How to Use a Cease and Desist Letter to Stop Slander and Libel

By Contributor - Updated June 05, 2017
Woman writing notes in a notebook

Slander and libel are both forms of defamation where a party spreads lies – verbal or written, respectively – about someone else. The rumors or lies have to be proved harmful to a person's or business reputation to be considered defamatory. A cease and desist letter is a written order to an individual or company to stop doing an action(s) and is generally used before filing a formal lawsuit against a party. You can write the letter yourself or contact a lawyer, depending on the severity of the false statements and on the type of corrective actions you are demanding.

Write Down Instances of Libel or Slander

Put together a list of instances verbal and written when the person spread false statements, rumors or lies about you or your business. Write down dates, places, name of individuals and a description of the statements made. If the statements were written, obtain copies.

The Letter

Write the cease and desist letter. There are many free templates online. You can also use a plain letter format and make sure to include all applicable details. Include sender and recipient information in the letterhead, including name and address. In the reference line, write "Demand to Cease and Desist."

Date the letter. Request the party to stop making the false statements and describe each statement. Describe how each false statement affects your business, job and reputation.

Inform the party that if the actions are not stopped and retraction is taken you will file a lawsuit.


If you are losing business or your job because of the lies, securing a lawyer may be the best alternative. If the false statements are not causing harm yet, you may want to prepare this letter yourself. If you choose to contact a lawyer, choose one with experience in defamation cases. Use your state or county's bar associations to find local attorneys. Make sure to have all your factual details written since an attorney will need them to prepare the cease and desist letter. You may also use this lawyer in a lawsuit if the person doesn't cease and desist as ordered.

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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