This article about Defamation in Owners Corporations has been supplied by Allison Benson, Kerin Benson Lawyers.
The issue of what conduct can constitute defamation has been a topic for the NSW Courts recently.
The case of Raynor v Murray  NSWDC 189 in the District Court related to a claim for defamation arising out of emails sent to lot owners and occupants. A very brief recap is that the District Court found that the Plaintiff (Mr Raynor) had made out their claim for defamation and awarded them $120,000 in damages.
A more detailed overview can be found here: Defamation and owners corporations: be careful in your communications
The Defendant appealed to the Court of Appeal and a decision was handed down this week in Murray v Raynor  NSWCA 274 the District Court’s decision was set aside and ordered Mr Raynor to pay Ms Murray’s legal costs. The decision the found that Ms Murray’s defence of qualified privilege was made out and that Mr Raynor had failed to prove malice.
While in this case the defamation claim was ultimately not made out we urge lot owners, occupiers and strata managers to exercise care in what they say in their emails and, as will be evident from the recent case of Voller v Nationwide News Pty Ltd; Voller v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd; Voller v Australian News Channel Pty Ltd  NSWSC 766 which related to a claim of defamation arising from comments posted on social media, also take care when posting material on social media and monitoring comments.
A more detailed overview of the Voller can be found here: Facebook Operators Potentially Liable for Defamatory Third-Party Comments
A good guideline is to take the view that courtesy costs nothing and to think before emailing/posting material.
This is general information and not legal advice. If you have an issue then advice specific to your situation should be obtained.
Have a question or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- NSW: Taming Keyboard Warriors – How to Deal With Unreasonable Strata Communications
- NSW: Q&A Can We Contact All Owners to Rally for a New Committee?
Please note: This is not intended to be legal advice. You should seek legal advice specific to your situation.
This post appears in Strata News #301.
This article has been republished with permission from the author and first appeared on the Thoughts from a Strata Lawyer website.