Who? John Kelly, media and information partner at London firm Harbottle & Lewis.
Why is he in the news? Acted for comedian and actor Russell Brand in his libel claim against the Sun on Sunday, which in November 2013 ran a story alleging that Brand had cheated on his girlfriend Jemima Khan by having an affair with another woman.
News Group Newspapers, the newspaper’s publisher, accepted that the story had no basis in fact. The publisher’s solicitor, in a statement to the court, said his client ‘sincerely apologises to the claimant for the distress and embarrassment this article has caused. It accepts that the allegations are untrue and ought never to have been published’.
News Group has agreed to publish an apology and pay Brand substantial damages and his legal costs. Brand has said he intends to give the damages to ‘diverse, just and decent causes’, including the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.
Thoughts on the case: ‘It was a great result. As for whether tabloids will stop running untrue stories, I am afraid that every day we see stories being published that are false. When stories cross the line, as in Russell’s case, action has to be taken.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘When I was at school, a teacher’s daughter who was doing a law degree came to speak to us about what it was like being at university. The thought of student life appealed. Once I became aware of media law as an option I was hooked.’
Career high: ‘There are some great moments, especially when we are able to prevent unlawful material being published at very short notice. You need a great team to be able to achieve those sorts of results. Working at that pace gets the adrenalin pumping and is very rewarding.
Career low: ‘You wouldn’t really expect a privacy lawyer to talk about such things, would you?’