Legendary Lawyer leaves The Times

I was alarmed to hear that Alastair Brett had lost his job as legal manager of The Times, after working at the newspaper for 33 years. It appears that he was called in last Friday afternoon and told that his face no longer fitted.

No reason has been given for this falling out, prompting speculation that he may have lost too many cases and costing his employers too much money. The Times has along tradition of fighting points of principle on behalf of newspapers as a whole.

If all this was becoming too expensive , the answer should surely have been to drop the cases — not the lawyer.

Update: A news release from News International Limited, dated 29th November:

Alastair Brett steps down as Legal Director of Times Newspapers Ltd

Alastair Brett has decided to step down as Legal Director of Times Newspapers Ltd (TNL) so that he can finish a book, spend more time with his wife and two young children and set up his own Media Law Consultancy as a solicitor and freelance writer.

Mr Brett has worked for Times Newspapers Ltd for 33 years. He has been at the forefront of defamation reform, recently helping Lord Lester with his Defamation Bill and Sir Charles Gray with an Early Resolution Procedure Group report.

News International is extremely grateful for Mr Brett’s huge contribution to The Times and The Sunday Times over the years and it wishes him well in his future.

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