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  8. Muxaul

    Muxaul Well-Known Member

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    Thank you both for responding to the post. My ex's defamatory messages as well as her false allegations to the police and court did sent me to see mental health therapist. I wonder what would I need from my therapist to show the damage she made? And how to determine what portion of the damage was done by her defamatory message to third party, and what portion was done by her false allegation to the police and court?
     
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