Defamed by the press
If you have suffered serious damage to your reputation as a result of being defamed in the national or local press we can help you seek vindication.
Over the years we have helped thousands of public figures, HNWIs, businesses and professionals protect their hard-earned reputations. Our highly-regarded media and communications law department is unique because all our solicitors work exclusively in this field. This means that our clients receive the best possible advice and representation.
In many instances, defamatory articles in the press are a result of sloppy journalism: unchecked facts and rushed copy. In extreme cases, a journalist can prioritise a story ahead of the truth. Either way, the reputational damage done by a newspaper can be considerable. Newspapers enjoy large and loyal readerships - online and offline - who often take what is printed as gospel. Moreover, when a story is published by one newspaper it often ends up in several others.
The remedies our defamation solicitors can seek on your behalf include: removal, an apology/clarification, damages/compensation, and an undertaking (promise) not to repeat. In matters that go to court we can seek damages and an injunction. In nearly all successful cases, a statement can be made in open court putting the record straight.
There are three mains defences: truth, honest opinion and publication of public interest (sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Defamation Act 2013) as well as various forms of privilege defences (e.g. the reporting of court or parliamentary proceedings). We will carefully consider the merits of any defence advanced. We will also consider other potential causes of action. These may include:-
- Malicious falsehood
- The misuse of private information and/or breach of confidence, where there has been a breach of your privacy or confidence.
- Breach of data protection rights under the UK General Data Protection Regulation ('UK GDPR') and Data Protection Act 2018.
Claims for defamation must normally be brought within 12 months of the publication. This ‘limitation period’ will only be disapplied by the Court in very exceptional circumstances. Therefore, you must act fast to secure vindication, and instruct solicitors as soon as possible. If your complaint concerns a historic press article(s), you may want to consider instructing us to make a ‘right to be forgotten’ to Google and other search engines (and, in certain circumstances, the publisher).
Why should I instruct Brett Wilson LLP?
In short, to ensure that you have the best team fighting for you and to maximise your prospects of success. Defamation law is notoriously complex and it is generally ill-advised to instruct non-specialist lawyers. Our work and client care is of the highest standard. All cases are run by a specialist defamation solicitor. Every matter has partner involvement. If there is a good settlement to be negotiated, we are confident we are well placed to achieve it. If there is a case to be litigated, we are confident we can help you seek the best result.
When your claim is asserted on Brett Wilson LLP's letterhead, you can be sure it will be taken seriously. We advance claims against the press every week and are well-respected within newspapers' legal departments. Where a newspaper has made a mistake it will normally be possible to reach a relatively prompt resolution. Where this is not possible and it is necessary to go to court, we have long-standing working relationships with the best media law QCs and junior barristers and can draft them into your team.
As well as being listed in the prestigious Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners directories as a leading firm in the fields of defamation, privacy and reputation management law, partners Iain Wilson, Max Campbell and Tom Double, together with solicitor Elisabeth Mason, are all individually recognised as leading individuals. Most importantly, we receive excellent feedback from our clients and contemporaries.
Litigation can be stressful, time consuming and costly. Therefore at the outset of your case we will conduct a cost benefit analysis with you. We will talk you through this process. We offer honest and pragmatic advice to our clients. We will always consider alternative options, including asserting other causes of action, approaching intermediaries or PR work.
How do I instruct Brett Wilson LLP?
The first step is to book a preliminary consultation. At the consultation we will advise you on the merits of any claim, talk through the relevant practical and legal issues, and set out your options. We will review relevant documentation ahead of the consultation. The consultation will help you understand your position and allow you to make an informed decision about what action to take.
Consultations take place in our London offices or by Zoom, Teams or telephone. We can also travel to you.
To request a consultation with one of our specialist defamation solicitors please send us an email, complete our online enquiry form or call us on 020 3811 2540. If emailing or using the online form, please provide a short outline of your situation.
Details of the cost of a consultation will be provided following your enquiry.