‘Defamation is still alive and well,’ says Brookes, dispelling any notions of the initial doom and gloom that plagued claimant lawyers after the Defamation Act’s technical threshold for ‘serious harm’ was raised in 2014. ‘Various cases since then have made it clear that there is a threshold — but it’s not as high as it was before or as people feared, or as the papers wanted it to be.’
A respected litigator in the entertainment arena who became involved with reputation law through his early work with music clients such as Robbie Williams, Brookes is roundly lauded for his work in dispute resolution and squaring up to the press for household names (which include the Beckhams, One Direction, Frankie Boyle, Christopher Eccleston, Nicole Appleton, and Charlotte Church). He’s also worked with royalty, as in the case of the Moroccan prince he recently helped secure recourse from an Arabic news site after it published defamatory allegations. The case confirmed that a claim under the Data Protection Act may be run alongside a defamation claim — a path of interest to claimants where the offending statement is not technically defamatory, although inaccurate, or cannot be requisitely shown to have caused serious harm to the claimant’s reputation.
Brookes secured a rare anti-harassment injunction for Harry Styles against the paparazzi in 2014 — no mean feat, for which he was celebrated by both colleagues and competitors — and record settlements of £600,000 in the phone-hacking scandal for Charlotte Church (he is representing around twenty further hacking victims bringing similar claims against the Mirror). He has also acted for a number of ‘prominent figures’ in industry and politics — all fortunate enough to remain unnamed, thanks to Brookes’s personable and pragmatic approach.