Peter Carter-Ruck

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Peter Carter-Ruck
Peter Frederick Carter-Ruck

(1914-02-26)26 February 1914
Steyning, West Sussex, England
Died19 December 2003(2003-12-19) (aged 89)
Uttlesford, Essex, England
EducationSt Edward's School, Oxford
Known forSpecialising in libel cases
Ann Maxwell (m. 1940⁠–⁠2003)

Peter Frederick Carter-Ruck (26 February 1914 – 19 December 2003) was an English solicitor, specialising in libel cases. The firm he founded, Carter-Ruck, is still practising.


Personal life[edit]

Carter-Ruck was educated at St Edward's School, Oxford. He spent three months in Germany during the 1930s, observing the rising popularity of Hitler and attending a rally in Freiburg. Upon his return, he trained and qualified as a solicitor.[1]

His daughter Julie Scott-Bayfield is also a libel lawyer.[2]


Carter-Ruck's first major case was defending the Bolton Evening News successfully against a libel action brought by the Labour MP Bessie Braddock, who, the paper had claimed, had danced a jig in Parliament.[3]

In December 1995, Carter-Ruck acted for the royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke in the matter of an allegation against her by Diana, Princess of Wales, that she had aborted Charles's child.[4]


In 1980, the Daily Express editor Derek Jameson was advised by Carter-Ruck that if he sued the BBC over their portrayal of him in a Week Ending sketch, he would win at least £25,000 in damages. The barrister in the case, David Eady QC, however advised Carter-Ruck to accept the BBC's offer to settle for £10 plus costs. Carter Ruck did not disclose this advice to his client.

The jury found the broadcast defamatory, but also fair comment and Jameson had to pay costs,[5] receiving a bill for £41,342.50 from Carter-Ruck. Jameson learned by chance of the QC's advice and Carter-Ruck's former partner David Hooper claimed that "Carter-Ruck told him a string of lies".[6] Carter-Ruck later claimed that he did not want to undermine Jameson's morale in court.[7]


  1. ^ Morton, James (23 December 2003). "Peter Carter-Ruck - Eminent libel lawyer with a reputation for aggressive tactics". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  2. ^ Morton, James (23 December 2003). "Obituary: Peter Carter-Ruck – Scourge of Private Eye and master of the libel laws". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  3. ^ Wade, Alex (22 December 2003). "Peter Carter-Ruck (obituary)". The Independent. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  4. ^ "Diana Draws Blood Lashing out at Tiggy brings a legal warning and enrages the Queen". Time. 12 February 1996. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  5. ^ "No pain, no gain". The Northern Echo. 1 August 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2009.
  6. ^ Hooper, David (23 December 2003). "The Carter-Ruck chill". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
  7. ^ Hooper, David (2000). Reputations Under Fire: Winners and Losers in the Libel Business. Little, Brown. pp. 234–41.

External links[edit]