Blakes is recognized as having one of Canada’s pre-eminent media, defamation and free-expression practices. The Blakes Media & Defamation group represents leading Canadian newspapers and broadcasters, as well as American and international media, book publishers, community newspapers and non-media parties in defamation and free-expression matters. Foreign and domestic clients rely on our comprehensive grasp of nuanced legal issues, our 24-hour accessibility and our ability to respond in real time to questions and to provide pre-publication advice.
Traditional concepts of media and free speech have changed dramatically since the advent of the internet and online platforms. This has created new defamation risks and complex issues related to damage to reputation and invasion of privacy, all on a global scale. Conflicting laws, jurisdictional complexities and different legal standards create challenging legal issues. Blakes regularly advises a variety of clients on how to navigate and litigate these cutting-edge issues.
Major media companies regularly engage us to advise them about libel and defamation laws in Canada, privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of the press, publication bans and sealing orders, copyright, social media litigation, electronic media, and access-to-information issues. We have been involved in many of the most important media litigation cases heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in the past two decades. Among other things, we persuaded the court to adopt a new defence to libel, responsible communication in the public interest. We also have extensive hearing and appeal experience and have brought constitutional challenges related to a range of free-expression and openness matters.
Our clients include the Toronto Star, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, BuzzFeed and many others. We have also acted for American and international media, such as the Washington Post, The New York Times, The Associated Press and Ha’aretz, as well as book publishers like Penguin Random House.