Libel and other Defamations – Elearning course

Our Libel elearning course will show you how to protect your content wherever it is published.

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, there are fewer libel actions in England and Wales. 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, our elearning course will protect you, wherever you are.

This course is great for anybody reporting, writing and editing - in any media - who has not been on a libel course before, or who needs a refresher.

The course comes in 5 parts:

  1. Introduction to libel and libel in England and Wales
  2. Ireland: What the claimant has to prove
  3. Ireland: The defences of fact and comment
  4. Final defences in Ireland and procedures
  5. Other defamations

It is packed with interactive exercises and you will be quizzed on libel; what the claimant has to prove; defences and other defamations.

There are 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

You will learn:

  • The Defamation Act 2013
  • How the law has developed to balance all our various rights
  • What the claimant has to prove
  • What the claimant doesn't have to prove
  • The five main defences
  • How to recognise and define libel or defamation
  • The sequence for a libel action
  • The law in Ireland
  • Procedures for defence in the British Isles
  • Malicious falsehood
  • Why slander isn't the same as libel
  • Criminal 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

For a full course outline, please contact us.

Richard Sharpe, your trainer

Richard Sharpe, media law and editorial trainerRichard is a trainer, journalist, researcher, and a director of ContentETC. As a journalist he has contributed to the Financial Times, The Herald Tribune, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer, Computing, Computer Weekly and other publications covering IT and its impact. Richard was a senior lecturer at the University of East London and an adjunct professor for the University of Southern California. Richard is a highly successful trainer, regularly training journalists and other content creators at publishing companies and corporations including Bauer, Haymarket and TiMedia and coaching executives at organisations including UCLU and LSE.

The beauty of elearning is that you can do it at a time and place to suit you. But you won't be alone! Richard will talk you through the key points to improve your skills and knowledge, and at any time during your elearning course, you can email him with any queries or comments.

Richard can also give you invaluable one-to-one feedback on your own work. If you buy the trainer feedback option with your course, email him your libel queries after you have completed the elearning and he will supply you with individual guidance, comments and practical suggestions. This unique feedback really brings your elearning to life and makes sure you have truly grasped - and applied - all of the key principles.

Have just completed the libel and other defamations course online and thought it was excellent.

Head of activities and opportunities, LSE Students' Union


If you sat down and did the course in one sitting, it would take approximately 4-5 hours to complete. However, the exercises and 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 at all, you are very welcome to get in touch with the trainer as often as you want.

The cost

Libel and other Defamations is £19.99 + tax per user * which gives you full unlimited access to the course for one month. If you need longer though, you just need to let us know.

If you want to add personal one-to-one trainer feedback to the course, the price is £69.99 + tax.

Discounted rates are available for multiple users. The discount applies to this course or a mix of elearning courses. We will give you an immediate 10% discount off your second course if you book with us again.

Libel and other Defamations is a perfect companion to our Copyright and Intellectual Property Law course.