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In a world where we see branding and image as the key to commercial success, defamatory statements about your business can decimate it. Individuals too can have their reputation destroyed by libellous or slanderous comments. Often you need to act quickly to curtail the effects of harmful comment. But how can you start legal action if you don’t know the identity of the person who actually made the comments?

User-generated content and defamation

The proliferation of user-generated content on online forums, review sites, message boards and chatrooms means the problem of defamatory comments made by unknown individuals is increasingly common.

Our defamation, libel and slander solicitors act regularly in cases where the identity of the wrongdoer is unknown. We have a great track record in successfully getting defamatory material removed or retracted from both online and traditional media as well as obtaining damages for clients.

Our Approach

We address defamatory material in a variety of ways such as:

  1. Through Informal negotiation with internet service providers (ISPs) and online publishers – By framing our removal requests appropriately and ensuring the ISP understands we are serious about legal action, we can often have material removed immediately without any complications. This approach is similar to the way we manage the online reputation of clients in respect of material that, while potentially damaging, is not defamatory.
  2. Legal action under the Defamation Act – If informal requests are ignored there is a well-established legal route for seeking removal of material posted by an unknown individual. It involves applying to the High Court for an injunction and assessment of damages. You need to provide the court with evidence that you have served notice of the claim and show the serious harm you have suffered.
  3. Norwich Pharmacal Orders – This mechanism enables us to force a third party to provide you with details of the identity of someone who has made defamatory statements about you.

Other ways to tackle anonymous defamation

Sometimes there are other, more effective ways of dealing with anonymous defamatory comments. For example, we regularly assist commercial clients in proactively tackling negative online reviews about their businesses. By carefully drafting and publishing rebuttals that forensically undermine anything that is defamatory the original damage can often be undone. In our experience, this approach can have just as much impact as more formal legal action.

Contact our defamation, libel and slander solicitors in London

These cases are rarely straightforward, so it makes sense to get clarity on your legal position before devoting resources to defending or making a claim. Because we act regularly for claimants and defendants in libel and slander actions, we are able to anticipate the approach the other side is likely to take.  Contact us on 0203 983 8278 or online for advice.


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    Examples of our recent work

    Acted successfully in an action against a Website Owner who had made a website about our client which contained false and defamatory allegations against him including that he was involved in scams/money laundering/fraud and that he had several extramarital relationships.

    Acted successfully and obtained judgment in the case of Daniel Olukoya and Folashade Olukoya V Maureen Badejo (2021); a case of defamation and harassment. The case involved approximately over 200 videos and posts across over 10 social media channels made by the Defendant against the Claimants. Overwhelming judgment with damage in favour of Claimants.

    Acted successfully for an Eastern Television Network who was the defendant in an action for defamation brought by an individual high-profile claimant; the action was dismissed.

    Acted for an individual claimant in a defamation action brought against him by other individuals in connection with missing funds relating to a charity.


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