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Iain Wilson


Media and communications law

Iain is the managing partner of Brett Wilson LLP and heads up the firm's media and communications law department.  Specialising in libel, privacy and harassment, Iain's clients include HNWIs, politicians, celebrities, professionals, local governments and numerous corporations and institutions from Premier League football clubs to The Law Society.

Iain is one of the most highly-regarded solicitors practising media and communications law.  He is recognised as a leader in the field of defamation/reputation management by the prestigious Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners directories.  He is recommended for his HNWI reputation management advice by both the Spear's 500 and the Tatler Address Book.

Iain and his team specialise in preventing or limiting the damage caused by negative and/or intrusive publications, both online in the traditional media and online.  This may involve seeking to suppress publications (including by applying for injunctive relief) and/or seeking compensation where damage has been suffered.  In addition to this, Iain acts in cases brought about to end sustained campaigns of harassment (online and offline) - typically perpetrated by disgruntled former partners or employees.  Iain is also regularly involved in cases where data/confidential information has been leaked/misused.  Whilst predominantly known as a claimant solicitor, Iain recognises the importance of freedom of expression (where it is exercised responsibly) and undertakes a significant amount of defendant libel work.

Iain regularly writes on the development of the law in these areas.  He is the author of Westlaw Insight's chapters on the misuse of private information and anonymous defamation and frequently contributes to Halsbury's Law ExchangeLexisNexis PSL and the Law Society Gazette.  Iain is regularly interviewed by the national and international media for expert commentary.  Recent contributions include The New York Times, The Times, The Guardian, The I, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Bloomberg New York, CNN and various BBC productions.

Whilst Iain now practices media law exclusively, he was also recommended in the 2013-2015 editions of the Legal 500 for his work in civil fraud and has acted for a number of parties in litigation before the Chancery Division of the High Court.  He also has extensive experience of criminal litigation and regulatory work.  This broader knowledge is often a useful attribute when dealing with claims that involve allegations of criminality.

Iain is popular with clients who appreciate him for his considered advice, as well as his dedicated and individual approach to their cases.  As department lead, he has strategic input into the majority of his team's cases.

Iain is the Vice-Chair and a founding member of The Society of Media Lawyers.

Recent work highlights include:-


  • Securing the dismissal of a claim brought against a biographer and literary agency in Haviland v The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd & Anor [2022] EWHC 1688 (QB).
  • Securing a £70,000 damages award for a senior academic falsely accused of sexual misconduct in Blackledge v Person(s) Unknown [2021] EWHC 1994 (QB).
  • Securing and upholding the dismissal of a claim brought by a man claiming to have invented Bitcoin in Wright v Ver [2020] EWCA Civ 672, the first time the Court of Appeal has considered section 9 of the Defamation Act 2013 (whether the court has jurisdiction against defendants based overseas).
  • Securing substantial damages for online pornography recovery platform NoFap LLC and its founder against Scram Media Limited after it made false allegations about its affiliations and fundraising.  Press release.
  • Securing damages for a QC accused of making errors in the prosecution of England cricketer Ben Stokes in Morgan v Times Newspapers Ltd [2019] EWHC 1525 (QB) and similar claims against The Telegraph and The Daily Mail.
  • Securing £55,000 compensation after allegations of animal cruelty made on Facebook (Suttle v Walker [2019] EWHC 396 QB).
  • Securing £40,000 compensation from the police and various media outlets for an individual wrongly circulated as wanted in the press.
  • Securing £10,000 compensation for an individual defamed on Facebook by a love rival.
  • Securing numerous pre-action libel settlements against the national press.
  • Suing a leading due diligence database and obtaining damages, costs and the removal of a UNWI’s profile.
  • Securing several libel settlements against former employees who had left malicious reviews on Glassdoor. 
  • Successfully applying for a malicious libel claim brought by a former partner to be struck out post-judgment.

