Sure, you can sue for defamation in Taiwan the same as most other countries. People do it here all the time: politicians, celebrities, talk show hosts, even the President and VP, publish outrageous lies about each other, file lawsuits for defamation and absurd countersuits, and eventually the court issues a totally stupid and erroneous judgment.
Even in an advanced country, litigation should always be the last resort. It’s extremely time-consuming, expensive, emotionally draining, and the results are uncertain. Here in Taiwan you can multiply that times 10. Taiwan’s judges are morons; the legal system is a joke. I would only recommend that the owner of the school file a suit in this case if he/she is interested in gaining an education regarding how that “system” works, and not in order to actually accomplish anything.
Incidentally, I believe the requirements to prove defamation in Taiwan are the same as in the US:
- Publication (oral or written) of
- a false statement of
- material facts
- which causes actual damages
Based on the above factors, a statement of opinion is not actionable; it must be a statement of facts. Therefore, to say, “I believe the teachers at X School are all a bunch of incompetent, drug-addicted pedophiles from Canada,” is probably perfectly acceptable as it’s a statement of opinion, not facts. Moreover, it must be false. As for “material” facts, that means the statement must concern a very significant matter; to say the teachers wear funny shoes may not qualify as material. Finally, causation of damages can be very hard to prove. It’s not enough to show that enrollment has declined recently; one must prove that enrollment declined as a direct result of the false statements (ie, one may have to interview prospective parents of enrolees who changed their minds due to the statements and sent their kids elsewhere as a result, and get them to state that in court or at least in sworn affidavits).
Proving all of that will be a royal pain in the ass. Bear in mind, also, that most Taiwanese lawyers are incompetent, so if you succeed in finding a decent lawyer you’ve done very well, but of course there’s no guarantee you’ll prevail. You are guaranteed that you will spend considerable money on attorney fees and will get seriously pissed off, from time to time over the year or two that it takes to prosecute the case at the attorney’s failure to communicate, failure to perform competently, failure to bill accurately or explain the charges, the outrageous antics from the other side, and the ludicrous rulings from the court.
In short, I would reccommend against litigation. They need to find some other way to work out their problems and/or to impress parents with the quality of their school.