How to File a Defamation or Libel Suit

Updated November 21, 2016

Purposely attempting to blemish the character or financial reputation of another is called libel. Also known as defamation of character, calumny, and slander, libel is illegal. Libel occurs as a result of oral or written untrue statements about an individual, but proving libel has occurred is tricky. Proving malice intent is essential in a lawsuit of libel. Obtaining a lawyer specialising in libel or defamation cases and filing a lawsuit are key steps to a case of defamation. Most plaintiffs seeking a libel trial expect monetary compensation.

Gather all relevant information pertaining to the defamation. The more information being provided will make pursuing the case easier. Including information such as time, date of incident, copy of libel action, or any witness statements is essential. The more details you provide, the greater your chances of having a successful case.

Locate a lawyer specialising in libel or defamation cases. Finding an appropriate lawyer will make advancing the case simpler. Be certain to verify that grounds for suit are evident. Obtaining a lawyer can be done both online and in person. Most lawyers require a retainer, and for libel cases this fee starts from £520 but becomes more costly depending on the type of libel suit and individuals involved. Libel against another individual will cost you less than a libel case against a large corporation.

Assume action against the defamation. Filing a claim with the local courts is necessary. Libel cases fall under the direction of civil court. This will allow both parties involved to either continue forward with the case or settle out of court. Settling out of court usually results in the plaintiff receiving most, if not all, damages sought.


Concrete proof of malicious intent must be available. Settling out of court is a faster and less expensive way to solve the matter.


Lacking strong evidence, both parties could be found at fault or awarded compensation. Caution should be taken in pursuing libel cases.

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About the Author

Having settled in Lousiana, Michele Domingue has been writing product opinions and short stories since 1999. Her stories have been published in several "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. Domingue holds a Master of Science in psychology from University of Phoenix.