At Cleaver Fulton Rankin we understand that businesses are no longer built solely on their products but on the strength of their Brand as a whole. In response to a developing market we have formed a brand protection unit that combines specialist litigators in the areas of Intellectual Property law, Defamation, Contract law and Data Protection ensuring your business is covered no matter what.

Content divide

We offer advice on all aspects of media law from defamation or  commercial agreements to IPTV as well as online and offline publishing to include the following:

  • Libel & slander
  • Breach of confidence/privacy
  • Defamation
  • Contempt of court
  • Press complaints
  • Copyright
  • Pre-publication work
  • Reputation management
  • PACE
  • Data Protection
  • Freedom of Information
  • Intellectual Property
  • New media/ Internet law

Our Experience

We provide advices not only to large publishers but also to commercial and private clients on issues relating to reputation protection and all types of defamatory publications made by the publishing media.

We have acted for the News Letter, one of the leading Northern Ireland daily newspapers, on a wide range of matters including pre-publication, advising as to the merits or otherwise of complaints made against it and conducting the defence of such claims up to and including trial.  This has included appropriate case management by way of meanings summonses and other interlocutory matters and has also included conduct of cases to the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.

Notable cases include:

  • Loughran v Century Newspapers Limited – defending an action on the grounds of “reportage“ qualified privilege
  • Reavey  -v- Century Newspapers Limited & Anor (2001) NIBB 17 – resisting an application brought for disclosure of a journalist’s confidential sources on public interest grounds
  • McLaughlin and Anor –v- Oldham & Century Newspapers Limited (2000) NIQB 35 – bringing a meaning summons in an action involving a Northern Ireland politician which was partially successful in having some of the alleged defamatory meanings struck out
  • Madden –v- Century Newspapers Limited & Others (2006) NIQB 18 – bringing a meaning summons involving a prominent Northern Ireland solicitor which was partially successful in having some of the alleged defamatory meanings struck out
  • Acting on behalf of the Johnston Publishing Group, the current publisher of the News Letter, The Derry Journal and various local weekly newspapers in Northern Ireland to provide advice and conduct the defence of defamation proceedings brought against the newspapers.
  • Acting for many individual clients both private and corporate who increasingly seek advice on issues relating to reputation management.
  • Increasingly this has involved issues relating to publication on social media and the giving of advices on matters arising therefrom.  It also involves advising clients on Data Protection issues and the boundaries between invasion of privacy and defamation.
  • Acting on behalf of a number of significant commercial and private and have experience in dealing with preliminary issue hearings on the applicability of the defence of absolute privilege. The team frequently advises private clients and charities on the defamatory nature of email correspondence and defamatory postings on social media including Facebook and Twitter.
  • Acting for public bodies and private clients in relation to reputation management and defamation issues. A large part of his advice is advising clients in relation to defamatory materials published online to include what action can be taken against ISPs and time limits as they apply to online publications.

Why us?

Our team has been assembled with the modern media clients’ needs at the forefront. Therefore we have combined experienced litigators whose complementary knowledge allows them to create considered and cohesive solutions to a wide variety of commercial media problems. We are experienced in providing the full range of traditional publishing advice, as well as advising on the dynamic and unchartered area of social media issues and online publishing.


At Cleaver Fulton Rankin we understand that prevention is better than cure. Our team has been recognised as ‘professional, with a quick turnaround and comprehensive advice’; exactly what your business needs. A forward thinking culture combined with extensive experience, the team is regarded within the publishing sector and has been noted as demonstrating ‘impressive ability to quickly get up to speed on the intricacies of a client’s business’.