Media Law and Defamation

Practice Summary


Doughty Street Chambers is well-known as the market leader in open justice work.  Our members have consistently led the battle against reporting restrictions and unjustified infringements of freedom of expression.  Geoffrey Robertson QC, set the agenda in this area, with his “alphabet soup” submissions catching the attention of the Supreme Court in its first case.  Since then, Doughty Street continues to be a centre of excellence in this area. We have fought for freedom of expression for the media at every level, and acted in all the most high-profile reporting restriction challenges in recent times these have included the Poppi Worthington family law controversy, the prosecution of a police officer in a shooting death case, and the Mirror phone-hacking litigation


Doughty Street is not only a reporting restrictions powerhouse – our members have also tested the law in a range of media law challenges, particularly defamation and privacy.  In the last year, team members have been involved in two of the few media law cases to come before the Supreme Court– the anonymity challenge in R (C) v Secretary of State for Justice and the production order appeal in R (British Sky Broadcasting Ltd) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.  We also set landmark legal precedents, including in the cutting-edge defamation case of Ahuja v Politika & Ors and in the parliamentary privacy challenge in Lucas and Jones v Security Services.


In addition, Doughty Street's Media Law and Defamation Team offers experience in all aspects of media work. This includes defamation, privacy/confidentiality, reporting restrictions, contempt of court, applications for production of journalistic material and protection of sources, freedom of information, data protection, reporting of elections, harassment, issues relating to online publication, copyright, televising courts and inquiries, and regulation of the media. 


The specialist work in these areas is complemented by team members’ unparalleled knowledge and expertise in other areas of human rights work, including public law and criminal law. In addition, chambers’ unrivalled international law practice means that we are uniquely well-placed to advise on and assist with free speech issues on the international stage.  Doughty Street acted in the first free speech case before the African Court of Human Rights and for journalists who were wrongly detained in Egypt.


Team members regularly give pre-publication advice to national newspapers, publishers and broadcasters; they have acted in media judicial review cases; and in trail-blazing hearings before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and other data protection tribunals.

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