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Defamation by its very definition refers to the process of defaming someone. That doesn't mean it can only happen to celebrities, though – anyone can fall victim to defamation. Fortunately, there are avenues you can take to stand up for yourself, such as sending a Cease and Desist letter (defamation).
Read on for your straightforward guide to writing your letter, or finding a template or legal help to take the hard work out of this stressful process.
What is a Cease and desist letter (defamation)?
A Cease and desist letter is a document sent to a party whom you believe is taking part in an activity that they shouldn't be. The letter formally asks the party to stop engaging in a specific activity and also outlines the potential consequences of not complying with your request.
A Cease and desist letter specifically for defamation usually covers persons engaging in defamatory conduct, slander or libel. See our comprehensive guide for more information about other types of Cease and Desist letters.
Download this template at Lawpath
When should I use a cease and desist letter (defamation)?
If a company or individual has made false statements that are damaging to you or your business you can opt to send a Cease and Desist letter (Defamation). False statements could include both written and verbal forms.
Your letter may be used as evidence in legal proceedings should the damaging actions continue.
Defamation can come in the form of social media posts, internet articles, newspaper articles, text messages, online business reviews, emails, YouTube videos, blog posts, radio shows, television shows, art, novels, cartoons and photographs among others.
If members of the public would understand these communications to be about you, a Cease and Desist letter (defamation) is your first step to stop the offending conduct before you decide to take any further legal action.
What to include in this type of letter
The main elements to include in a Cease and desist letter (defamation) are specific details of what was said or written and how this hurts you or your business.
The letter may also include some or all of the below:
- The reasons why the defamatory statement is untrue
- A request to remove the defamatory content in the public forum
- A request for detail into where the defamatory content has been published
- A request for a written apology in the public forum or retraction
- A deadline by which they must complete any requested action before you will take legal action.
How effective is a Cease and desist letter (defamation)?
Cease and desist letters are generally taken seriously by most businesses and individuals but it's important to note that the recipient of the letter is under no legal obligation to comply with your requests.
The weight and import of a Cease and desist letter (defamation) may be enough to help many individuals and companies to see that the consequence of legal action far outweighs whatever they are doing.
Do I need to use a lawyer?
You'll need to make that call yourself. A lawyer may not be required to write or send a Cease and Desist letter, so, in theory, you can draft your own or use a Cease and Desist defamation template.
Letters sent by lawyers, however, often prove to be the most effective as they tend to carry more weight. They are also usually the precursor to legal proceedings and can become a critical piece of evidence. So, hiring a lawyer can bring important peace of mind if you think things could go that far.
Find a customisable cease and desist letter (defamation) template online
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How do I write a Cease and desist letter (defamation)?
When someone is acting towards you in a harmful way, you can write a Cease and Desist letter (defamation) before taking further legal action.
The most important thing to consider when writing your letter is to include a clear and concise description of the malicious activity taking place and include a time frame for the recipient to remedy the situation.
Secondly, the Cease and Desist letter (defamation) should make it clear to the recipient that the aim is to stop them carrying out the action and that further legal action will be sought if it does not stop.
Finally, you should send your Cease and Desist letter (defamation) by registered mail to the person or business responsible so if the issue does end up in court you can prove that the other party was notified. The registered post receipt will show when the party received the letter.
More on where to get free legal documents and templates online
A Cease and Desist letter (defamation) can be a tricky one to write, especially as it might be the first step in legal proceedings. A legal template can be extremely helpful to assist in taking the guesswork out of your document. You'll typically find the necessary legal jargon is included and nothing is left out.
Here is a selection of websites that allow you to view or download a Cease and Desist Defamation template for free.
- eForms. eForms provides a library of printable and electronic forms including a Cease and Desist letter (Defamation). It offers a free trial from 7 days with unlimited access to all documents and payment plans for regular use.
- Lawpath. Lawpath is a legal resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses which has free samples of legal documents available. Your first document is free or you can sign-up to access customisation options.
- Wonder.Legal. Wonder.Legal offers access to over 140 legal document templates which can be purchased for a one-time fee.
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