Index of tables
- Susan Aslan - ACK Media Law LLP
- Louis Charalambous - Simons Muirhead & Burton
- Jonathan Coad - Lewis Silkin LLP
- Ashley Hurst - Osborne Clarke
- Tony Jaffa - Foot Anstey
- Keith Mathieson - RPC
- Razi Mireskandari - Simons Muirhead & Burton
David Price -
David Price Solicitors & Advocates
- Geraldine Proudler - Olswang LLP
- Niri Shanmuganathan - Taylor Wessing LLP
- Graham Shear - Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
- Nigel Tait - Carter-Ruck
Mark Thomson -
- Adam Tudor - Carter-Ruck
- Dan Tench - Olswang LLP
- Gerrard Tyrrell - Harbottle & Lewis LLP
- Alan Watts - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
‘Top-tier’ firm Atkins Thomson is ‘pre-eminent in the field’ and rated for its ‘client-focused approach’. The team is headed by Mark Thomson, who has ‘a formidable intellect’, and the ‘commercially astute’ Graham Atkins, who has ‘a supreme ability to look after clients’. Senior associate James Heath is acting as lead solicitor for the claimants in the phone-hacking litigation against Mirror Group Newspapers.
Carter-Ruck is ‘a go-to firm’ for a wide-ranging client base that includes celebrities and high-net-worth individuals as well as global entities. Cameron Doley was part of a team that represented Martin Hemming in libel proceedings against Penguin Books. Other individuals singled out in ‘brilliant litigator’ Nigel Tait’s sizeable team include Claire Gill, Alasdair Pepper (who is ‘one of the most experienced media lawyers in the business’), Ruth Collard (who is ‘sure-footed and outstandingly forensic’), Adam Tudor and Guy Martin.
For some, Harbottle & Lewis LLP is ‘top of the tree’ for reputation management. The practice, which is valued for its ‘superb knowledge’ of this area, is regularly called on to advise senior members of the royal family; in 2015 Gerrard Tyrell (‘knows all the answers’) successfully represented HRH the Duke of York in a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation pertaining to a breach of privacy by the Daily Mail. Also recommended are the ‘outstanding’ Jo Sanders, who is ‘able to work out novel solutions to seemingly impossible situations’; and the ‘first-class’ John Kelly.
Olswang LLP’s ‘fiercely intellectual’ team is noted for its ability to draw on ‘huge resources that can match any firm in the field, while retaining a personal touch’. Equally adept at handling defendant and claimant mandates, the firm represents clients including ITV, The Guardian and Tom Cruise. Geraldine Proudler (who has ‘immense experience and impeccable judgement’) successfully defended The Spamhaus Project in libel proceedings initiated by two US-based claimants. Other key figures include Dan Tench, who has ‘one of the best legal brains in this field’; and Ian Felstead, who is ‘a first-rate practitioner’. Ashley Hurst joined Osborne Clarke in 2016.
The ‘hugely experienced and universally respected’ Keith Mathieson leads RPC’s practice, which is representing Mirror Group Newspapers in high-profile litigation pertaining to voicemail interception. In another key matter, the group successfully defended Times Newspapers in litigation initiated by Tim Yeo MP pertaining to an article published in The Sunday Times. Senior associates Kim Waite, Louise Turner and Harry Kinmonth are also recommended. David Hooper retired in 2016.
Schillings is ‘unquestionably in the top rank of firms specialising in defamation and privacy law’, and it supplements its legal expertise with risk consulting, intelligence-gathering and cyber security services. ‘Standout lawyer’ Keith Schilling represented JK Rowling in a successful libel claim against the Daily Mail. The team’s ‘unrivalled list of names’ was enhanced by the return of Magnus Boyd from Hill Dickinson LLP. Boyd and Jenny Afia ‘are as good as it gets when it comes to client handling’. Rod Christie-Miller, Rachel Atkins and Chris Scott all have ‘first-rate reputations in this field’.
Simons Muirhead & Burton has refocused its previously claimant-centric practice to a predominantly defendant one, an approach which has increased its workload for media defendants. The team has been representing News Group Newspapers in several matters and Louis Charalambous, who has ‘great judgement’, is representing the client in libel proceedings initiated by the chairman of Blackpool FC, as well as defending the same client against libel claims brought by Tulisa Contostavlos and Danny Simpson. Other key names include managing partner Razi Mireskandari, Martin Soames, who frequently represents publishers, and Stephen Shotnes.
Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s team attracts praise from its claimant clients, which ‘trust the firm implicitly’. David Engel (‘among the elite practitioners in media and privacy law’) was part of a wider team representing claimants Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company and Bank Alkhair in libel, malicious falsehood and breach of confidence claims. Recently promoted partner Abigail Healey is ‘exceptionally intelligent and extremely skilled’.
