The evolution of Litigation public relations in England, 1992-2010 - PhDData

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The evolution of Litigation public relations in England, 1992-2010

The thesis was published by Beke, Thomas, in September 2022, University of Stirling.


Litigation PR, as a distinct type of legal communications, is about fighting a case both through the law courts and in public, ‘in the court of public opinion’. Litigation PR practitioners offer effective communications techniques to ensure that the client’s image is completely aligned with the legal representative’s efforts and the litigation strategy, while ensuring the legal team’s and the client’s messages are understood outside the courtroom in different legal jurisdictions during the legal process.
This research intends to provide an overview to a series of external forces as well as the main internal drivers in order to explain when and how the new the new institution of Litigation PR evolved in England. As such, this thesis intends to be among the first accounts of the rise and evolution of Litigation PR, this new and, arguably, under-researched branch of PR in England.
The evolution in England reflects distinct communication, legal, political, economic and historical traditions. Therefore, it will be claimed in the thesis that the history of Litigation PR in England has an entirely independent historical evolution than that of the new branch in the US where this PR specialist practice originally evolved in the 1980s.
The research gives greater explanation as to why the English common law legal system and London as the Litigation PR capital of England are extensively investigated. Accordingly, the thesis also focuses on describing the context within which Litigation PR development took place, the unique features of Litigation PR in England and the consequences of the particular jurisdiction on the practice of this new PR branch. As a historical analysis the thesis also investigates and introduces the economic and legal reforms of the 1980s that provided a uniquely fruitful business climate for the rise and development of the new PR branch, particularly in London.
This detailed historical inquiry explores the emergence and evolution of Litigation PR in England in a certain period, from 1992 to 2010. The thesis uses qualitative historical methodology, including analyses of primary as well as secondary sources to introduce the topic addressed. Interviews were undertaken with key senior lawyers, judges and PR practitioners. Accordingly, this historical inquiry interprets the key events, personalities, institutions, as well as the attributes of the legal communications market in London and how these were shaped by Thatcherite liberalization and economic policies from the mid-1980s. The thesis also presents the evolution and significant changes of the civil and criminal procedural rules inevitable to the practice of Litigation PR, and as such, has also determined the historical evolution and the theoretical background of the new branch of PR in England.

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