September 28, 2012

Conference 5RB 2012

Category: News

Keynote speaker Mr Justice Tugendhat spoke about life on the bench and specialist judges in media cases.

The 2012 Conference 5RB held on Thursday 27 September at King’s Place was the best attended yet. In addition to the many solicitors who regularly instruct 5RB, the audience included barristers from other chambers, members of the media and campaigners for defamation law reform.

The Conference’s Keynote speaker was Mr Justice Tugendhat, who spoke about the  daily demands of life on the High Court Bench, and the pros and cons of specialist judges trying media cases. In the light of the retirement of Eady J in a few months and the impending selection of a defamation specialist for the High Court in the Judicial Appointments Commission exercise being launched in October, he told the audience: “Your country needs you”. He said that it was a matter of great concern to him that if specialist lawyers do not apply, there can be no specialist judges. A copy of the speech can be found here.

Members of 5RB spoke about all aspects of media law in both plenary sessions and workshops. Particular attention was focussed on the contents of the Defamation Bill shortly to be debated by the House of Lords. A panel session, including Gill Phillips, Legal Director of the Guardian, and James Webster from Hiscox, the media insurers, discussed reforms of defamation practice and procedure.

Desmond Browne and Mark Warby, 5RB’s Heads of Chambers, express their thanks to all those who attended, and by their presence made it such an instructive and enjoyable day.

Special thanks, too, to our sponsor Hiscox for their generous support, and to our media partner, Legal Week.