Issuing a concerns notice/cease and desist letter in defamation matters
What is a concerns notice / cease and desist letter?
Part 3 of the Defamation Act 2005 (Qld) (the “Act“) provides a means by which a person defamed (the “aggrieved person“) and the person that published the defamatory matter (the “publisher“) may settle a defamation dispute without going to Court.
The aggrieved person may issue a “concerns notice” (which is at times, rather loosely, referred to as a “cease and desist letter“) on the publisher under Part 3 of the Act. Under section 14(2) of the Act, the concerns notice must be in writing and inform the publisher about the defamatory imputations carried by the publication.
The concerns notice will also, generally, demand/invite the publisher to make “an offer to make amends” on one or more of the following terms (or some other terms considered suitable to the aggrieved person):
- demand that the publisher cease and desist from publishing any further defamatory matters about the aggrieved person;
- demand that the publisher publish, or join in publishing, a reasonable correction (including the particulars of that correction) of the defamatory matter;
- demand that the publisher take, or join in taking, reasonable steps to tell any other person (to whom defamatory material has been given) that the matter is or may be defamatory of the aggrieved person;
- demand that the publisher:
- offer to pay the expenses reasonably incurred by the aggrieved person before the publisher’s offer to make amends was made (including expenses reasonably incurred in considering the offer);
- make any other kind of offer, or take any other kind of action, to redress the harm sustained by the aggrieved person, which may include, without limitation, that:
- the publisher publish, or join in publishing, an apology (including the particulars of that apology) in relation to the defamatory matter; and
- the publisher offer to pay compensation for any economic or non-economic loss of the aggrieved person.
If the publisher carries out the terms of an offer accepted by the aggrieved person, the aggrieved person is prohibited from enforcing an action for defamation against the publisher and the matter is effectively at an end.