In January 2023, Chris Packham’s lawyer Leigh Day contacted us to say he plans to sue Fieldsports Channel Ltd over a Facebook post and an article on FieldsportsChannel.tv from June 2022.
Chris has willingly appeared on Fieldsports Britain since 2017, so we were surprised he reached for lawyers instead of a telephone in this case, but it his right and he has the money to do so. We agreed to take down the article while we sorted out the problem and, if necessary, to put out an apology.
We secured the support of our membership group, the Fieldsports Nation, who willingly funded our excellent lawyer, Charles Russell Speechlys’ bill of £69,410.2 (including VAT).
By the summer, it became clear to us that Chris or his solicitor’s desire to keep funding the case at their end was on the wane and he finally asked us to settle at a price we could agree, which we are paying out of our own pockets.
At the time, the legal advice we received was that we might win the 6 November 2023 summary judgement that Chris wanted against us but that we would have to pay up to £90,000 of his costs – probably £40,000 – and then have to raise a further £300,000 to see him court again in 2025.
On 6 November 2023, we put out a statement in open court, we agreed a retraction and an apology, and we agreed to pay him £30,000 in three payments: on signature, on 1 January 2024 and on 1 April 2024.
It is worth pointing out that, although Fieldsports Television Ltd turns over £400,000-£500,000 a year, as can be seen from our publicly available accounts, all of its surplus goes back in to campaigning journalism. It is not ‘highly profitable’ as the article claims, lovely though that would be.
Two facts are true: he tried to end us. He failed.