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Romana Canneti

Year of call: 1997

VAT No: 003041805 | BSB Registration Click Here

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MEDIA LAW

Romana specialises in all aspects of media and entertainment law (including: defamation, copyright, intellectual property, privacy and data protection). For over two decades, she has regularly advised newspapers and broadcasters (including ITN, the BBC, Channel 5, Associated Newspapers Limited, Independent Print Limited, The Telegraph Group, Times Newspapers and News Group Newspapers) on pre-publication and pre-broadcast law and compliance. She also regularly advises the Press Association, the UK’s major national news agency.

Between 2006 and 2016 Romana worked as an in-house legal adviser at The Independent. In that capacity she defended libel, privacy and copyright claims (later, when the group acquired the paper, she also became a legal adviser to the Evening Standard).

Since returning to private practice in 2018, Romana was co-instructed by the Media Lawyers Association to intervene in the two leading cases heard by the Supreme Court since the Defamation Act 2013 came into force: both interventions successfully saw off challenges to the scope of the Act. The first case, [Lachaux] established that a claimant must demonstrate on the facts that ‘serious harm’ has been caused – or is likely to be caused – to their reputation by the publication of a defamatory statement. The second [Serafin] established the flexibility of a new statutory defence available to those making a defamatory statement in the public interest.

Romana has defended numerous copyright claims against publishers from photographers and claimants’ solicitors and/or agents. Whether litigating or negotiating, she adopts a practical and costs-driven approach, informed by her extensive experience and an accurate assessment of the market value of the material in question.

She has successfully defended copyright claims in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. She also advises on trademark and passing-off matters.

Romana regularly provides detailed pre-publication advice to authors, major book publishing groups, and the writers and producers of podcasts, on matters ranging from privacy and GDPR compliance to fair-dealing and the permissible use of copyrighted material.

In addition to the increasing overlap of privacy/defamation and data protection law, Romana is well versed in regulatory issues affecting both the broadcast and print media, and has extensive experience in handling IPSO (formerly PCC) adjudications for Independent Print Limited, The Telegraph Group and Associated Newspapers.

Over the years she has built up considerable experience advising on – and where necessary – challenging the many other varieties of reporting restriction which affect media coverage of the criminal and family courts, army disciplinary proceedings and employment proceedings.

She has also handled contempt of court issues, as well as other practical obstacles affecting journalism, such as production orders.

EMPLOYMENT LAW

Romana is an experienced advocate in the Employment Tribunal, and regularly acts for claimants and respondents. She specialises in discrimination cases, and has won significant awards for her claimant clients. She has also effectively represented respondents at Tribunal hearings. She is regularly instructed on multi-day hearings involving complex discrimination, unfair constructive or actual dismissal and issues involving trade union detriment or other forms of victimisation.  She has successfully resisted proposed anonymity orders sought by the respondents in a sexual harassment claim.

PUBLIC LAW

Romana was instructed by residents seeking judicial [statutory] review of a local authority’s decision to extend a controlled parking zone to their area.

OTHER CIVIL MATTERS

Romana is experienced in drafting and advising on contractual and commercial issues, with particular expertise in matters – contentious or otherwise – relating to film and television production.

TRANSPARENCY IN THE COURT OF PROTECTION

Romana successfully handled the leading case Independent News and Media v A [2010] EWCA Civ 343, [2010] 1 WLR 2262 in which the Court of Appeal upheld a landmark decision to allow media access to private court of protection hearings. That application was eventually joined by five other national news organisations, and was the first of several other successful consortium media applications for access to court of protection hearings. She was invited to contribute to the first edition of The Court of Protection Practitioners’ Handbook, and has spoken at seminars on the media and the court of protection, including at the COPPA conference.

LEGAL WRITING

Romana has written articles on legal matters published in the New Law JournalThe Times law pages, The Independent and the British Review of Journalism. She is a regular contributor to the New Law Journal.

A former television producer who brings a practical and commercial approach to her legal practice, Romana has worked in France, Spain and Italy and is fluent in those languages.

Romana accepts instructions in nearly all of Chambers’ advertised civil practice areas.

 

Rev Feb 21

  • Case Profile

    DEFAMATION: Instructed (with Guy Vassall-Adams QC and Edward Craven of Matrix Chambers) by the Media Lawyers Association to intervene in in the Supreme Court hearing of Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd and Another [2019] UKSC 27This important test case clarified the meaning of the ‘serious harm’ threshold set by the Defamation Act 2013. The outcome was a significant triumph for freedom of expression: the Supreme Court agreed with the MLA’s submissions (and those of the defendant publishers) that a claimant must prove that his reputation has, or is likely to, suffer serious harm in order to be able to sue in libel.

