Media & Defamation

153 Phillip opened its doors in October 2017, as a set of chambers focused on a number of carefully targeted practice areas. Unique in NSW, our defamation and media practice group includes some of the most highly experienced barristers in Australia in this field.

Our members act for and advise both publishers and those affected by publications. Those publishers include leading national and international media in print, online, film, television and radio. We advise book publishers, independent film and television production houses, free to air and public broadcasters, film funding bodies and defamation insurers, as well as. industrial associations and local government authorities. We act for Australian and overseas based corporations and for private individuals.

Our specific areas of expertise include:

  • Defamation: we regularly appear for both plaintiffs and defendants in defamation actions, including jury trials and on appeal, both in NSW and in the other Australian jurisdictions. We advise on pre-litigation strategy and protocols, including choice of courts and jurisdiction, having regard to factors such as the nature and extent of publication and whether jury or non-jury trial is appropriate. Our members also have extensive experience in providing accurate and commercial pre-publication advice on a round the clock basis.
  • Breach of confidence/privacy: our members advise on breach of confidence and privacy, and on related claims under the Australian Consumer Law. We advise and appear on urgent applications to restrain publication and to obtain delivery up of material obtained in breach of confidence, and related applications for source disclosure and protection.
  • Reporting restrictions and suppression orders: we advise and are available to appear at short notice on applications to oppose, set aside and appeal non-publication and suppression orders, to challenge take down orders, and to advise on claims of public interest immunity.
  • Contempt: we advise and appear on all aspects of contempt of court, and specialise in urgent advice in relation to reporting of jury trials on social media, online and print media. We advise and appear at first instance and on appeal in private prosecutions and applications for punishment for contempt, including contempt of court by print and electronic media.
  • Online publication issues: our members advise on applications for take down orders, and in dealing with online and social media, including Twitter and Facebook, involving publications hosted both inside and outside Australia.
  • Corporate reputation: for larger corporations, we advise on alternatives to defamation including injurious falsehood, misleading and deceptive conduct, breach of confidence, intentional interference with contractual relations, breach of copyright and passing off. We also advise on the availability of suppression orders as an adjunct to criminal proceedings in cases of threatened product tampering and extortion. Our members are also experienced in advising on vicarious liability for defamation, and on the rights of board members and executives to sue in defamation, where corporate entities are unable to do so.
  • Copyright and Trademark: our members regularly advise on copyright issues for book publishers, online publications and film and television. We also act in making and opposing trade mark applications, and on claims framed in passing off and misleading and deceptive conduct, and related applications for production prior to trial of commercially sensitive material.
  • Freedom of Information: our members have experience and expertise in advising on and dealing with State and Federal agencies under the Government Information Public Access Act and the Freedom of Information Act, and in related applications and administrative appeals.
  • Urgent injunctions: we appear on applications to obtain and oppose urgent injunctions, including at out of court hours and on week-ends, Where urgent assistance is needed, one of our members can always be reached.
  • Pre-publication and risk management: our members know the media and regulatory landscape, and are available to provide commercial pre-publication and risk management advice on a round the clock basis, including urgent conflict referrals. We can provide legal sign off for funding and insurance purposes on feature films, television productions and books at all stages of project development and funding.