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Possibility of Defamation

Saturday, December 24th 2011

Owners are alerted to the danger of defamation at general meetings and committee meetings

The law of defamation enables people to protect their reputation by taking legal proceedings, often called defamation proceedings, against others whose actions or words are claimed to have damaged their reputation (Definition Source NSW ICAC)

Proceedings or allegations usually arise from:

  • the written material being presented to a meeting,
  • the events or discussions at the meeting or
  • the recording of the minutes of the proceedings

Many statements made at meetings are defamatory. They are usually protected by a defence known as qualified privilege.

To preserve the availability of this defence, care should be taken to ensure

  • that the person making a statement is not motivated by malice or want of good faith
  • that written matter is succinct and factual
  • that the statement is true and
  • that the statement is not overemphasised or unduly repeated

Do not allow meetings to be tape recorded. A majority decision of the people entitled to vote at the meeting should be enough to prevent tape recording

(Section Source “Queensland Community Schemes Law & Practice”, CCH Australia Limited 2004 by Gary F Bugden)

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