Libel lawyer dies

LIBEL lawyer Peter Carter-Ruck has died aged 89, his daughter said.Julie Scott-Bayfield said her father passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday night after a short illness.

LIBEL lawyer Peter Carter-Ruck has died aged 89, his daughter said.

Julie Scott-Bayfield said her father passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday night after a short illness.

Mr Carter-Ruck's legal battles with satirical magazine Private Eye and various national newspapers on behalf of a string of A-list clients made him an iconic figure in Fleet Street, where he was both dreaded and respected.

In his time he represented stars and public figures including Laurence Olivier, Spike Milligan, Harold Wilson, Cary Grant, Lucian Freud, and Cecil Parkinson.

He set up Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners in 1982 but retired as a partner in 1996.

Andrew Stephenson, senior partner at the firm, today paid tribute to him as a man of "great charm" with a dry sense of humour who was devoted to his family and his work.

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"It's very sad for us all,' Mr Stephenson said.

"I worked very closely with him for many years and learnt a great deal from him. He always set the highest standards in terms of the service he gave to clients.

"It really was an outstanding example of how to conduct litigation.'

He added: "When he was working with clients in stressful situations he had the ability to see the funny side.

"That made it a pleasure to work with him.'

He said Mr Carter-Ruck, who died at his home in Great Hallingbury, Essex, had a "kind of love-hate relationship' with Private Eye despite his repeated legal success against the satirical magazine.

"Underlying it was a great deal of respect for him and his work,' Mr Stephenson said.

Mr Carter-Ruck's wife Ann died around a year ago.

"They were devoted to each and I'm sure that was a great loss,' said Mr Stephenson.

"I know it was very difficult for him.'

In recent years Mr Carter-Ruck had devoted much of his time to the campaign to stop the expansion of nearby Stansted airport.

The Government announced earlier this week that it was backing plans for a new runway at airport by 2011 or 2012.

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