Attorney General to speak on contempt

Lord Goldsmith: keynote address

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith QC, will discuss the law of contempt when he gives a keynote address at a media law conference for newspaper, broadcast, magazine and online journalists.

Goldsmith will be the first speaker of the day at the Law for Journalists 2003 conference, organised by Press Gazette in conjunction with the Newspaper Society.

His decision to give a keynote address at the annual conference in London comes amid growing controversy in the newspaper and broadcasting industry about “Notes to Editors” and “Guidance to Editors”, which his office has issued over reporting of major stories.

The latest notes concerned reporting of recent claims that Premiership footballers were involved in an incident in which a teenage girl was allegedly raped by a number of men at a hotel in London’s West End.

The Attorney General’s guidance and notes will also be discussed later in the conference by Jonathan Caplan QC of 5 Paper Buildings.

Caplan will also be talking about the courts bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament. The bill will give courts the power to make third parties pay the costs of aborted or delayed hearings if the problem is caused by their own “serious misconduct”.

The conference, which will provide a comprehensive legal update and practical advice for journalists, is being held at the Royal Society for the Arts at John Adam Street in London’s West End on Friday, 28 November.

Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer will give a second keynote speech about press self-regulation.

Other speakers include Andrew Caldicott QC, who will give an update on defamation; Richard Shillito, a partner with solicitors Farrer & Co, who will talk about new court reporting restrictions; Glenn del Medico, head of programme legal advice at the BBC, who will discuss investigative journalism and the law; and Siobhain Butterworth, head of legal affairs at Guardian Newspapers, who will give an update on internet liability.

Marcus Partington, head of the editorial legal department at MGN, will discuss developments in the law of confidence and privacy.

Guardian journalist David Hencke will talk about using access to information rights and codes of practice to get good stories and solicitor Caroline Kean of Wiggin & Co will give advice on protecting journalists’ sources.

Kean said: “I am looking forward to hearing what the Attorney General has to say. This is particularly topical given the recent coverage of the footballers ‘rape’ allegations and the nearness of the Soham murders trial.”

Delegates will be welcomed by Newspaper Society president John Robertson and the conference will be chaired by Press Gazette consultant editor Philippa Kennedy.

To book, contact Andrea Hayes, events manager at Quantum Business Media, by e-mailing her at or telephoning 020 8565 3056.

There are reduced rates for Newspaper Society members and Press Gazette subscribers: individual tickets cost £250.00 plus VAT.

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