Are you being harassed? Do you need it to stop?
Over the years our harassment solicitors have helped thousands of public figures, HNWIs and professionals who have suffered from harassment. 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.
Harassment is a "course of conduct" which causes the victim(s) to suffer alarm, anxiety and/or distress and which the perpetrator knows - or ought to know - amounts to harassment. The legal threshold is quite high. It is behaviour which – taken as a whole - is oppressive, rather than simply annoying or irritating. A "course of conduct" means two or more events, although in most cases there will be a long history of harassment.
Harassment takes many guises. It might involve a combination of physical stalking, online trolling, unwanted phone calls, letters, texts and/or emails. The conduct might include the malicious publication of abusive content online and/or a more general campaign of hatred. In many instances the perpetrator will be a former partner or an embittered ex-employee. Harassment may be committed against a group of people (e.g. a workforce or a family).
Harassment is a civil 'cause of action' and a criminal offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. A civil claim for harassment is brought by a claimant (someone who claims to be a victim). If successful the defendant may be ordered to pay damages for distress and anxiety and other loss. A court can grant an injunction prohibiting further harassment. If this is breached an application can be made for the defendant to be committed to prison.
Where harassment involves the publication of material online or communication of information to third parties by email or letter, there may be concurrent claims for defamation and/or the misuse of private information.
What to do if you are being harassed
If you are being harassed you should obtain and preserve evidence. Print off relevant communications and keep a log/diary of the conduct. Do not engage with someone who is harassing you beyond making it clear that you want the conduct to stop. If you are in a position to retain lawyers, contact us for advice. If you believe you are in physical danger contact the police.
How our harassment solicitors can help
We have the specialist expertise to:-
- Advise individuals and organisations on the various legal options open to them and the cost-benefit analysis of each route.
- Draft “cease and desist” letters to the perpetrators of harassment campaigns.
- In relation to online harassment, draft letters to publishers and hosting companies seeking the removal of offensive content.
- Make applications for interim injunctions where appropriate.
- Assist you with pursuing a claim for damages to compensate you for the harassment.
- Pursue additional claims for defamation, malicious falsehood, breach of confidence/misuse of private information and/or the breach of Data Protection Act 2018/UK GDPR.
- Advise on the scope for making a Norwich Pharmacal application for the disclosure of information held by a third party relating to the authors of anonymous or pseudoanonymous material.
- Instruct experts where appropriate to assist in identifying the authors of anonymous or pseudonymous material.
- Advise on the scope for bringing representative proceedings to protect a group (e.g. a company’s workforce) which is being harassed.
Why should I instruct Brett Wilson LLP?
Our work and client care is of the highest standard. All cases are run by a specialist harassment solicitor. Every matter has partner involvement.
We are well-known for our harassment work. We have long-standing working relationships with the best media law KCs and junior barristers, whom we can draft into the team to represent you in court if the need arises.
As well as being listed in the prestigious Legal 500, Chambers and Partners and The Times Best Law Firms directories as a leading firm in the fields of defamation, privacy and reputation management law, partners Iain Wilson, Max Campbell and Tom Double are all individually recognised as leading individuals. Iain Wilson and Max Campbell are additionally recommended by the Spear’s 500 HNWI directory for their reputation management work. Iain Wilson is also recommended in the Tatler Address Book. Most importantly, the firm receives excellent feedback from its 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 (such as defamation and privacy), approaching intermediaries or PR work.
How do I instruct Brett Wilson LLP?
The first step is to attend 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/telephone. We can also travel to you.
To request a consultation please send us an email, complete our online enquiry form or call us on 020 7183 8950. 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.
We regret that we are unable to review your case or provide advice prior to a consultation or without being formally instructed. We do not enter into alternative funding arrangements, i.e. you need to be in a position to retain us privately.
Note: We do not accept instructions where harassment is alleged against public bodies or civil/public servants. We also do not accept instructions where the alleged harassment is the pursuit of legal proceedings (whether civil or criminal). In these circumstances, you should contact a solicitor who specialises in the area of law relevant to the underlying dispute.
Contact us to request a consultation
Call 020 7183 8950
or send us a message.
Notable reported cases
- Smith v Backhouse  EWCA Civ 874
- Wai v Kywe (2023)
- Evans v McMahon (2023)
- Embery v Grady (2023) (SIOC)
- Global Processing Services (UK) Ltd v Yanpolsky & Anor  EWHC 425 (KB)
- Smith v Backhouse  EWHC 3011 (KB)
- Smith v Backhouse (2022) (SIOC)
- Dew v Mills-Nanyn  EWHC 1925 (QB)
- Haviland v The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd & Anor  EWHC 1688 (QB)
- GUH v KYT  EWHC 1854 (QB)
- Hopkinson v British Mensa Limited (2021) (SIOC)
- Blackledge v Persons Unknown  EWHC 1994
- Haviland v The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd & Anor  EWHC 143 (QB)
- Wright v Ver  EWCA Civ 672
- JQL v NTP  EWHC 1349 (QB)
- Riley & Anor v Heybroek  EWHC 1259 (QB)
- Al Sadik v Sadik  EWHC 2717 (QB)
- Morgan v Times Newspapers Ltd and Telegraph Media Group Ltd (2019) (SIOC)
- Morgan v Times Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 1525 (QB)
- Life 2009 Ltd v Lambeth London Borough Council (2019) (SIOC)
- Suttle v Walker  EWHC 396 (QB)
- Zarb-Cousin v Association of British Bookmakers & Anor  EWHC 2240 (QB)
- SWS v Department for Work and Pensions  EWHC 2282 (QB)
- Galloway v Ali-Khan  EWHC 780 (QB)
- Singh v Weayou  EWHC 2102 (QB)
- Guise v Shah  EWHC 1689 (QB)
- Brett Wilson LLP v Persons Unknown  EWHC 2628 (QB)
- QRS v Beach & Anor  EWHC 1489 (QB)
- Myers v Ong (2014) (SIOC)
- Myers v Ryce (2014) (SIOC)
- QRS v Beach & Anor  EWHC 3057 (QB)
- Tamiz v Google Inc  EWCA Civ 68
- The Law Society & Ors v Kordowski  EWHC 3185 (QB)
- Kordowski v Hudson  EWHC 2667 (QB)