Privacy claims

  • Misuse of private/information: Securing £50,000 in damages for an academic who had been the victim of a serious campaign of online harassment during which imposter Twitter accounts were set up in her name offering sexual services in Smith v Backhouse (2022) (SIOC).  The Court of Appeal decision in this case (Smith v Backhouse [2023] EWCA Civ 874) gives importance guidance on the use of undertakings to court in litigation.
  • Misuse of private information: Securing £15,000 compensation for the malicious publication of information relating to the claimant’s mental health on Facebook in JQL v NTP [2020] EWHC 1349 (QB)
  • Revenge Porn: Securing £65,000 compensation for the unauthorised sharing of intimate photographs by WhatsApp.
  • Revenge Porn: Securing £15,000 compensation for the unauthorised emailing of intimate photographs.
  • Revenge Porn: Securing £20,000 compensation for the unauthorised sharing of intimate photographs by Facebook Messenger.
  • Breach of Confidence: Securing £50,000 compensation for the broadcast of inaccurate information relating to an individual’s health.
  • Breach of Confidence: Securing £35,000 compensation following the unauthroised disclosure of medical information.
  • Breach of Medical Confidence: Securing £20,000 compensation for the unauthorised use of photographs taken during a medical procedure.
  • Securing £10,000 compensation and costs from an employer where a member of staff had used confidential information for personal reasons.
  • Securing substantial (£50,000+) payments in voicemail interception and ‘blagging’ claims.


  • Successfully securing £30,000 damages and bringing contempt of court proceedings against a Tinder stalker in Dew v Mills-Nanyn [2022] EWHC 1925 (QB).
  • Successfully bringing contempt of court proceedings against a politician’s former aide (Galloway v Ali-Khan [2018] EWHC 780 (QB).
  • Obtaining an injunction to protect a solicitors’ firm from a five year campaign of online harassment and securing the defendant’s committal when the injunction was breached (QRS v Beach [2014] EWHC 3057 (QB) and QRS -v- Beach [2015] EWHC 1489 (QB)).
  • Securing £5,000 for compensation from a high street retailer after an employee had sent a customer sexually explicit text messages.
  • Obtaining and enforcing an injunction against an individual harassing the employees of a local authority.
  • Identifying the perpetrator of a long-running campaign of online harassment by obtaining disclosure orders against various online platforms and telephone companies.
  • Identifying a stalker by obtaining a disclosure order against a manufacture of bugging devices.
  • Securing injunctions against a number of stalkers.
  • Shutting down numerous hate campaigns orchestrated on the World Wide Web and social media

Advisory work

  • Advising a foreign embassy on criminal and civil harassment law.
  • Advising a Premier League football club on defamation matters.

Iain was the lead solicitor in several seminal cases:-

Online harassment/data protection

Headed up a team instructed by the Law Society to bring representative proceedings on behalf of the legal profession to close down the controversial website Solicitors from Hell.  The landmark judgment in the successful action (The Law Society & Ors v Kordowski [2011] EWHC 3185 (QB)) provides important guidance on representative proceedings, online harassment and the applicability of the Data Protection Act 1998 to the publication of material on the internet.


Acted for the claimant/appellant in Tamiz v Google Inc [2013] EWCA Civ 68, which was the first time the Court of Appeal considered the liability of internet service providers for libel. The Court held that Google Inc could be liable as publisher at common law in relation to its Blogger platform. This decision remains the leading case in this important area.

In Brett Wilson LLP v Person(s) Unknown [2015] EWHC 2628 (QB), obtained the first defamation judgment against ‘persons unknown’ (a now common claim).  The claim was also the first to meet the section 1(2) threshold under the Defamation Act 2013, which imposes an additional burden on corporate claimants.


Defended the Chief Executive Officer of the Law Society in a slander claim brought by the operator of a website. The claim was struck out following a successful abuse of process application (Kordowski v Hudson [2011] EWHC 2667 (QB)).

Civil Fraud

Securing a judgment for £436,000 for the victim of an unauthorised gambling syndicate, against the wife of the scheme’s operator (who had received funds) (O’Neil v Gale [2013]EWCA Civ 1554).

Iain read politics at the University of Bristol prior to attending the College of Law in London. Before establishing Brett Wilson LLP Iain worked as a solicitor in the civil/regulatory department of a Central London firm.

If you would like to contact Iain directly, please send him an email.