Law for Journalists Conference 2005

5RB's Desmond Browne QC addresses annual Press Gazette event

The fourth annual Press Gazette Law for Journalists Conference 2005 took place 2 December 2005 in London.


The Conference, sponsored by Wiggin LLP and chaired by Philippa Kennedy from Press Gazettesaw keynote speeches from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken MacDonald QC and Shami Chakrabarti, the Director of Liberty.


The event was well attended by journalists and media lawyers alike. Among the topics and speakers during the conference were:



  • Libel and Publication in the Public InterestDesmond Browne QC of 5RB.
  • Privacy and the Law – Caroline Kean, partner at Wiggin.
  • Avoiding the Costs of Contempt – Jonathan Caplan QC.
  • Possible Scope for Mediation or Other Forms of ADR – The Rt. Hon. Sir Brian Neill, Chairman of the Civil Mediation Council and former Court of Appeal Judge.
  • Examining the effect of conditional fee arrangements on defending ‘free’ speech – Marcus Partington, Head of Editorial Legal Department, Trinity Mirror plc.
  • Reporting Terrorism – Valerie Nazareth, Head of Programme Legal Advice at the BBC.
  • Lighting Up the Dark Corners of Bureaucracy – Michael Smyth, Partner and Head of Public Policy, Clifford Chance LLP


In his keynote speech, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, spoke of his commitment to a more openness between the press and the Crown Prosecution Service and called for the media to give fairer hearing to the progress it is making. He referred to the new joint protocol which releases more prosecution evidence to journalists as signifying “our growing determination to be open with you and to engage more constructively with you – something that I have led and something I promise will continue.”


The DPP also indicated that he would have no objection to the sentencing phase of criminal trials being televised. This is one of the options currently under consideration by the Department of Constitutional Affairs in its review of televising courts in England & Wales.


For a copy of Desmond Browne QC’s paper from the Conference, click here.