    DEFAMATION: Instructed (with Heather Rogers QC and Jonathan Price of Doughty Street Chambers) by the Media Lawyers Association to intervene in the Supreme Court hearing of Serafin v Malkiewicz and others [2020] UKSC 23, a test case that expanded the ambit of the public interest defence provided by section 4 of the Defamation Act 2013 and proved a significant victory for freedom of expression.

    COPYRIGHT: Advised on a licensing/copyright matter affecting an SME IT business.

    COPYRIGHT/DEFAMATION/PRIVACY: Regularly instructed by several of the UK’s largest book publishing groups to draft detailed advisory pre-publication legal reports on a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books; written reports are followed – upon request – by further legal advice and guidance on issues arising (whether in relation to GDPR, privacy, breach of confidence, defamation, copyright or any other threatened legal action).

    BREACH OF CONFIDENCE/GDPR/MISUSE OF PRIVATE INFORMATION/BREACH OF CONTRACT: Acted for a defendant in a High Court claim brought against them by a household name claimant pursuant to an injunction.

    BREACH OF CONFIDENCE/GDPR/MISUSE OF PRIVATE INFORMATION: advised a claimant in a GDPR/privacy/confidence claim arising from an alleged sexual assault. An offer of settlement ensued.

    OPEN JUSTICE: Drafted submissions for a Press Association journalist which successfully resisted a last-minute application in a £6m High Court psychiatric damage claim aimed at preventing the media reporting the claimant’s name.

    OPEN JUSTICE: Instructed by the MLA to draft submissions to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee relating to the passage through Parliament of the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill. Certain measures to protect media rights were subsequently incorporated into the Act, which was passed on 12 February 2019.

    OPEN JUSTICE: Drafted the MLA’s response to a Home Office consultation seeking the views of interested parties (in this case the media) to draft Codes of Practice to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019, as well as modifications to the existing Code of Practice to the Terrorism Act 2000. The Codes include provisions governing police and port authorities’ access to journalists’ material and sources.

    OPEN JUSTICE: Instructed by a media consortium to appear at the Old Bailey to resist proposed witness anonymity orders in a high profile terrorism trial.

    CONTEMPT OF COURT: Appeared at the Old Bailey on behalf of a broadcaster threatened with a possible referral for contempt. The matter was explained to the judge’s satisfaction and no action was taken.

    EMPLOYMENT: Appeared for the claimant in a seven-day Employment Tribunal hearing against a financial institution involving disability discrimination, breach of contract, unfair dismissal and religious discrimination. The Tribunal found for the claimant on all issues other than religious discrimination.

    EMPLOYMENT: Appeared for the claimant at an Employment Tribunal preliminary hearing, successfully resisting the Respondent’s application that a sex discrimination claim was out of time, and obtaining amendments to the Particulars of Claim that added maternity discrimination to a constructive dismissal claim.

    EMPLOYMENT: Instructed by the claimant in a high value employment claim involving alleged disability and beliefs discrimination and unfair dismissal. A favourable settlement negotiated to the client’s satisfaction was the outcome.

    EMPLOYMENT: Instructed to represent the claimant in a three-day unfair dismissal hearing.

    EMPLOYMENT: Instructed to represent the respondent, a charity, in a discrimination, bullying and harassment claim. A favourable settlement negotiated to the client’s satisfaction was the outcome.

    EMPLOYMENT/OPEN JUSTICE: Instructed to represent the claimant in a case against a high-profile respondent, whose application for a closed hearing was successfully opposed, as was their strike-out application.

    EMPLOYMENT: Instructed to represent the claimant in a pregnancy-related discrimination, bullying and unfair dismissal claim.

    EMPLOYMENT: Instructed to represent the claimant in a constructive dismissal, sex discrimination, harassment and trade union detriment claim.

    JUDICIAL REVIEW: Drafted pre-action protocol letter and Grounds for a claimant seeking a statutory review of a CPZ. The claim was transferred to the Planning Court, and was withdrawn, on a dropped hands basis, for want of funding.

    NON-RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD & TENANT: Advised a franchisee sub-lessor of a coffee-shop chain located in a shopping and leisure park who had been given notice of termination by his franchisor, after the head landlord complained of insufficient turnover. A detailed analysis of the leases and the figures enabled the franchisee to revert to the landlord with a pragmatic and successful proposal for continuing the relationship, based on evidence that the lease had not been breached as suggested.