Under the Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Act 2021 (the Act), Defamation is defined as publishing a statement that has caused, or is likely to cause, serious harm to the reputation of another. This is typically the case if the published statement lowers the person’s reputation in the estimation of ordinary people.
For businesses, such harm would only be considered serious if it caused, or is likely to cause, serious financial loss.
While individuals and businesses can bring a claim for defamation, public bodies in Scotland cannot.
The defamatory statement must be published to someone other than the defamed individual.
In Scotland, unlike in England and Wales, there is no distinction between libel (ie the publication of a defamatory statement in written or permanent form) and slander (ie non-permanent forms of expression of a defamatory statement). Instead, a statement will be ‘published’ when the recipient has seen or heard it.