Libel on its Face Law and Legal Definition

Libel on its face or libel per se means a defamatory statement that does not require further explanation as to the statement is defamatory. In libel on its face, the statement will speak for itself.

The following is an example of a state statute (California) defining ‘libel on its face.’

According to Cal Civ Code § 45a, a libel which is defamatory of the plaintiff without the necessity of explanatory matter, such as an inducement, innuendo or other extrinsic fact, is said to be a libel on its face. Defamatory language not libelous on its face is not actionable unless the plaintiff alleges and proves that he has suffered special damage as a proximate result thereof. Section 48a of this code Special defines damage.