Keystone Law

Jonathan Coad

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Jonathan is a highly experienced media lawyer who acts for high-profile corporations and individuals to protect their reputation, the value of their brand and/or individual profile, and their privacy and confidential material. He also represents broadcasters and publishers dealing with defamation or privacy disputes and assists them to minimise risk while retaining full editorial integrity by reviewing and editing material prior to broadcast or publication.

Jonathan also safeguards the intellectual property of a range of media and entertainment clients including broadcasters, independent production companies, musicians and authors. As well as protecting the more traditional forms of copyright in literature and music (he is an ex-professional musician who is classically trained and has spent many hours in recording studios), he is skilled in dealing with the protection of more esoteric forms of copyright such as television formats, and is the founder and director of the International Format Lawyers Association. He has conducted a number of high-profile format rights disputes and also advises on copyright risk prior to broadcast/publication. He regularly delivers seminars at major international TV festivals on format protection and is an advisor to FRAPA (the international format industry association).

In addition, Jonathan has worked closely with most of the leading PR agencies as a trusted partner to create effective media strategies when client reputations are under threat by the media. He undertakes PR crisis management work for both corporate clients and high-profile individuals in commerce, politics and the entertainment industry, utilising the skill set he has gained from many years in the media industry. He is most effective prior to a crisis occurring, in either preventing it taking place or greatly reducing its impact. However, where brands or reputations have suffered damage, he conducts regulatory complaints and/or litigation on their behalf.

A frequent contributor to the press (including clients such as The Huffington Post and International Business Times for whom he writes articles) and industry-leading publications such as the Inforrm media law website, Jonathan also speaks regularly on television and radio as well as at a range of media events and as part of debate panels.


Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2017, Jonathan worked at the following firms:

- Lewis Silkin

- Swan Turton

- Simkins Partnership

- Schillings


The Huffington Post

International Business Times


- Acted for AOL’s The Huffington Post in a multi-party and widely reported defamation claim over allegations of domestic abuse which has led to the first CA review of the seismic 2013 Defamation Act, and in particular its new “serious harm” test)

- Represented Tulisa Contostavlos on various media issues including high-profile litigation over the publication online of a sex tape by her ex-boyfriend and a group of pornographers which was successfully dealt with by an emergency “John Doe” injunction)

- Acted for Tulisa in a successful defamation claim against The Sun over allegations that by dating Leicester City footballer Danny Simpson she was a “home wrecker”

- Acted for Danny Simpson in a related action concerning his relationship with Tulisa, leading to the CA distinguishing the concept of a defamatory meaning and a libel sting

- Acted for Danny Simpson in a successful defamation claim against The Sun that by dating Tulisa he had cheated on his previous partner

- Acted for Paul McKenna in a successful and high-profile libel claim against Mirror Group Newspapers over an allegation that he had dishonestly claimed to be the holder of a PHD

- Successfully defended for ITV and Granada a format rights dispute fought both in the UK and US over “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here” in a claim that it was an infringing copy of the “Survivor” format

- Acted for Love Productions in a format dispute concerning allegations of the misuse by the BBC of “The Great British Bake Off” format – outcome confidential

- Successfully defended Channel Four in a format rights dispute brought by A&E Television concerning the US broadcaster’s claim to have established goodwill in the term “Intervention” for TV programmes of that subject

- Acted for Israeli Fremantle subsidiary Abot Hameiri in a multi-party and multi-jurisdictional format rights dispute with various subsidiaries of Banijay over an interactive game show which Abot had previously pitched to Banijay)

- Successfully defended Oxford Analytica in a widely reported defamation claim brought by a Bulgarian multinational company over allegations that it was a mafia organisation, the claim being struck out at trial by means of a legal submission without the defendant having to adduce evidence

- Acted for Lizo Mzimba in a successful libel claim against The Independent that he had behaved in an unprofessional way while visiting Cambridge University

- Acted for leading Syrian business mogul Ayman Asfari in a successful libel claim that he and his multinational company had been doing business with President Assad of Syria

- Acted for the Duchess of York in successfully obtaining an injunction against O’Mara books concerning an account of her relationship with John Bryan, a legal action that was front-page news and attracted worldwide media coverage

- Successfully brought a libel claim for Geri Halliwell which led to the paper publishing a full front-page apology for Geri over false claims that she was having an adulterous relationship with a senior EMI executive

- Successfully defended Water Music in a multi-party music copyright action over the soundtrack to a long-running series of Marmite advertisements which was based on a classic 70s dance hit

- Acted for Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan and obtained (in 1996) the first order in the world permitting service of proceedings via the Internet, an order that received media coverage in the UK and abroad

- Completed reputation management work for a number of blue-chip schools such as Haileybury and Wellington College.

- Acted on a wide range of adverse media coverage around Brexit for the Legatum Institute and its leading individual , Christopher Chandler.

- Acting for Love Island Star Jack Fincham in contract dispute with an ex-agent.

- Advising Koo Stark, former girlfriend of HRH Prince Andrew, who has recently been subject to unfavourable press interest, in a libel claim against MTV over publicity for the new “Crown” series.

- Acting for reality star and TV presenter in libel and harassment action against Cristiano Ronaldo.