Damages for Online Defamation – the “Serious Harm” Element

The additional requirement to establish “serious harm” in a defamation action was part of the reforms to Australian defamation law which came into effect on 1 July 2021. They were enacted to encourage defamation claims not involving “serious harm” to be resolved without court action. This update provides a review of recent Australian defamation cases where the courts have considered whether the “serious harm” requirement has been established and provides useful guidance on factors that the court will consider in determining “serious harm”.

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