The first step involved in filing a libel lawsuit is understanding the definition of the offense. The second step is consulting with a libel attorney. Then your complaint needs to be drafted and submitted to the appropriate court authority along with any necessary filing fees. Even though you file a case, it is important not to eliminate the possibility of an out-of-court settlement.
Before you attempt to file a libel lawsuit, you should have a clear understanding of the legal definition of the offense in the jurisdiction where you plan for the case to be heard. Many people confuse libel and slander, and some believe that the two must go together. In general, libel refers to false statements that are published and have the potential to defame someone’s character. The jurisdiction that your case will be filed in may have a refined definition.
Familiarizing yourself with the law will provide you with an understanding of the type of accusation that you are about to make. It will also provide you with an idea of how easy or difficult it may be to prove your case. It does not, however, make you a legal professional. Before you officially open a case, it is very wise to consult with a libel attorney. This is a specialized area of law, and many general practice attorneys may lack the experience to make a qualified assessment.
If you have retained an attorney, he or she will need to produce the documents regarding your case to submit to the court. If you are planning to handle the matter yourself, you will need to compose the necessary documents. Generally, there is a format that must be adhered to, so you may need to familiarize yourself with it before you try to compose your complaint. Do not forget to include all necessary information, such as the legal name of the party you wish to sue and the grounds for the libel lawsuit.
The next step should be to submit your complaint to the clerk of courts or a similar authority. In most jurisdictions, a libel lawsuit is a civil matter. Filing a lawsuit for a civil matter usually costs money, so you should be prepared to pay any necessary fees.
While you are waiting for your court date to arrive, either you, your lawyer, or the two of you should work on building your case. One important task in this regard is gathering evidence to prove the necessary elements of the offense. You may also want to attempt to settle out of court if it is an option.