Vindication of Professional Reputation Arising from Defamatory Online Publications is an open access article in the Beijing Law Review by Ian Freckelton QC. The abstract explains:
This article identifies the growing phenomenon of professionals suing their clients/patients for online defamation of their professional status and reputation. It reviews the phenomenon of ratings websites and scrutinises the growing popularity of such forms of feedback, identifying benefits but also detriments of such sites, especially when they are commercially influenced or unregulated. It notes that adverse feedback can be legitimate and helpful for both consumers and professionals but that it can also be the product of distress, anger and malice. This article reviews key court decisions in Germany, England, Canada and Australia where actions by disgruntled practitioners against clients/patients and/or publishing websites have succeeded in spite of the traditional diffidence on the part of professionals to engage in such litigation. It argues that the phenomena of defamation actions taken by professionals against their clients/patients and attempts to secure injunctive relief to prevent ongoing publication of false and reputation-damaging material are likely to grow in light of the potential for disinhibited and damaging publications by aggrieved persons on social media and other online forums.