John Kelly > Harbottle & Lewis LLP > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Harbottle & Lewis LLP
7 Savoy Court

Work Department

Media and information group


John Kelly is a litigator who specialises in the area of reputation protection, privacy and defamation. Having been involved in many of the most high profile cases and developments in this area, John is recognised as a leading practitioner by Chambers UK, Chambers HNW, The Legal 500 and The Spear’s 500.

John works with clients to protect their rights and reputations. Whilst much of John’s work is confidential he represents a number of high-profile individuals, well-known brands, and FTSE 100 companies.

Personal clients include High Net Worth individuals, successful entrepreneurs, as well as leading individuals in the entertainment industry, music and sport. John has represented a host of well-known clients including Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Steve Coogan, Russell Brand and Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne. John has developed Personal Protection Principles which are used to protect clients reputations, their family and their security.

Corporate clients include leading consumer brands, as well as companies in the financial services and charity sector. Work for corporate clients includes corporate brand protection, advising on the media law aspects of complex litigation, and the protection of private and confidential information in such cases. In addition to this John has extensive experience of dealing with consumer affairs television programmes.

John is well-known in the area of sports law and acts for premiership and international football clubs, players, owners, managers, agents as well as governing bodies.

John is a regular speaker on Reputation Protection and Personal Protection rights both in the UK and internationally including in the US and Australia.


  • Trained at Schilling & Lom, qualified 1994
  • Schilling & Lom and Partners 1992-97
  • Mushroom Records Australia Head of Legal & Business Affairs 1998-99
  • Kelly & Co Lawyers Australia Partner 1999-2005
  • Schillings Partner 2005-13
  • Harbottle & Lewis Partner 2013 to date


Law Society of South Australia


  • University of Sheffield, LLB Hons (1991)
  • College of Law Chester, Law Society Final Examination (1992)
  • Admitted as a solicitor and barrister in South Australia 1999


The Ivy Club

Lawyer Rankings

London > Risk advisory > Reputation management

(Leading individuals)

John KellyHarbottle & Lewis LLP

Harbottle & Lewis LLP‘s media and information group is headed by ‘grandee of the industry‘ Gerrard Tyrrell , and is best known for its representation of all senior members of the Royal Family including HM The Queen. The firm lays its focus on claimant work and advises a spectacular client list on preventing publication of private information such as allegations concerning family life, medical history and business interests. On top of that, the ‘proactive and innovative‘ team acts for high-profile business individuals in relation to the processing and publication of inaccurate personal data in relation to a number of prominent risk databases. The ‘very quick‘ John Kelly is an expert in working with FTSE 100 companies, investment funds and charities. The team is also praised for its ‘exceptional‘ associates: ‘Strategic‘ associate Natasha Hibbert is building her practice in information and reputation protection; another name to note is senior associate Louise Prince, who advises corporate clients as well as a large number of phone hacking victims. Jo Sanders  left the team to become the UK head of reputation management at Withers LLP.

London > Risk advisory > Data protection, privacy and cybersecurity

Harbottle & Lewis LLP has notable expertise in the technology, media and entertainment sectors acting for a client roster, which includes The Pokémon Company International, Comic Relief, the Harry Potter Theatrical Production and Virgin. The team handles contentious and non-contentious mandates and takes a cross-departmental approach utilising the commercial, employment and litigation teams. Sacha Wilson also enhances the firm’s strength in the data privacy aspects of marketing, adtech and digital media. Daniel Tozer leads the technology and data practice and focuses on commercial data protection. Senior partner Gerrard Tyrrell leads the group’s contentious work and John Kelly regularly acts for private individuals.