'Father of libel reform' Lord Lester QC joins speaker line-up for Press Gazette defamation conference

Sign up for Defamation 2014 here – or email thomas.collinge@progressivemediagroup.com to arrange payment by invoice.

One of the main architects of libel reform Lord Lester of Herne Hill has agreed to deliver a keynote address at Press Gazette’s Defamation 2014 conference on 19 June.

The Lib Dem peer has been in the House of Lords since 1993, he has been a QC since 1975 and is also one of the UK’s leading human rights lawyers.

Lord Lester’s 2010 Defamation Bill was the forerunner of the piece of legislation which became the 2013 Defamation Act and covered a number of the issues which were addressed in the law.

Lord Lester also fought to get the 2013 Act through the Lords when a ‘Leveson-law’ was tagged on to it threatening to scupper the bill altogether.

Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford said: “We are proud to welcome Lord Lester as a keynote speaker at this year’s Defamation 2014 conference. Few people know more about libel reform.

“As a politician who in many ways was the father of the historic 2013 act there is no-one better placed to talk about what the recent massive changes to libel law mean for journalists and the media.”

Lord Lester joins a line-up of speakers which includes many of the most respected and knowledgeable lawyers in the field of media law.

The other speakers for Defamation 2014 are:

  • Andrew Caldecott QC: According to Chambers and Partners he is 'the go-to boffin for complex defamation or privacy work'
     
  • Gavin Millar QC.  He represented The Sunday Times in its successful three-week libel trial last year in defence of a claim brought by the gangster David Hunt
     
  • Godwin Busuttil, barrister, 5RB – acted for JK Rowling in her landmark privacy claim against Big Pictures
     
  • Gill Phillips, director of editorial legal services for Guardian News and Media
     
  • Pia Sarma, Times Newspapers editorial legal director
     
  • Dan Tench, partner at Olswang. Since 2011 he has been representing News Group Newspapers in handling claims stemming from allegations of voicemail interception at the News of the World
     
  • Caroline Kean, partner and head of litigation at Wiggin. She successfully defended the libel claim brought by Richard Desmond against Tom Bower and defended Grazia against a privacy claim brought by Victoria Beckham
     
  • Cleland Thom, media law trainer with 20 years experience offering practical help to working journalists
     
  • Mike Dodd, a qualified lawyer and journalist who combines editing Media Lawyer with work as the Press Association’s specialist legal adviser. He qualified as a barrister in 2004. 

Defamation 2014 takes places at the Hippodrome, Leicester Square, on 19 June. Early bird tickets are from £83 (exc VAT). The deadline for early bird bookings is midnight on Friday, 2 May.

Book tickets for Defamation 2014 here.

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