Rupert Earle

Partner and Head of Media Litigation


  • "A good choice for business and individuals seeking defamation expertise"

    Chambers 2019

  • "Calm, unflappable, experience and clever"

    Chambers 2019

  • "Professional and friendly, easy to talk to, helpful and contributes practical alternative options"

    Chambers 2019

  • "He's superb – seeing him in action against other lawyers really puts his quality into perspective"

    Chambers 2019

  • Knowledgeable, calm, careful, thorough and displays good judgement.

    Legal 500 2018

  • "He's excellent, experienced, level-headed, calm, pragmatic and practical"

    Chambers 2018

  • "He has unrivalled experience on advertising related matters, is incredibly good on the details and has very sensible judgement"

    Chambers 2018

  • Leading individual

    Legal 500 2017

  • Practice head and ‘consummate professional’ Rupert Earle provides ‘balanced and realistic advice’

    Legal 500 2017

  • [Rupert is] 'an excellent communicator and deals well with clients’, who is noted for his advertising and marketing expertise

    Legal 500 2017

  • Praised for his 'subject knowledge' and 'calm and collected approach'.

    Legal 500 2016

  • Rupert is rated for 'his ability to make a strong, convincing case'.

    Legal 500 2016

  • Clients point to his "great bedside manner."

    Chambers 2016


I have for some 30 years specialised in media, public/regulatory, advertising and consumer law, contentious and non-contentious. I have experience in the following:

Defamation and privacy law: pre-publication advice to, and defence of claims against, media organisations, campaigning groups, regulators and trade associations; and advice to business and individuals whose rights are infringed, including applying for disclosure orders in relation to social media, seeking injunctions, conducting complaints under IPSO and Ofcom codes.

Information law: disputed requests for personal data under the Data Protection Act, and for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Public and regulatory law: advising on regulatory codes and procedures of public authorities and associations; and judicial review and procurement challenges; election law.

Trading, marketing and consumer law: advertising, image rights, copyright, trade marks, data privacy, lotteries, labelling, safety, counterfeiting and unfair commercial practices; and defending Trading Standards prosecutions. Trade sectors include home furnishings, jewellery, telecoms, airlines, hotels, electronic products, foods.

  • I have acted on a number of defamation and privacy cases, including: Ashcroft v. Times Newspapers, Chohan v. Oxford University Press, Sovcomflot v. Lloyds Fairplay, Hardcash Productions v. Crown Prosecution Service, Prince Turki v. Hachette Filipacchi, Prince Nayef v Independent, Cruddas v Times Newspapers., and Flood v Times Newspapers.
  • I have also acted on several defamation/harassment disclosure actions to identify anonymous postings and false profiles on social media (e.g. against Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo, BT), including Takenaka v. Frankl, the first anonymous email libel tracing case to reach trial.
  • I worked on the copy clearance for the biographies of Prince Charles (the Rebel Prince, Harper Collins) and Jann Wenner (Sticky Fingers, Canongate).
  • I have advised on risk intelligence databases.
  • My work around Information law includes: acting for Jonathan Ungoed-Thomas, The Sunday Times journalist, in the Information Tribunal and High Court action to obtain disclosure of details of MPs’ expense claims; and for Dominic Kennedy, The Times journalist, up to the Supreme Court in relation to access to Charity Commission statutory inquiry information.
  • I have also contested FOI cases involving DfID, the Cabinet Office, and a University.
  • I have acted for the Advertising Standards Authority in numerous investigations (including re property mis-descriptions, planning battles) and judicial reviews (eg Coys of Kensington v ASA 2012, Sainsbury’s v ASA 2014);
  • I challenged Transport for London’s ban on advertising for North Cyprus,
  • I worked on challenging Ofcom's procurement process for the telephone preference service as well as challenging for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust the Charity Commission's press releases concerning the funding of CAGE;
  • I defended Airport Coordination against proceedings by the administrators of Monarch airlines concerning the allocation of slots at UK airport;
  • I acted for the regulator of the marketing of alcoholic drinks;
  • I advised broadcasters in Ofcom investigations concerning compliance with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.
  • I advised Britain Stronger In Europe in the 2016 EU referendum, and other participants in the 2017 general election.

Qualifications and career

  • Cambridge University, BA History, 1982
  • Admitted as a Solicitor in 1988
  • Solicitor and partner, Theodore Goddard and Addleshaw Goddard, 1988
  • Partner, Bates Wells, 2007

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • Adviser, South West London Law Centre (SWLCC)
  • Co-editor and author, Crown, Bray and Earle, Advertising Law & Regulation, Bloomsbury Professional 2010
  • Contributing author, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s guide to advertising law, Ad Law, 2016
  • Radio and TV appearances on libel and adverting law issues, numerous press and journal articles
  • Lecturing for C5, Lexis Nexis Butterworths, Informa
  • Member of the Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Member of the Advertising Law Group
  • Member of the Society for Computing and the Law