Following the success of his recent libel action against the BBC on behalf of President Poroshenko, Graham Atkins has been announced as The Times’ Lawyer Of The Week. He was interviewed by Linda Tsang to discuss the challenges faced in the case. Read some of his Q&A with Linda below…
What were the main issues in this case?
Foreign heads of state rarely take libel action in England, so it was not straightforward. We succeeded in a preliminary hearing on meaning — the judge ruled that the broadcast and article meant the president authorised or procured a corrupt payment through a back channel to President Trump. The allegation was obviously gravely damaging, not just here, but globally.
What is the best decision you have taken as a lawyer?
My City training taught me a lot about the areas I could never happily practise in. Libel is challenging, occasionally amusing, and to use a dreadful word, relevant. With social media, libel and privacy work is constantly evolving.
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