Firm Trained With
I am the Partner who is the Head of the Media Law and Reputation Management Department. A qualified Solicitor-Advocate (I have rights of audience in all Higher Courts), I deal with all aspects of media law. I also conduct general civil and commercial litigation cases in the courts, particularly for complex, high-value claims. In addition, I act upon disputes dealt with through the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the Advertising Standards Authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office, and other entities. I handle a wide variety of cases, but my main areas of specialism include defamation, phone and email hacking, intellectual property, privacy, confidence, harassment, and data protection. I also act for clients in relation to contempt of court matters, particularly for journalists with regard to protecting their sources and in relation to what information they can and cannot publicise without being in contempt.
I have obtained many official apologies from organisations and individuals on behalf of my clients which have been widely broadcast on the major television channels, published on the internet, and in the Press. I have also obtained Court Orders for injunctions for my clients, along with damages/compensation and recovery of their legal costs.
In addition, my legal practice has involved resisting claims for a number of clients. A niche area of specialism I have carved for myself is, for example, resisting injunctions and compensation claims for breaches of confidentiality, privacy, data protection and defamation law in high net-worth or high-profile divorces. I mainly deal with claims for claimants against major media organisations however, and I have worked on some of the key cases over the last 14 years that have not just hit the headlines but have changed the law.
Although I am a member of the MW Civil Litigation Department, I also carry out some non-contentious work, such as advising upon and drafting terms and conditions for websites (eg, ‘click-wrap’ agreements), copyright licences, different types of data protection documents, marketing contracts, privacy documents, model release agreements, publishing contracts, and a number of documents for social media websites. As well as the above, I carry out pre-publication libel reading for clients ranging from authors to national newspapers and companies, with regard to their corporate literature.
Due to their very nature, many of my cases are confidential, particularly if they relate to privacy issues, but examples of some of the litigation matters I conducted include:
- Suliman Gani v the BBC, former Prime Minister David Cameron, and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon  - The BBC, Mr Cameron, and Mr Fallon defamed my client, Suliman Gani, when they falsely alleged that he supported Islamic State. Formal apologies were obtained from all three of them, and a six-figure out-of-court settlement was paid by the BBC and Mr Fallon. More information on the case can be seen in our news article MW Wins Defamation Payout from the Defence Secretary and BBC.
- In the summer of 2016 successfully resisting and settling out-of-court a threatened privacy super-injunction against my client, who is a prominent member of one of the two major political parties in the UK.
- Phone hacking cases, both against News Group Newspapers and Mirror Group Newspapers – Over the last few years I have obtained sizeable, confidential damages settlements and apologies for a number of clients who were the victims of phone hacking. I have also dealt with email hacking cases.
- Copyright claims – I have obtained sizeable, confidential damages settlements and apologies for a number of clients whose copyright works were unlawfully used by others. My clients include many famous photographers, some of whose collected works could be valued at £100,000s or millions of pounds.
- Bob Crow v Boris Johnson  - The former leader of the RMT Union, Bob Crow, sued the then London Mayor, Boris Johnson, for defamation in relation to leaflets issued during the 2012 London Mayoral campaign. As well as being a high-profile case, the judgment of this matter helped to clarify the law in relation to defamatory meaning in the context of an election. This claim was one of a number of defamation (and privacy) cases, mainly against large media organisations, that I conducted for Mr Crow from 2005 until his untimely death in 2014.
- Westlakes Scientific Consulting Limited (In Liquidation), High Court of Justice, Chancery Division  - After several High Court hearings, I obtained significant payments for my clients, two senior executives from a nuclear energy company who were beneficiaries of a trust of more than £2,000,000.
- The Leveson Inquiry in 2011 and 2012 – This was a highly publicised inquiry established by then Prime Minister David Cameron into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press following the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Lord Justice Leveson was appointed Chairman of the Inquiry. My clients appeared as witnesses at hearings for the Inquiry and I prepared statements and submissions for them. The News of the World ceased publication in 2011.
- Shaun Brady v Keith Norman , and Steven Trumm v Keith Norman  - These High Court trials clarified the extent to which a trade union and its officers are protected by the law of qualified privilege when sued for defamation, particularly regarding allegations in website publications.
- Eamon Keating v Roy Large  – I obtained for my client in a High Court hearing a damages award of £45,000, and an injunction, following publication of defamatory allegations about him on the internet.
A recent example of a litigation matter I worked upon as part of a team includes:
- Various Construction Workers v Various Constructions Companies: This was a defamation and data protection High Court claim where it came to light in 2009 that hundreds of Claimants had been unlawfully blacklisted. The case was settled in 2016. It is estimated that an agreed settlement with construction firms will see the Claimants receive more than £10 million in compensation. - Unite union seals £10million compensation deal for blacklisted workers - Daily Record
Awards, Accreditations and Memberships
I am a member of the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Courts Advocates.