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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

Defamation, privacy claims and reputation management issues have largely occupied the legal market over the past year, say lawyers.

Data protection has also become an important part of law firm activity and is expected to develop into a significant part of legal practice.

Lawyer Kenneth Lang at Mellicks Solicitors explained: “This year we’ve seen the first data protection case, so data protection is definitely is an area where we are going to see more claims. The increasing digital and online presence is going to bring about more claimants and claims against publishers.”

Meanwhile the film industry remains one of the most profitable segments, reaching a record GBP 52.7 million. In December 2016, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop revealed the record sum was spent on film and television productions shot in Scotland in 2015.

Ms Hyslop said: “This record spend shows that all eyes are on Scotland as the ideal place to base

production. Our uniquely beautiful rural areas to bustling urban cityscapes provide excellent backdrops and our highly skilled crews are in

hot demand.”

Natalie Usher, Director of Screen at Creative Scotland commented: “In the last year we have seen Sony Starz maintain their commitment to a large scale production base at Cumbernauld, we welcomed Jason Connery’s feature film Tommy’s Honour, and it was great to see our wonderful capital city double for Victorian London in the landmark BBC series, The Secret Agent.”

She continued: “Together with the UK’s beneficial film and tv tax reliefs and the additional incentives provided by Scotland’s Production Growth Fund, we fully expect the 2016 figures to show a further and significant increase.”


Brodies is regularly instructed by publishers for pre-publication advice and pre-broadcast content review. With a client base that includes BBC Scotland and Channel 4, the firm’s core competence areas include defamation, contempt, privacy and data protection. Lawyers also work with clients from the video games and new media sectors.

Burness Paulls media emphasis is driven by intellectual property litigators with particular expertise in sports-related matters. The team, led by Colin Hulme and David Goodbrand, advises clients including Scottish Football Association, the Scottish Rugby Union and Celtic FC. Lawyers also work on outsourcing and overseas data transfer, data sharing, use of personal data online and data breach management.  

Levy & McRae has established a leading media law department that is the firm’s strongest area of business. The boutique firm is a litigation-only practice known for its expertise in defamation law, commercial litigation and regulatory issues. With two decades of experience, the firm has represented some of the largest print publishers and broadcast networks.

TIER 2  

Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co specialises in media law and intellectual property. The firm has a particular emphasis on defamation and is known for its in-depth pre and post publication advice. Lawyers represent clients including Associated Newspapers, The Scotsman Publications and Scottish & Universal Newspapers. The practice is also appointed by political figures.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang assists broadcasters, publishers and gambling operators with matters ranging from defamation, advertising and marketing. The firm has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow and provides broader sector advice on copyright, data protection and privacy.

DLA Piper focusses on several segments including film, audio-visual privacy, digital media and games. With cross-practice and cross-border experience, lawyers assist with production and rights acquisitions, staging and exploiting live sports events and advise on competition law.

Pinsent Masons lawyers advise on film and television investments, the procurement of new programmes, acquisition of broadcasting rights and multi-platform works including online games. Managed by Yvonne Dunn, the TMT group advises Creative Scotland on a range of matters which include developing the potential of film makers in Scotland.


Shepherd and Wedderburn acts for global TMT organisations, regulators and industry associations. The team advises on regulatory issues related to market entry, product launch assessments and is routinely involved in matters connected with cloud computing, data protection and data retention.

Thorntons Solicitors focuses on publishing, social media, television and music sectors. Clients include individual music artists and international corporations. Lawyers advise on advertising, marketing and convergence between traditional media and online. In highlighted work the team advised on the acquisition of online streaming rights of funded television content and sponsored television programmes

Ranking and editorials



Burness Paull

Levy & McRae


Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co   

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

DLA Piper

Mellicks Solicitors

Pinsent Masons


Harper Macleod  

HBJ Gateley  

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Thorntons Solicitors


Anderson Strathern  

Arnot Manderson

Brechin Tindal Oatts  

DWF Sports

Maclay Murray & Spens


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