1. My rival is spreading rumours that goods supplied by my company are defective. These rumours are affecting my business substantially. Is there anything I can do to stop it?

Yes. Under these circumstances, you (as the plaintiff) can apply for an injunction, whether interim or permanent, to prevent further publication of the libelous or slanderous statements or materials.

An interim injunction is a court order restraining the defendant (in this case, the defendant is the person spreading or publishing the rumours) from further publication of said rumours pending the outcome of full legal proceedings (a trial) in court. That is to say, if the interim order is granted by a court, the defendant will be forbidden to continue to publish the matter under dispute until the court has made a final judgment on whether or not the defendant is liable for defamation. The court may grant such an order when it appears to be just and convenient to do so.

With reference to Gatley on Libel and Slander [10th edition] , an injunction is also appropriate in cases of malicious falsehood (i.e. the defendant intentionally made false statements in order to harm the plaintiff or its business) where:

  1. the plaintiff can prove that the content of the publication by the defendant is false;
  2. it refers to the plaintiff or its business;
  3. it was published maliciously; and
  4. financial loss will follow as a natural and direct result of the publication.

For more details on how to apply to a court for an injunction, please go to another topic – bringing or defending a civil case. You are strongly recommended to seek legal advice before making this application.