Collyer Bristow LLP is a longstanding and well-established force in the defamation and privacy field with substantial experience in all types of litigation and advice. It has noted a considerable rise in its privacy workload; ‘impressive tactician’ Rhory Robertson and ‘excellent’ senior associate Alex Cochrane represented the claimant in a case pertaining to an anonymised privacy injunction heard in the Supreme Court. ‘Heavyweight’ practitioner Steven Heffer remains heavily involved in voicemail interception cases. Kate Macmillan is ‘outstanding’.
David Price Solicitors & Advocates regularly acts for national newspapers and individuals. The group’s track record includes successfully acting for the defendant publishers in the first case to be heard under Section one of the Defamation Act 2013. Principal David Price is supported by associates Helen Morris and Julia Varley.
Howard Kennedy LLP’s team has ‘years of experience’ and considerable international expertise, which it puts to use in assisting clients with litigation in overseas jurisdictions. The team has a mixed claimant and defendant practice and acts for clients including Thomson Reuters and CNN. Mark Stephens and associate Elizabeth Morley ‘are a pleasure to deal with’. Sue Thackeray has ‘an excellent attention to detail’.
Slater and Gordon’s team ‘excels in the field of reputation management’. Jeremy Clarke-Williams, who is ‘unparalleled in client care and attention to detail’, represented former Top Gear producer, Oisin Tymon, in libel proceedings against the Daily Mail and Express Newspapers. The team is frequently sought out by unions and routinely represents police officers, with Adele Ashton acting for two officers in claims for misuse of private information.
Taylor Wessing LLP’s Niri Shanmuganathan is noted for his ‘ability to handle any client brilliantly, be it a high-net-worth individual or a media organisation’. Recent highlights include representing a female ex-banker in two High Court defamation cases pursued against former colleagues, as well as defending Associated Newspapers and Express Newspapers against allegations of harassment initiated by David Walliams and Lara Stone. Senior counsel Timothy Pinto leads the firm’s publishing group.
Rated for its ‘quick response times’ and ‘superb advice’, Wiggin LLP’s team is adept at handling pre-publication matters and litigation. Caroline Kean is part of a team defending Condé Nast in contempt of court litigation following the publication of an article in GQ magazine concerning the Rebekah Brooks trial. Amali de Silva (‘very thorough but also pragmatic’) is defending Associated Newspapers against libel, copyright and harassment claims.
Susan Aslan and Sue Charles jointly head ACK Media Law LLP’s team, which represents online and print publishers, as well as production companies. The group is representing regular client Reed Business Information in libel proceedings brought against its magazine New Scientist.
Niche media practice Archerfield Partners LLP has an ‘excellent’ team, which has been at the forefront of developing harassment claims; recent work in this area includes bringing a claim under the Protection from Harassment Act 2013 on behalf of Russell Brand and Jemima Khan against a masseur. Mark Bateman is ‘tenacious and a good technician’, Matthew Dowd is ‘a well-connected and logical litigator’ and Paul Chamberlain is ‘imaginative in finding practical solutions for clients’. The ‘highly experienced’ Kevin Bays joined from Gordon Dadds.
At Bates Wells Braithwaite, Rupert Earle (who is rated for his ‘ability to make a strong, convincing case’) defended The Sunday Times and two journalists in libel and malicious falsehood claims brought by Peter Cruddas. The ‘excellent’ practice has extensive experience representing charities and other clients including ActionAid and the Royal Society of Arts.
At Bindmans LLP, Tamsin Allen ‘combines top-level legal skills with strong strategic sense and insight’. Allen is advising on libel and privacy issues pertaining to a TV drama series on undercover policing.
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has a strong track record advising broadcasting clients. Nick Armstrong, who is the firm’s relationship partner for ITV and BskyB, is defending the latter in a breach of confidence claim. Duncan Lamont is representing several TV actors in voicemail interception litigation.
Farrer & Co’s Julian Pike is ‘a class act’ and frequently works with recently promoted partner Michael Patrick. The duo were part of a team that defended Axel Springer in libel proceedings pertaining to an article published in a German business magazine.
Foot Anstey is best known for representing the regional press, with clients including Johnston Press and Midland News Association. Tony Jaffa, who provides ‘sound and measured’ advice, is defending the Plymouth Herald in libel and malicious falsehood proceedings.
Voicemail interception litigation forms a significant part of Hamlins LLP’s caseload; Christopher Hutchings has considerable expertise in this area, which was underscored by his leading role in litigation against News Group Newspapers. Andrew Stephenson has ‘immense experience’ in this space.
