We appreciate that clients seeking advice in media disputes invariably require robust advice at short notice and, if necessary, the commencement or defence of court proceedings.
- Defamation and privacy, both for publishers/broadcasters seeking to protect their freedom of expression, and for individuals and organisations seeking to protect their privacy and reputations, including online;
- Exploiting and resisting information rights, both data subject access rights and freedom of information requests of public authorities;
- Copyright and passing off issues arising from comparative advertising campaigns, spoilers, serialisations;
- Compliance with regulatory codes, including the Ofcom Broadcasting Code;
- Court reporting, including avoiding restrictions and contempt.
Our Clients & Recent Work
- Acting for The Sunday Times in defence of a libel action against it by Prince Albert and Princess Charlene Grimaldi of Monaco;
- Representing Prince Nayef against the Independent and Robert Fisk in High Court litigation to secure an apology and damages in respect of an article on the Arab Spring;
- Representing Dominic Kennedy, The Times’ journalist, in a Freedom of Information Act challenge (all the way to the Supreme Court) to the Charity Commission’s reliance on a statutory exemption to refuse to provide information on its enquiries into George Galloway MP’s Mariam Appeal;
- Acting for an individual, the subject of false Facebook, Twitter and other profiles, including obtaining disclosure orders against several internet service providers to identify the wrongdoer, working with the police, securing the relevant computers and commencing and resolving proceedings for defamation, harassment and false attribution;
- Advising various university student union publications on threats of litigation for defamation and harassment;
- Acting for a charity, including through the Press Complaints Commission, to prevent harassment of vulnerable children and their families;
- Advising Ofcom licenced broadcasters with overseas audiences on investigations into compliance with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code;
- Acting for a prominent politician in securing an apology on a political blog site for defamatory allegations
- Acting for regulators, public authorities and disciplinary bodies in defending their decisions against actual and threatened defamation actions.
- Assisting charities and campaigning groups (e.g. Amnesty International, Citizens Advice, ActionAid, Shelter) with hard-hitting reports on the activities of controversial companies here and in the developing world.
Our media lawyers have acted in many prominent cases over the years, including the Spycatcher litigation with HM Government for The Sunday Times concerning the memoirs of Peter Wright; the action by Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas and OK! against Hello magazine in respect of the confidence attaching to the Douglas’ wedding photographs; the Reynolds case for Times Newspapers which established the defence of responsible journalism for the media; Paddy Ashdown’s case against Telegraph Newspapers in respect of his diaries concerning the interaction of copyright and freedom of expression; the successful 2005 challenge to the ban by Transport for London on the advertising of holidays in North Cyprus.
We have been involved in internet related litigation from the outset, for example acting for Takenaka, Japanese based architects, to trace and establish liability for a series of anonymous libellous e-mails, the first such case to reach trial, in 2000.
Similarly, we pursued some of the earliest Freedom of Information Act cases for journalists, including securing information from H.M. Treasury concerning the withdrawal of tax credits in the 1997 budget, and from the House of Commons concerning MPs expense claims.