This research investigates defamation cases from Van Diemen's Land courts and tribunals from 1805 to 1835. The investigation considers the extent to which the Rule of Law as known in the 21st century was followed. Official case reports were not published during these years. Consequently the cases for investigation are selected in the main from historical newspapers. A qualitative methodology is used for the investigation. The investigation of the cases sheds light on the competitive nature of the society. Rivalry developed as the free settlers and emancipated convicts struggled to make good. Defamation was the most common means of achieving superiority over a rival. Defamation cases of libel, slander and criminal libel are examined. Many tales of intrigue are brought to light through the examination of these historical cases.