Who? Jeremy Clarke-Williams, 54, head of media, libel and privacy law at Slater and Gordon.
Why is he in the news? Acted for Met police officer Toby Rowland in his defamation case against MP and former Conservative party chief whip Andrew Mitchell. The case settled on 4 March with Mitchell agreeing to pay £80,000 to Rowland.
Clarke-Williams read a statement in open court. Settlement followed a defamation action against News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, which Mitchell lost last year.
Rowland was on Downing Street duty in September 2012 when he refused Mitchell permission to exit through the main gates, directing him instead towards a side gate. Rowland recorded in his notebook that Mitchell became angry, calling the officers on duty ‘plebs’. The Sun reported the incident. Part of Mitchell’s case was that Rowland lied. Rowland decided to counter-sue.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Although we reached a settlement, Mitchell was not prepared to apologise and we exercised our right to make a statement in open court which included the damages figure. There is still the issue of costs to be resolved. If this is considered by a costs judge he will have no guidance from the trial judge.’
Dealing with the media: ‘Toby never had an interest in engaging the media – he wants to get back to being a police officer.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘The civil justice system provides a framework for people to right wrongs. In cases like this, someone who is not high and mighty can take on a powerful politician and rely on the integrity of the justice system.’
Career high: ‘This case, and a case against News Group Newspapers. I acted for a community nurse The Sun accused of hastening the deaths of 17 severely ill children. She received an apology and damages.’
Career low: ‘It was when I was doing the conveyancing seat during my articles.
‘In the course of the simultaneous sale of a property and purchase of another, I contrived to move my clients out of their home without their having a new one to move into. Contracts were exchanged 24 hours later, but that was a very long 24 hours.’