Accidentally Giving Legal Advice Online

Did you know that you could be liable, for tens of thousands of dollars even

hundreds of thousands of dollars for the advice that you give online I’m talking

about when somebody asks a question in a group and you chip in with your two

cents worth it could be that you’re accidentally giving professional advice

and if they rely on that advice and lose money or lose an opportunity to make

money they could sue you did you know that ever said yeah go ahead name in

shame that restaurant that sold you undercooked pork you could be

encouraging them to do something that amounts to defamation if they sued for

defamation who are they gonna come after they could come after you have you ever

said oh that letter of demand you didn’t really infringe that copyright or just ignore it then what they’ll never come after you that’s legal advice if you don’t have legal qualification and a professional indemnity insurance you are if you make a mistake you could be in serious trouble have you ever given

casual tax advice yes you can claim that trip to Thailand as a tax deduction of course that’s a marketing expense no that is professional advice they need to go and see their tax accountants I’m

seeing this all the time I saw this recently in a group I was in somebody had asked some web designer to design her website and the designer had done a terrible job and this person was saying

I don’t know what to do I’ve paid for it should I just post the disgusting website here and then everybody see what they think should I name them and shame them on the page and the problem with naming and

shaming is that as the rhyming words suggest the purpose of naming them is to shame them and that’s the definition of defamation if you say something for the purpose of ruining their reputation there could be defamation and I know in some states truth is a defense to defamation so if you said that and it’s true you’re fine but in Australia and other countries in some states in Australia the truth is not a defense so for example it would be appropriate to take it to mediation or to court to resolve but by putting it on Facebook especially in a group in a public post where you could potentially have it go viral that

could amount to defamation and if you’re the person who said yes go ahead name and shame you could be the one who is liable for the legal costs so if you’re going to give advice online and I’m not

saying don’t interact don’t chat with people online but if you’re going to do it make sure that you’re giving people the clear indication or the clear message that you’re not a professional of course unless you are but if you’re not so if you’re a business coach and you’ve told them that literal demand

what you should be saying is I’m not a lawyer but if it was me I would ignore it that’s fine that’s your opinion or perhaps you should get a lawyer my first instinct would be to ignore it but

I can’t really tell because I’m not qualified something like that you have to have a disclaimer in your social media posts otherwise you could end up getting sued for lots and lots of money

and don’t think that people they aren’t going to rely on your advice why are they asking in the first place they asking because they want to know and the kind of person that would rely on professional advice from a stranger online that might just be the kind of person who would sue that stranger

online don’t let it be you I’m Katherine Warburton the legal lioness thanks for listening

The Legal Lioness. Overcoming severe bullying as a child instilled in her a passion to protect others. As a skilled litigator, she indulges in her dream to push-back against business-bullies who target her clients. She is an international award-winning lawyer and patent attorney and 5-time published author. Cathryn bullet-proofs her client’s businesses and protects them like a mama lioness protecting her cubs. She makes sure that no business is left without access to affordable, easy-to-understand legal information. She does this through her books, proactive legal workshops and 1-2-1 legal services.