William Bennett

Profile

William Bennett: “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.” Chambers & Partners Editorial 2015 

Key Testimonials FROM CHAMBERS AND THE LEGAL 500

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

“He has phenomenal ability as an advocate.”

“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.” 

William is a leading specialist in defamation, breach of confidence, misuse of private information, data protection and harassment.

SIGNIFICANT WORK

DEFAMATION

Gary Flood v Times Newspapers Junior Counsel for the Claimant.  The leading case on Reynolds privilege and the new responsible publication defence.  William acted at the separate liability and quantum trials, twice in the Court of Appeal and once in the Supreme Court.  The case culminated in the Claimant being awarded £60,000 in damages.

Spiller v Joseph Sole counsel for the Claimants in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and at trial.  Leading case on the honest opinion defence.

Parliament stated in the explanatory notes to the Defamation Act 2013 that the principles set out by the Supreme Court in Spiller and Flood were the foundation for the new codified defences of honest opinion and publication on a matter of public interest provided for by sections 3 and 4 of the 2013 Act.

Cambridge v Makin Sole counsel for the Claimant at trial and in the Court of Appeal.  At trial the defences failed, malice was proven and the Claimant was awarded £30,000 in damages (in addition to £30,000 already paid by a co-defendant in settlement).  The Court of Appeal upheld the findings of the trial judge.

Purnell v Business F1 Magazine Sole counsel for the Claimant at trial and on appeal.  At trial secured a damages award for the Claimant of £75,000, which exceeded the trial judge’s recommended ceiling of £60,000.  Award upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Qadir v Associated Newspapers Sole counsel for the Claimant in a trial re privilege defences and malice.  The privilege defences failed and the Defendant was found to have acted with malice.  The Claimant eventually received substantial damages and an apology by settlement.

Appleyard v Wilby Sole counsel for the Claimant, who was accused in tweets and on a specialist website of protecting paedophiles and rapists and preventing complaints made against Jimmy Savile being investigated.  At trial on quantum awarded £60,000.

PRIVACY/BREACH OF CONFIDENCE/HARASSMENT

Interim injunctions

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 upheld.

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

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

Trials

AAA v Associated Newspapers Junior Counsel for the Claimant, the child of a politician.  Claimant awarded £15,000 for the misuse of his/her private information arising from the publication of a photograph in the Daily Mail.

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.

Other

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

Currently acting for Paul Burrell against Max Clifford in his claim for breach of confidence and misuse of private information.

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

DATA PROTECTION

KJO v XIM Application to render a spent conviction private further to Article 8 and the Data Protection Act. Claim deemed to be arguable but would have to await trial for determination.

Quinton v Peirce & Cooper – trial of a DPA claim.

DIRECT ACCESS

William accepts instructions on a public access basis.

He recently acted in the libel trial Asghar & Mujahid v Ahmad & others on a direct access basis.

MEDIATION

William is a CEDR accredited mediator.

ADDITIONAL FACTS

Author of New Developments in the United Kingdom: the Defamation Act 2013 in the Yearbook of Private International Law Vol. XIV

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.

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

Bancroft's School - 1975-1982
The University of Liverpool, BA History (incl.sabbatical year as President of the Students' Union) - 1983-1987
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

Testimonials

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.

Chambers & Partners & Legal 500 2008 – 2015

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.

Dominic Crossley – Partner, Collyer Bristow

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

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

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