Lee & Thompson LLP regularly acts for media and entertainment industry clients. Recent work for ‘shrewd operator’ Mike Brookes includes representing Liam Payne in various claims against News Group Newspapers. Mark Stafford and ‘brilliant’ associate Leo Dawkins are other names to note.
Lewis Silkin LLP acts for an impressive client list that includes Insanity Talent Management and AOL. Jonathan Coad, who ‘can be relied on to robustly and powerfully represent his clients’, is acting for the latter as the publisher of the Huffington Post, in Court of Appeal case that is considering the test for “serious harm”. Adam Glass is also recommended.
Payne Hicks Beach’s team leverages the firm’s private client strength to represent ultra-high-net-worth individuals in defamation and privacy proceedings. Dominic Crossley is acting for Max Mosley in a claim against Google. Sarah Webb has ‘good insight into her clients’ needs and objectives’.
Pinsent Masons LLP has ‘rapidly established itself at the very top of the media law field, with a burgeoning portfolio of major clients and a central involvement in some of the most important media and information law cases currently proceeding before the English courts’. The ‘fiercely intelligent’ David Barker leads a team that includes associate Alex Keenlyside, who ‘brings a calm intelligence to every case’.
Withers LLP’s team ‘has a clear understanding of the reputation management issues that affect many high-profile and high-net-worth individuals’. Amber Melville-Brown (‘approachable and personable, but with a razor-sharp knowledge and understanding of all aspects of media law’) and ‘exceedingly client-focused’ associate Rupert Cowper-Coles acted for the claimant in the first case to consider Section nine of the Defamation Act 2013.
BLM acts for insurer clients, as well as NWN Media and H Bauer Publishing. Tim Smith defended the latter, and its insurer, in litigation initiated against Take a Break magazine pertaining to the publication of the photograph of a child.
Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP ‘brings the resources and knowledge of a substantial City firm’ to bear for corporates and individuals alike. Graham Shear is a ‘first-rate practitioner’ and Joby Davies is ‘very experienced, efficient and sensitive’. Ian de Freitas is another name to note.
Bird & Bird LLP’s team has noted an increase in cross-border litigation; it is representing the Dahabshiil Group, alongside its team in The Hague, in defamation proceedings in the Netherlands. Phil Sherrell is ‘outstanding’.
Clintons remains heavily involved in the voicemail interception litigation and is representing celebrity clients in separate proceedings against News Group Newspapers and Mirror Group Newspapers. Roddy Chisholm Batten’s ‘confident, tenacious and robust approach to litigation results in fantastic commercial results time and time again’.
Fieldfisher has established itself as a key name for online defamation cases. Rhys Griffiths is ‘superb’ and Colin Gibson is also recommended.
At Gordon Dadds, consultant Robin Shaw regularly acts for Private Eye magazine and was part of a cross-border team defending the client in libel proceedings brought by Peter Robinson, former First Minister of Northern Ireland. Kevin Bays joined Archerfield Partners LLP.
The ‘excellent’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP successfully defended Primark against libel claims brought by a former supplier. The ‘very experienced’ Alan Watts, who heads the firm’s commercial litigation practice, is recommended.
Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘extremely good and highly professional’ reputation management team frequently supports its criminal and regulatory practice in cases involving high-profile individuals. Gerard Cukier and Charlotte Harris (who has a ‘very good rapport with clients’) are recommended.
Manleys Solicitors is ‘always willing to go the extra mile’ for clients. Mark Manley (‘always eager to explore the best option for clients regardless of personal interests’) is defending David De Freitas in libel proceedings.
Mishcon de Reya LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is singled out for its ‘strength in providing reputation management alongside broader litigation expertise’. Clients include the Tata Group and Pimlico Plumbers. The ‘outstanding’ Ramona Mehta leads a team that includes the firm’s deputy chairman Anthony Julius and James Libson.
Seddons strengthened its capability with the arrival of Mark Lewis (‘a fearless stalwart of individual liberty and reputation in the face of press intrusion’) from Taylor Hampton Solicitors in February 2015.
Sheridans’ Keith Ashby has ‘a highly strategic approach and gives clear advice in an accessible and reassuring way’. The ‘excellent’ team serves as sole legal adviser to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
Gideon Benaim (who is ‘superb with clients, commercially minded and a very effective negotiator’) leads the team at Simkins LLP, which includes recently promoted partner Jon Oakley. Naomi Campbell and JK Rowling are clients.
The ‘dedicated’ team at Swan Turton LLP ‘leaves no stone unturned’ and acts for clients including Ennio Morricone and Will Chalker. Catherine Fehler is noted for her ‘discrete, fast and strategic approach’.