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Media: Content and Disputes

SM&B’s defamation team, headed by Louis Charalambous, acted for News Group Newspapers Ltd (NGN) at the Employment Appeal Tribunal and prior to intended proceedings being withdrawn before the Court of Appeal. The Claimant brought unfair dismissal and unlawful sex discrimination proceedings against Sir Elton John and two of his companies. After fervent press interest, a Reporting Restriction Order (“RRO”) was made by the ET. Shortly thereafter the parties reached a settlement and the ET decided to discharge the RRO. The Appellants argued to the EAT that the ET had no power to vary a RRO following the withdrawal of a claim. NGN, cross appealing, argued that the RRO had automatically expired upon the withdrawal of the claim. The EAT decided that: the ET had jurisdiction; an RRO did not automatically expire upon withdrawal of the claim and there was no error in law or principle in the balancing exercise conducted by the ET.

Media: Business and Rights

SM&B advises across all areas of development, production, finance and distribution. The firm’s clients range from traditional broadcasters, financiers and producers to cable platforms like Virgin Media and cutting edge online distributors like Vice Media. Recent film finance deals include advising Duck Soup films and Dr Pluto Films on investments with FremantleMedia.

Corporate, Commercial and Finance

SM&B advising on a series of high profile investments including The Pool, Knomo London and Alexa Chung’s investment with Pembroke and Oakley Capital Private Equity.

SM&B acted for the UP Group on an £8m inward investment from Livingbridge Capital, the UK based private equity house.  As part of this transaction, SM&B worked closely with Livingstone Partners, corporate finance advisors to The Up Group.


SM&B acted for a public sector organisation, against three Claimants in a complex whistleblowing claim valued at over ÂŁ1m involving proceedings in both the Employment Tribunal and High Court. The Claimants withdrew their claim on the first day of the scheduled hearing after the employment team significantly undermined their claim. SM&B secured a favourable outcome for the client by way of settlement of the costs application for a significant sum.


SM&B acted for the wife in financial proceedings brought about following significant non-disclosure on the part of the husband. The family team, led by department head Jane McDonagh, successfully issued an application to have the original order set aside. The case was then re-litigated and SM&B secured a significantly higher award for the wife and an order for the husband to meet the entirety of the wife’s legal costs.

SM&B acting for a Middle Eastern national residing in London, in financial proceedings following a divorce in the Middle East. SM&B successfully obtained freezing orders in the High Court against significant assets in London, pending determination of our financial application on behalf of the wife of a very wealthy Middle Eastern national. The team also obtained a port alert order preventing the child of the family from leaving the jurisdiction.


Richard Baskind and Alasdair George were instructed to structure the commercial, corporate and legal aspects of Pete Tong’s agreement(s) with The Heritage Orchestra, Jules Buckley and Chris Wheeler regarding the live performances of “Classic House” at the O2; and negotiating the commercial and legal aspects of Pete’s recording deal with Universal Music regarding the “Classic House” album.

Crime and Regulatory

SM&B acted on behalf of Carlo Palombo in the first EURIBOR trial. These charges relate to benchmark rate-rigging and are almost directly analogous to those in the LIBOR fixing scandal. The case will be heard in April 2018 and is expected to generate a large amount of media attention.

Tech, IP and Digital Rights

SM&B regularly assists with formulating world-wide branding protection and strategy for high profile corporate clients and fashion designers including Unilever, Amanda Wakeley, Boux Avenue and North London Collegiate School.

SM&B acting for a large UK Virtual-Reality Developer on the provision of design and development services to Warner Brothers in respect of a major international film IP, which will form a cornerstone of that IP’s worldwide release.

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to