Who? Partner at Seddons, London.
Why is he in the news? Represents Martin Lewis, founder of consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com, who is suing Facebook for defamation in a groundbreaking action. It is alleged that the social media site published more than 50 fake adverts featuring Martin Lewis. In a statement, Facebook said it has been ‘working with Martin Lewis’s team for some time’ and has removed ‘fraudulent ads that falsely featured him’.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Martin is a campaigner who is righting a wrong. The case seeks to draw a distinction between Facebook as a message board and the adverts it publishes. We had to look for a way to stop Facebook making profits at the expense of vulnerable people. As those people blame Martin, libel was the answer. To make it count, rather than as a business expense, exemplary damages are sought.’
Dealing with the media: ‘The case is about one of the largest media companies being sued by a person with a huge media reputation. It was predictable that it would arouse media interest. I have given interviews answering simple questions, mainly, “are you related to Martin?” (Yes – he’s my cousin).’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I realise that I have had an effect on matters, but my health has suffered from the effects. Still, there is something rewarding about having helped people.’
Career high: ‘People tend to know me for starting the phone-hacking cases, helping to secure a £3m settlement for the family of Milly Dowler; the Monroe v Hopkins Twitter libel; defending Peter Wilmshurst against NMT; and representing Nigel Short, a fan sued by Sheffield Wednesday, helping to change libel law. My most satisfying cases were forcing a health insurer to carry out an emergency life-saving brain operation within minutes of being instructed, and opposing a local authority that had issued a parking ticket to a woman visiting her daughter’s grave – these two cases being pro bono.’
Career low: ‘The downside to high-profile cases is high-profile enemies. And my MS is getting worse because of my profession. It is the national Kiss Goodbye to MS month. I hope people will support it.’