You cannot defame a dead person.

As everyone knows, In Tolkien's Middle Earth, the Dead Men of Dunharrow (also referred as the Shadow Host, the Grey Host, the oathbreakers, or simply the Dead) were the shades of Men of the White Mountains (Ered Nimrais), who were cursed to remain in Middle Earth by Isildur after they abandoned their oath to aid him in the War of The Last Alliance.

Now, it is not well known, but the Dead Men of Dunharrow could have been defamed by Isildur to his heart's content, as, under Middle Earth (Ahhem ... New Zealand) law, you cannot defame the dead. They did abandon their pledge to him, after all.

But, let's return to the land of the living...

Everyone is entitled to their good name and to the esteem in which they are held by others. Everyone has a right to claim that their reputation should not be disparaged by defamatory statements made about them to third persons without lawful justification or excuse.

If a defamatory statement is made in writing or printing or some other permanent form, the tort of libel is committed. If the defamation is oral, or in some other transient form, it constitutes the tort of slander. At common law, damage was presumed in the case of libel and in respect of certain types of slander. However, slander was generally not actionable without proof of actual damage. Proof of damage is no longer necessary, so that for practical purposes there is now no distinction between libel and slander.

The right of action for defamation is a private legal remedy, the aims of which are to vindicate the plaintiff's reputation and to provide compensation for the injury to reputation, for the natural injury to feelings, and for the grief and distress caused. The defendant may prove the truth of the defamatory matter and thus show that the plaintiff has received no injury; although there may be damage accruing from the publication, if the facts published are true, the law gives no remedy.

Defamation proceedings can be very expensive. If you believe you have been defamed, talk to Rennie Cox about the most effective strategy to deal with the issue. Remember - reputations are hard won and easily lost. If defamation is threatened or occurring, contact Rennie Cox immediately