Rupert Earle is outstanding”

          Legal 500

Clients seeking advice in media disputes invariably require robust advice at short notice and, if necessary, the commencement or defence of court proceedings. 

Our experienced team has worked on many high-profile defamation and privacy cases. 

We have a particular expertise in new media disputes, and have been involved in internet related litigation from the outset. In 2000 we acted for a Japanese architecture firm to trace and establish liability for a series of anonymous, libellous emails, the first such case to reach trial.

We have been active in groundbreaking Freedom of Information Act cases for journalists, including securing information from the Treasury on the withdrawal of tax credits in the 1997 budget, and from the House of Commons concerning MPs expense claims.

Our Clients

Our clients include high-profile individuals, publishers, newspaper groups, broadcasters, media and non-media businesses and organisations.

Our Services 

We advise on:

  • 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; and
  • Court reporting, including avoiding restrictions and contempt.

Recent Work

  • Acting for The Sunday Times, David Walsh and Alan English, in seeking to recover from Lance Armstrong (on grounds of fraud/deceit), monies paid over and costs incurred in his 2004-06 libel action against the newspaper and its journalists;
  • Acting for The Sunday Times and two of its journalists in an action brought against them by Peter Cruddas, former Co-Treasurer of the Conservative Party;
  • Acting for The Times in the Supreme Court and Strasbourg in a challenge to the UK's costs regime in publication cases
  • 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 and court reporting issues;
  • Using the press regulators to prevent harassment (e.g. of vulnerable children and their families) and secure corrections and apologies (e.g. for the Royal Albert Hall);
  • 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 (eg Amnesty International, Citizens Advice, ActionAid, Shelter) with hard-hitting reports on the activities of controversial companies here and in the developing world.
  • Providing copy clearance for films and books, including biographies of Prince Charles (the Rebel Prince, Harper Collins and Jan Wenner (Sticky Fingers, Canongate).

Other past cases in which we have been involved: 

  • 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.
  • Acting for journalist Jon Ungoed-Thomas in the Information Tribunal and Divisional Court a challenge to the House of Commons' withholding of details of MPs' expense claims.

Contact the Media Disputes team >

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