William Bennett

Profile

Chambers & Partners 2018

“Specialist media junior focusing on libel, breach of confidence and privacy. He regularly appears as sole counsel and is led by eminent silks in the field. He appears for both claimants and defendants in high-profile disputes.”

“He’s tenacious, practical and always works hard to achieve a positive result. He’s very well regarded for his advice and the outcomes he achieves are first-rate.”

Legal 500 2017

‘A brilliant cross-examiner and trial advocate.’

Chambers & Partners 2017

“One of the leading juniors at the Bar with a very busy practice. He is an excellent advocate who has conducted a number of trials. He’s a pleasure to work with.”

William has acted in some of the most significant cases of recent years.

Privacy/Breach of Confidence

Ali & Aslam v Channel 5 Ground-breaking claim for misuse of private information arising out of the broadcast of an episode of Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away! which showed the Claimants being evicted from their home. William was the trial advocate for the Claimants, who were awarded damages.

Guardian Couple filmed being evicted on Channel 5 TV show win damages

Paul Burrell v Max Clifford Trial advocate for the Claimant.  Successful claim for damages arising out of a misuse of private information whereby Max Clifford had forwarded a letter written in confidence to him by Mr Burrell to Rebekah Brookes, who was at the time the Editor of the News of the World.

BBC News Royal butler Paul Burrell wins damages from Max Clifford

AVB v TDD Sole counsel for the Claimant in a claim for misuse of private information, breach of confidence and harassment.  Injunction granted at the conclusion of the trial re misuse of private information and breach of confidence.

Successful claims for Paul Gascoigne for misuse of private information against the Sun and the Daily Star.

Acted for a number of News of the World and Mirror Group phone hacking claimants including Nigel Farage and Paul Burrell.

Defamation

Jack Monroe v Katie Hopkins Trial advocate for the Claimant.  Katie Hopkins ordered to pay damages for defamatory tweets.  First time that the requirement for a claimant to prove serious harm to reputation (further to s.1 Defamation Act 2013) considered in respect of libels published on Twitter.

BBC News Jack Monroe wins Katie Hopkins Libel Tweet Case

Guardian  Jack Monroe wins Twitter Libel Case against Katie Hopkins

FlyMeNow v Quick Air Charter Trial advocate for the Defendant.  Words complained of found to be partially true and, due to other mitigating factors, Claimant only awarded derisory damages of £10 and ordered to pay nearly all of the Defendant’s costs.

Flood v Times Newspapers Junior Counsel for the Claimant.  The leading case on  the public interest defence under the Defamation Act 2013.  It is probably the most complex and long-running case in the history of libel litigation.  In addition to the Reynolds and quantum trials, two Court of Appeal and two Supreme Court appeals, there were nine other hearings.  The relevant article was first published in June 2006 and the claim did not conclude until the Supreme Court handed down its second judgment in the case in April 2017.

Appointed as amicus curiae by the Privy Council for the purpose of an appeal in Pinard-Byrne v Linton, an appeal from the Court of Appeal of Dominica concerning a Reynolds/public interest defence.

Interim injunctions in privacy and harassment

ADA v AXA Without notice application to prevent publication of a mass circulation email containing medical information.

AVB v TDD Without notice application followed by a contested Return Date at which injunction to prevent publication of private information and harassment granted.

TKA v XKA Without notice application to obtain injunction to protect a child from being harassed by neighbours.

ABK v KDT & FGH Without notice injunction in revenge porn case.

DIRECT ACCESS

William accepts instructions on a direct access basis.

MEDIATION

CEDR accredited mediator

ADDITIONAL FACTS

Contributor to Blackstone’s Guide to the Defamation Act 2013

William has given presentations to the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on the current state of English defamation law and to the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies on jurisdiction/applicable law in defamation claims.

The Solicitors Journal has published his articles on defamation law reform:Think Again and The Jury’s Out.

He wrote the Bar Council’s Law Reform Committee’s paper submitted to Parliament in regard to the formulation of the Defamation Bill.

He appeared in two editions of the BBC documentary series See You in Court regarding his involvement in the case of Paramaswaran Subramanyam, the Tamil hunger striker, and advising Lembit Opik not to sue the Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle.

He was a panellist with David Aaronovitch, Peter Oborne and David Allen Green at the Frontline Club in a discussion re Celebrities, super-injunctions and phone hacking.

William has appeared on Sky News on several occasions in order to discuss privacy injunctions.

Career

Called

1994 Called to the bar

Education



Common Professional Examination (College of Law) - 1992-1993
Bar Vocational Course (Inns of Court School of Law) - 1993-94

Areas of work

  • Contempt
  • Data Protection
  • Defamation
  • Injunctive Relief
  • Malicious Falsehood
  • Mediation
  • Privacy and Confidence
  • Professional Negligence
  • Reporting the Courts
  • Harassment

Testimonials

Consistently recommended as a leading defamation junior in both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.

