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  Libel and other defamations, for digital and print media, in the British Isles

The law has changed as a result of the 2013 Defamation Act.  The balance in England and Wales has gone towards the right to freedom of speech.  What the claimant has to prove has increased and the defences have also increased and been strengthened.  As a result, fewer libel actions in England and Wales are expected.  The 2013 Act is the biggest reform of the libel laws since 1840.

In the Republic of Ireland the old English and Welsh law still pertains, so the balance is towards defence of reputation.  And in the Republic of Ireland the laws are very like the old English and Welsh laws.  A libel claimant is any person or organisation with a reputation in the jurisdiction of the court.  They don't have to be resident there, nor does an organisation have to be registered there.  It's possible to take a case from abroad and never come into the country.  By looking at the worst case example of the law in Ireland, the Republic and the North, and the law as it is now in England and Wales, this ContentETC libel e-learning course will show you how to protect your content wherever it is published.

Read reviews of this e-learning course

Suitable for:

Anybody reporting, writing and editing - in any media - who has not been on a libel course before, or who needs a refresher.  A perfect companion to the Copyright and intellectual property law for digital and print media course.

You will learn:

  • The Defamation Act 2013
  • How the law has developed to balance all our various rights
  • How to recognise and define libel or defamation
  • Why slander isn't the same as libel
  • Why quoting someone else won't protect you
  • "Off the record" or "on the record"?
  • How digital media is stretching the legal system
  • How to identify litigious subjects
  • The differences between "Opinion" and "Fact"
  • How to analyse the reader's point of view
  • Your options when it comes to publishing critical content

...and much more.

Looking for an in-company course?


Ask your tutor

The beauty of e-learning is that you can do it at a time and place to suit you.  But you won't be alone! 

Your trainer will talk you through the key points to improve your skills and knowledge, and at any time during your e-learning course, you can email your course tutor with any queries or comments.

.Course content includes
 Introduction to libel in England and Wales
 Libel: a balance of rights
 Freedom of speech and reputation defence
 Who is involved?
 The claimant
 The defendant

Definitions of libel
 What defines the meaning of a piece?
 Where it all started and what it now covers
 Which part of the law does it form part of?
 The new libel law in England and Wales: the 2013 Act
 The new things the claimant has to prove
 New defences:
 Substantially true
 Honest comment
 Public interest
 Section 5
 Publication in a peer-reviewed journal
 The sequence for a libel action
 The law in Ireland
 What the claimant has to prove
 Identity, published, defamed
 Who can and can't sue
 Sufficiently published or not?
 The right-minded reader
 What a barrister could make of it
 What the claimant doesn't have to prove in Ireland
 How it is different in England and Wales
 How it is different in the USA?
 How long does a claimant have?
 The five main defences in Ireland
 Watching for the three As
 The three levels of justifying an accusation
 Honest comment
 Distinguishing between fact and comment
 What aren't defences?
 Accuracy and context
 The Reynolds defence
 Procedures for defence in the British Isles
 Payments into court
 The four levels of damages
 Other defamations
 How they fit into defamation
 Malicious falsehood
 What it is
 What the claimant has to prove
 What it is and what media it covers
 The defences
 Criminal libel
 Examples and defences

Exercises and quizzes

 To check your understanding of the theory, during this e-learning course you will be quizzed on libel; what the claimant has to prove; defences and other defamations.

Top tips and checklists

 Handy tips and checklists at key stages of the course.  These cover vital topics including: knowing who is litigious in the subjects you are covering; juxtaposition; what would the reader think; international comparisons; taking care with headlines; what to do if you get a complaint; what to do to avoid other defamations and many more.

Timing: If you sat down and did the course in one sitting, it would take approximately 4-5 hours to complete.  However, the quizzes we include mean it can take longer.  You can work at your own pace, and dip in and out of the course as often as you want, and go back to sections to really make sure you've understood.

If you have any queries, we’d be delighted to help, just email us.

Please note that this course is intended for speakers of English.


Libel and other defamations in the British Isles is £105.00 + tax per user* which gives you unlimited access to the course for one month.

*Discounted rates for multiple users are available.  The discount applies to this course or a mix of e-learning courses.


You can:

. Buy this e-learning course now

. Try e-learning before you buy

. Meet the trainer, Richard Sharpe 

. Email us to buy this e-learning course or discuss bringing it into your company for multiple e-learning users

. Find out more information on tailored face-to-face training



If you would like to receive a Certificate when you have completed your e-learning course, please just let us know and we will arrange for one to be sent to you.


About us

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ETC is the UK's leading training provider for professionals working in media, marketing services, PR and corporate communications.  We provide training for maximising your media, communications, print and digital content. 

We give you a totally flexible approach to your learning and development, both in content and delivery.

Call us on 00 44 (0)1428 722105 to see how we can help you and your staff.  Read more...

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Please let us know if you want to learn more about our e-learning or tailored in-company training.

You can email us or call on 00 44 (0)1428 722105 to discuss your needs in more detail.

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