Dr Peter Coe

Dr Peter Coe

Birmingham Law School
Associate Professor

Contact details

Address
Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Dr Peter Coe’s primary research interests are: (i) the changing nature of journalism, and how this impacts on free speech, press freedom and regulation, and the concepts of privacy and reputation; (ii) defamation, including the protection of corporate reputation; and (iii) media power and plurality, the role the media plays within society and its impact on democracy. His work in these areas has been published in leading journals such as Legal Studies, the University of Melbourne's Media & