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Chapter 4

ADMS 2610 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Qualified Privilege, Tortious Interference, Trade Secret

Administrative Studies
Course Code
ADMS 2610
Robert Levine

of 3
Session 4
Chapter 4 (pg. 65-68, 70-74)
Intentional Interference with the Reputation of a Person
Defamation false statements that injure a person’s reputation
- Law of tort
- Can take the form of either Libel or Slander
- Libel defamation in some permanent form such as in writing, a cartoon
- Slander false statements or gestures that injure a person’s reputation
- Fell under the jurisdiction of the Common Law with the passage of time
- Before the introduction of printing, defamation took the form of slander
Defences to a claim of defamation
- Qualified privilege applies if the defendant can show that the statements
were made in good faith and without malicious intent (even though the facts
that he or she believed to be true at the time were subsequently false)
o Example: an employer provides a letter of reference containing
derogatory statements (which the employer believes to be true and
fair assessment) about an employee
Justification of these exceptions is based upon the importance
of free speech on matters of public importance and balancing
this intent with the protection of the individual’s reputation
- Absolute privilege protects the speaker of the words absolutely, regardless
of the words’ truth or falsity (even if made with malicious intent)
o This defence is limited to those cases where it is in the public’s
interest to allow defamatory statement to be made
o Statements made by Parliament before a Royal Commission, in court,
at coroner’s inquest are not subject to an action for defamation by a
person injured by the statements
- Truth of Statement (as to the statements made)
- Death of a party (cannot defame the dead)
- Criminal Element
o Libel can be criminal if published without lawful excuse or
justification exposing the person to hatred, contempt or ridicule
- Fair Comment (Elements)
o (1) Reasonable person recognizes the statement as a comment based
on true facts
o (2) Comment must be of public interest
o (3) Comment must be “fair” or represent an honest expression of the
real view of the person making the comment
Business-Related Torts and Crimes
- Businesses may engage in improper practices that cause injury to others
- Untrue statements about a competitors goods or services
- Some businesses may attempt to steal trade secrets
- Agreements to restrict trade between businesses
- Protected through Common law and Statute Law (Competitions Act)
Slander of Goods a statement alleging that the goods of a competitor are
defective, shoddy or injurious to the health of a consumer
- If untrue, could cause injury to the competitor and would be actionable at
- This tort is not limited to business persons: consumers who make untrue
statements would also commit the tort of slander of goods
Injurious Falsehood false statements about a firm, its products or business
practices intended to dissuade others from doing business with the firm
- Closely related to slander of goods but with a wider scope
- Not only may the goods be the subject of slander but the business and/or
owners as a whole as well
- This tort arrived from the United States
Slander of Title an untrue statement about the right of another to the ownership
of goods
- It may take the form of statements that the competitor or seller has
improperly acquired the goods put up for sale
- If untrue, can be actionable at law
Breach of Confidence improper dealings with competitor’s employees
- Actionable tort
- Offering money for trade secrets
- Remedies in these cases are usually money damages against the employee
for breach of confidence (along with the right to dismiss the employee for the
- Also an injunction against the other business to prevent it from using the
improperly acquired trade secret
- Restraint of trade (agreement between firms to fix prices, injure
competition or prevent others from entering a market) are treated as
“business crimes” under the Competition Act
o Enforced by the Crown because these activities are treated as
contrary to the public interest
- Inducing another to break or sever a business relationship
- Deceit or fraudulent misrepresentation (is a tort that arises when a party
suffers damage by action upon a false representation made by a party with
the intention of deceiving the other)
o Statements must be made of a material nature, must be made with the
intention of deceiving the other party
Must be known to be false or made recklessly without caring as
to their truth or falsity
o Plaintiff must have relied on the misrepresentation
o If proven fraudulent, it would permit the injured party to rescind the
contract made and be entitled to damages for any loss suffered as well
as punitive damages
- Fraudulent conversion of goods (is a tort that arises when the person has
obtained goods under false pretenses)
o Different from theft of goods as the goods are voluntarily delivered by
the owner to the person who obtains them through the fraud
Example: a person may obtain goods on credit by posing as the
agent or employee of a well-known customer of the seller or by
the presentation of a cheques as payment for the goods
o It is also a criminal offense
Unfair Business Practices business practices designed to take advantage of
consumer inexperience or ignorance
- Usually dealt with through consumer protection laws
- Are also tort laws
Tort Law intentional or unintentional interference with a person’s property,
person or reputation
- Intentional interference (willful)
o To a person (assault, battery, false imprisonment)
o To reputation (defamation slander and libel)
o To property (trespass to land or goods)