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Mark Stephens

Work 020 3755 5725
Howard Kennedy LLP

Work Department

Dispute resolution.


Mark specialises in international comparative media law, data protection, privacy and regulation. He regularly acts for corporates and individuals in high profile international disputes both in the UK and abroad. He is well-known for his role in some of the leading cases relating to media and entertainment and is also widely recognised for his broader IP and defamation and privacy expertise. Mark has for the last 35 years had a leading practice in art and cultural property and was awarded a CBE for his services to the Arts and the law. His advice is actively sought by auction houses, national galleries, commercial galleries, artists, UHNWI and even countries. Mark has practised before every level of Court in England and Wales and has also practised abroad and before international tribunals and courts. He is also a Privy Council agent regularly working with a range of overseas lawyers. Mark is also a qualified mediator.


Trained Sheridans, Vincent Whatley Lane & Co, Paul Ridout; qualified1982; partner FSI (now Howard Kennedy) 1982.


Chairs Global Network Initiative, Design and Artists Copyright Society, Contemporary Art Society, Art and Cultural Property group of International Bar Association and Management Committee of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the Centre for Socio Legal Studies at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. Immediate past President of Commonwealth Lawyers Association.

London: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation

Within: Commercial litigation

Howard Kennedy LLP fields ‘excellent people who give good, sensible advice’. The practice’s scope of commercial litigation work covers international contractual and commodities disputes; financial services matters and civil fraud; professional negligence; IP; and insolvency disputes. It is also well known for sports and media sector litigation. Louise Bennett is commercial litigation head; Tim Bignell is ‘able to handle testing situations’; and Craig Emden is ‘a brilliant litigator’. Steven Morris, Fiona Hinds, Joel Leigh, Mark Stephens CBE and Simon Taylor are key contacts. Former commercial litigation head, Sue Thackeray, joined Kingsley Napley LLP.

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London: Private client

Art and cultural property

Within: Leading individuals

Mark Stephens - Howard Kennedy LLP

Within: Art and cultural property

Mark Stephens is ‘a brilliant strategic thinker’ and heads a skilled team at Howard Kennedy LLP which has ‘an excellent understanding of the practicalities of the art market and is therefore particularly well able to assist its clients in potentially contentious situations’. Robert Lands is ‘very experienced’ on all aspects of intellectual property, and Daniel McClean is ‘really hungry to get the best results for his clients, with an excellent understanding of the art world and a sophisticated understanding of artists’. Jonathan Sellors is ‘very practical and adopts a good strategic approach to matters’. The team is best known for its work in relation to impressionist, modern and contemporary art, and looted art and cultural property, and covers both transactions and contentious issues. It acts for high-profile artists, galleries, estates and charitable foundations including The Tate, ArtAngel, Sir Peter Blake and Turner prize-winner Mark Wallinger. Tim Bignell recently led the defence of a client in High Court litigation brought by the Art Loss Register for breach of confidential information, employment covenants and solicitation of company clients. In another major matter, the group acted for Meem Gallery (Dubai) on behalf of a group of leading Iranian artists and estates against Christie’s (London) and Darius and Marc Azari in relation to 300 disputed artworks.

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London: Public sector

Civil liberties and human rights

Within: Civil liberties and human rights

Howard Kennedy LLP is ‘an excellent firm’, and its civil liberties and human rights team includes ‘great leader and strong fighterMark Stephens, who ‘is second to none’ and ‘in a league of his own’. The team has a strong presence in the media and technology sector as evidenced by Stephens’ advice to leading global ICT firms on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014. Senior associate Elizabeth Morley has experience in freedom of expression law and is acting for an Egyptian journalist, blogger and human rights activist, who is currently subject to a travel ban imposed by the Egyptian government. The team is also acting for a high-profile artist on the UK government’s refusal to grant the client an entry visa, and is also advising on the return of the client’s passport and issues pertaining to international freedom of travel following the client’s arrest in Asia. Other notable clients include Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship and Global Witness. Associate Antonia Torr is ‘an outstanding lawyer’.

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London: Risk advisory

Reputation management

Within: Reputation management

Howard Kennedy LLP’s practice head Mark Stephens is ‘a high-profile star in the field’ and a ‘very experienced media lawyer’. Stephens and senior associate Elizabeth Morley ‘are the ultimate dream team clients want for high-profile and sensitive reputation management cases’. The group also includes associate and business crime specialist John Martyn and consultant David Hooper, who joined from RPC. The team has particular expertise in social media-related issues and also advises on corporate reputation matters, international free speech issues and blackmail cases. Clients include the Democratic Press and Keith Vaz. Sue Thackeray joined Kingsley Napley LLP and Dan Hyde joined Penningtons Manches LLP.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Intellectual property

Within: Intellectual property

Howard Kennedy LLP’s team focuses on soft IP matters and predominantly acts for clients in the media, retail and arts sectors. Practice head Robert Lands handles commercial and contentious IP issues; Mark Stephens has notable expertise in contentious IP, and a particular focus on the arts and culture sector; and consultant Jonathan Sellors is experienced in copyright, design rights and trade marks issues. Associate Alex Meloy is also noted. Clients include Pandora, Bloomberg and the Tate.

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Media and entertainment (including media finance)

Within: Media and entertainment (including media finance)

The ‘innovative’ team at Howard Kennedy LLP is ‘the team you want to go to if you have a high-profile and very sensitive media case’. Its expertise spans the music, publishing, film and TV sectors, advising on contentious and non-contentious matters spanning corporate, financing, international broadcasting, online content, IP, regulatory compliance, financing, employment and defamation. It acts for a number of North American media outlets including Washington Post, CNN, Thomson Reuters and New York Times. It also acts for UK-based media outlets including Express Newspapers. Mills & Boon, The Old Vic and Ingenious are also clients. The team is jointly headed by Mark Stephens, who is ‘second-to-none on strategy’ and is experienced in international comparative media law and regulation, and IP, publishing, entertainment and media specialist Robert Lands. They are ably assisted by Jane Amphlett, who handles employment matters, Tim Bignell, who handles disputes in the sector, senior associate Elizabeth Morley, who also handles dispute resolution and is ‘quietly charming, but with a steely core’, and consultant David Hooper, who joined from RPC in 2016 and ‘brings endless knowledge, expertise and wisdom’.

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