Chambers & Partners & Legal 500 2008 – 2018

“Specialist media junior focusing on libel, breach of confidence and privacy. He regularly appears as sole counsel and is led by eminent silks in the field. He appears for both claimants and defendants in high-profile disputes.”

“He’s tenacious, practical and always works hard to achieve a positive result. He’s very well regarded for his advice and the outcomes he achieves are first-rate.”

‘A brilliant cross-examiner and trial advocate.’

“One of the leading juniors at the Bar with a very busy practice. He is an excellent advocate who has conducted a number of trials. He’s a pleasure to work with.”

Regularly acts as sole counsel opposite some of London’s most experienced QCs.  Clients go to him due to the measured approach he takes to heavyweight cases.

He’s diligent, thoughtful and very good in court.

He is a good advocate, who is calm and very articulate.

Demonstrates real strength in all he does.  He is self-reliant, fearless and an amazing one-man band when he needs to be.

A strongly analytical barrister who is very good with clients.  He is known for his efficient, results-oriented approach.

He has phenomenal ability as an advocate.

Capable of running things without hand-holding.

Bright, approachable and good with clients.

He’s diligent, thoughtful and very good in court.

Thinks outside the box.

A dynamic character.

Precise and analytical, distilling facts easily.

Dominic Crossley – Partner, Payne Hicks Beach

William’s approach to the claim was 1st class throughout.  He was cheerful, unpretentious, readily available when called upon and able to respond to the actions of an unpredictable opposition.  At trial his strategy and straight-forward manner ensured that the client’s case was perfectly presented.  I am continuing to instruct William and hope that we can remain a successful team.

Cases

Defamation

Flymenow Limited v Quick Air Jet Charter GmbH

[2016] EWHC 3197 (QB) 16/12/2016

Pinard-Byrne v Linton

[2015] UKPC 41 12/10/2015

Privacy and Confidence

YXB v TNO

[2015] EWHC 826 (QB) 25/03/2015

Reporting the Courts

YXB v TNO

[2015] EWHC 826 (QB) 25/03/2015

Copyright

YXB v TNO

[2015] EWHC 826 (QB) 25/03/2015

Entertainment Law

YXB v TNO

[2015] EWHC 826 (QB) 25/03/2015

Foreign Jurisdictions

Pinard-Byrne v Linton

[2015] UKPC 41 12/10/2015

Human Rights

Pinard-Byrne v Linton

[2015] UKPC 41 12/10/2015

Injunctive Relief

YXB v TNO

[2015] EWHC 826 (QB) 25/03/2015

Media Law

Pinard-Byrne v Linton

[2015] UKPC 41 12/10/2015

YXB v TNO

[2015] EWHC 826 (QB) 25/03/2015

News

11 Apr 2018

Permission to Appeal granted in “Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!” case

Arnold J grants the Claimants permission to appeal on quantum

6 Feb 2018

5RB ‘stands above the competition’

Leaders and juniors praised in new edition of Who's Who Legal

11 Jan 2018

Katie Hopkins refused permission to appeal

Sharp LJ refuses PTA against decision of Warby J; also refuses permission in Guise v Shah

2 Nov 2017

“The pre-eminent set”: Chambers UK

5RB and members recommended for Defamation & Privacy and Data Protection in 2018 Chambers UK Bar Guide

11 Oct 2017

5RB ‘dominates the field’ in Legal 500

Chambers and members recommended for Defamation & Privacy, Data Protection, and Media and Entertainment work in legal directory

25 May 2017

“Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!” summary judgment application dismissed

Privacy claim to proceed to trial

11 Apr 2017

Supreme Court unanimously dismisses appeals by media defendants

Recoverability of CFA success fees and ATE premiums upheld

10 Mar 2017

Jack Monroe wins libel claim against Katie Hopkins

Monroe awarded £24,000 over two tweets

19 Dec 2016

FlyMeNow awarded ‘minimal’ damages

Defences of qualified privilege and justification fail but damages reduced to £10

22 Feb 2016

Paul Burrell wins privacy claim

Max Clifford ordered to pay £5,000 in damages

7 Jan 2016

Claimant succeeds in latest serious harm trial

Email sent to 124 people found to have caused serious harm to reputation

24 Apr 2015

Mosque dispute claimants awarded £45,000 each

Fourth Defendant found to have defamed the claimants by causing publication on a website and distributing a dossier of documents

22 Apr 2015

Privy Council hears libel appeal

Board considers Reynolds defence

26 Mar 2015

Footballer refused privacy injunction

Warby J finds material non-disclosure in alleged "blackmail" claim