In this age of instant communication, reputations can be destroyed in the blink of an eye and attacks on reputations can now occur in many places, from social media and the internet to the mainstream press, or television. Our experts specialise not just in representing high-profile media personalities, corporate leaders, politicians and organisations, but also the general public, for whom a defamatory attack or campaign against them may be a once-in-a-lifetime event, but equally (and sometimes more) damaging to them.
Partner – Head of Media Law and Reputation Management
In select cases we offer clients conditional fee agreements (ie, no win, no fee funding).
As well as having a wide range of experience of suing defamation defendants in the High Court for damages (ie, compensation), orders, and injunctions, we take a practical approach to these disputes and settle most of them out-of-court.
We realise that being dragged through lengthy court proceedings under the glare of public and media scrutiny is not always the ideal solution for our clients. Many would prefer a discreet out-of-court settlement of damages, sometimes with a public apology and other times confidentially, depending upon the preference of our clients.
At McMillan Williams, we also seek to prevent publication of planned defamatory pieces, but where that has not been possible, we act swiftly to repair the harm done by the defamatory publication or broadcast.
Our lead Partner dealing with defamation disputes is a former national newspaper journalist, as well as a former libel consultant lawyer to the press, and as such he has an unusual and helpful perspective as a solicitor upon how the media works, and knowledge of the best tactics to deploy to obtain favourable settlements for our clients.
After settlement has been reached, or a trial concluded, we also offer a press release drafting service to ensure our clients’ good reputations are fully restored, if a particular client wishes to publicise their matter.
As well as the above, for our corporate clients that are proactively taking measures to protect their reputations, we offer training seminars upon how to do so, and we prepare risk assessments and report upon company systems from a defamation perspective.
We also provide training to organisations upon how to try to avoid accidentally defaming a third party in their publications, whether this be via newsletters, leaflets, slogans, giving quotes to the media, advertising, or another method of communication.
In addition, we provide a pre-publication libel reading service to novelists, script-writers, website content drafters, speechwriters, and other writers, as well as to organisations and companies that have websites.