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Wilson v Bauer Media Pty Ltd and Anor- Law Case Study

Question :

The law of Tort has given rights to the individuals for all the civil wrong which affect them in certain ways. It mainly covers the compensation and damages in the form of various methods. As tort implies the ways in an individual's rights are protected. Defamation is an important element in tort which provides and protects the rights of the individual in every due course of work. As defamation makes it abruptly easy and forgoing by protecting the reputation of every person.

  • Explain defamation and ways through which an individual's right is protected?
  • What are the essential element for Tort and its damages?
  • What was the impact of this case on society?
Answer :

Background

Defamation is an important element in the society as all the person has the right to live their life with dignity and peace and a person's reputation is way more important than anything else. It actually means the false statements that are being made by any person to harm their professional and personal life. In tort, there has been provided various damages and compensation for the person who has been affected by defamation. Thus, it can be through any means that may be personal or by the gesture, in written form or with signs. Defamation is the sensitive topic for any person as every person want to lead their life with dignity so the court has provided the following ways in which a person can protect themselves from being defamed.

Facts

Rebel Wilson is a Hollywood star and also an Australian actress, She has been most of the famous celebrity and has done so many pictures, In between 18 May 2015 and 20 May 2015 Bauer Media Pty Ltd and Bauer Media Australia Pty Ltd has made m,any publications on Rebel Wilson which said that she is a Serial liar and has made a fake identity to enter in Hollywood. Even the publishers also wrote that Wilson has invented fantastic stories so that she can make in Hollywood. The publisher claim that she has said that her age is 29 years but in real she is of 36 year old. She has used a fake name her real name is Melanie Elizabeth, and she also lied about her parents, lifestyle and upbringing. With these defamatory statements it reached ton all over the media, televisions, radio and all the social media platforms. This adversely affected her image in the Hollywood and also in all over Australia and world wide. Within that time she was working in Pitch perfect film and the defamatory statement also included that she is big fat liar in which the publishers later removed the word fat. Thus she has filed a defamation case against Bauer media pty ltd and Bauer media Australia pty ltd that they had made false allegations against her and it effected her work, her lifestyle in the society.

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Issue

  • Whether the act of Bauer Media Pty Ltd and Bauer Media Australia Pty Ltd amount to defamation?
  • Is that defamatory statements affected the image of Rebel Wilson?

Judgement

Justice Dixon, has recorder all the evidence given by Wilson and has noticed that she has not done such act and all the information given by her on her name, age, lifestyle and her upbringing is variably correct. The Bauer Media Pty Ltd and Bauer Media Australia Pty Ltd has made wrong statements against her. Court held that there are some ethics and morals that should be followed by the media before stating any false claim against any person. Publishing a article for a women about her being a liar just for the sake of earning profit is a malice act and is not acceptable. J Dixon also stated that he has used that so as to injure her image and reputation in the society as even when at first asked to apologise they refuse to do that and the statements made by the publishers were not evident and they were not having any proof about that. Thus it has created a very tough time for Wilson and she and her family were badly hurt and affected by that and all the statements were baseless and was with non meaning. So the court has ordered the highest amount of defamation in history that is of $4,567,472 amount of damages against Bauer Media Pty Ltd and Bauer Media Australia Pty Ltd in which $650,000 came in general damages and $3,917,472 were special damages.

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Where general damages implies that damages for Wilson that she was speaking the truth and such damages use to awarded to all the person who was stuck in this defamation act in spite of not been wrong. So the court made the general damages as true to the facts which were given by her for proving her innocence.

The special damages covered in which as Wilson was a lead celebrity and was doing a film and such contradictory statements affected her image in public and also she was not getting other opportunities on that time so she is liable to get special damages.

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