The High Court Affidavit of Verification In Personal Injury and Defamation Actions

affidavit of verification

An affidavit of verification is required in the High Court to verify assertions or facts alleged in personal injury actions and defamation proceedings. It is to verify a pleading or replies to a request for further information and is required pursuant to section 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act, 2004 in personal injury actions, and pursuant to section 8 of Defamation Act, 2009.

A copy is served on the party who is being served with the pleading or replies to further information.

(4) An affidavit under this section shall be lodged in court not later than—

(a) 21 days after the service of the pleading concerned or such longer period as the court may direct or the parties may agree, or

(b) in the case of a requirement to which subsection (8)(b) applies, 7 days before the date fixed for the trial of the personal injuries action concerned. (Section 14 Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004).

The form it should take is as follows:

AFFIDAVIT OF VERIFICATION

O. 1A, r. 10

THE HIGH COURT

20…. No……
Between A.B., …………….. Plaintiff,

and C.D., …………. Defendant.

I, AB, ……………….. of …………………. , the (plaintiff, defendant or state other capacity or authority) in the above-entitled proceedings, aged eighteen years and upwards MAKE OATH and say as follows:

1. I beg to refer to the contents of the (personal injuries summons, defence, reply, further information etc. – as the case may be) delivered herein on behalf of the (plaintiff/ defendant) on the ….. day of ………….. 20 …. *[upon which this affidavit is endorsed] *[and upon a true copy of which marked “A” I have signed my name prior to the swearing hereof].

2. The assertions, allegations and information contained in the said (personal injuries summons, etc.) which are within my own knowledge are true. I honestly believe that the assertions, allegations and information contained in the said (personal injuries summons, etc.) which are not within my own knowledge are true.

3. I am aware that it is an offence to make a statement in this affidavit that is false or misleading in any material respect and that I know to be false or misleading.

SWORN etc

It is an offence to make a statement in an affidavit that is false or misleading and you can be fined up to €100,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 10 years, pursuant to section 29 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act, 2004.

Defamation Law in Ireland-the Facts You Should Know

defamation law ireland

In 2010 Donal Kinsella, a businessman, was awarded €10 m in the High Court in a defamation action against his employer. Kenmare Resources.

We all have a constitutional right to our good name, and protection against defamatory statements being published about us.

The principal piece of legislation in Ireland dealing with defamation is the Defamation Act, 2009.

This act defines a defamatory statement as follows:

“defamatory statement” means a statement that tends to injure a person’s reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of society, and “defamatory” shall be construed accordingly;

Statement includes

  1. Made orally or in writing
  2. visual images, sounds, gestures and any other method of signifying meaning
  3. a statement—

    (i) broadcast on the radio or television, or

    (ii) published on the internet, and
  4. an electronic communication

What is defamation?

Section 6 of the Defamation Act, 2009 sets out the tort of defamation, and it replaces the torts of slander and libel:

6.— (1) The tort of libel and the tort of slander—

(a) shall cease to be so described, and

(b) shall, instead, be collectively described, and are referred to in this Act, as the “ tort of defamation ”.

(2) The tort of defamation consists of the publication, by any means, of a defamatory statement concerning a person to one or more than one person (other than the first-mentioned person), and “ defamation ” shall be construed accordingly.

(3) A defamatory statement concerns a person if it could reasonably be understood as referring to him or her.

(4) There shall be no publication for the purposes of the tort of defamation if the defamatory statement concerned is published to the person to whom it relates and to a person other than the person to whom it relates in circumstances where—

(a) it was not intended that the statement would be published to the second-mentioned person, and

(b) it was not reasonably foreseeable that publication of the statement to the first-mentioned person would result in its being published to the second-mentioned person.

(5) The tort of defamation is actionable without proof of special damage.

You will see from the above that in order to win a case for defamation you will need to prove:

  1. The publication of a defamatory statement
  2. The statement is about you, or you can be identified from it
  3. It must be published to a third person, not just to the person to whom it relates (you).

Section 12 provides for defamation of a company, not just a natural person:

12.— The provisions of this Act apply to a body corporate as they apply to a natural person, and a body corporate may bring a defamation action under this Act in respect of a statement concerning it that it claims is defamatory whether or not it has incurred or is likely to incur financial loss as a result of the publication of that statement.

Defences to defamation actions

Part 3 of the Defamation Act, 2009 sets out certain statutory defences:

Remedies for defamation

The remedies are set out in part 4 of the Defamation Act, 2009 and include

  1. A declaratory order
  2. Damages
  3. Correction order
  4. Lodgment of money in settlement of action
  5. An order prohibiting publication of the defamatory statement.

A defamation action cannot be brought after a period of one year from when the cause of action arose, or, only if the Court allows in the interests of justice, two years.

This action cannot be brought in the District Court, though.

Conclusion

Nowadays the opportunity for publication of defamatory remarks has increased exponentially, thanks to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. When discussions online get heated or topics, such as water charges or pylon erection, raise passions it is easy to trade insults and make statements that could prove very expensive.

Just as traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, tv, radio needed to be careful about what was published individuals nowadays can be virtual publishers and get into deep trouble.

Making defamatory remarks on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube is just the same as a newspaper or magazine publishing defamatory material.

And the Defamation Act, 2009 makes it clear as a bell how such causes of action can be pursued, the defences, and the remedies for the injured party.