In the Netherlands this is called ‘smaad’ or ‘laster’. The Dutch word ‘smaad’ means: making accusations against someone publicly, in order to damage someones reputation. If you do this knowing the accusations are not true, it is called ‘laster’.
In the UK defamation is split into two legal bases that a person can sue for: slander and libel. Slander is defamation of a person through a transient form of communication, generally speech. Libel is defamation of a person through a permanent form of communication, mostly the written word. The Dutch law does not make this distinction.
When you are being confronted with slander of defamation, you can choose for filing a criminal complaint, starting a civil case, or both.
A criminal case can cause the perpetrator to change his or hers behavior. It can lead to a conviction, with a prabation period to prevent recurrence. In the criminal procedure the court can alse make a decision about financial compensation for damages.
Starting a civil procedure will most likely have the fastest result. If you choose the civil procedure, your lawyer can demand:
- removal of the accusations
- a penatly for any future accusations
- financial compensation.
Read our blog ‘False accusations in a family lawsuit‘.