A Concerns Notice is a process available in Defamation Law under the Defamation Act 2005 [NSW].

A Concerns Notice can be sent to a person who has made defamatory statements, giving them an opportunity to respond by making an offer to make amends.

In the event that a reasonable offer is made but is not accepted, that reasonable offer may provide a complete defence if the alleged defamed person decides to take legal action. However, it is up to a Judge to determine whether or not the offer ought to have been accepted and in doing so would consider whether it was a reasonable offer.

Issuing a Concerns Notice gives a person who may have breached the Defamation Act and exposed themselves to a claim for damages, an opportunity to prevent a claim being made against them by putting forward a reasonable offer.

Requirements

To be able to use the reasonable offer as a defence in any subsequent legal action the offer:

  1. must be in writing,
  2. must indicate that it is an offer to make amends under the Defamation Act,
  3. must include an offer to publish a reasonable correction of the matters in question; and
  4. should include an offer to pay the other party’s reasonable expenses incurred before the offer was made.

Whilst the offer may include (but it does not have to include) an offer to pay the compensation, this is not a requirement. However, it would be relevant as to whether it was considered a reasonable offer if proceedings were commenced.

A Concerns Notice is therefore an appropriate tool when you are seeking to resolve a matter quickly, usually with an apology and sometimes with compensation. This depends on the circumstances and on the legal advice the other party is given.

In many cases, a person may not respond to a Concerns Notice. This means that they have lost the opportunity to put forward an offer and to prevent proceedings being initiated against them.

Seek Legal Advice

If you wish to commence proceedings in relation to a defamation matter, you must do so within twelve (12) months from the date of publication. If you would like further information regarding defamation or general media law advice, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced solicitors on 9963 9800 or via the contact form here.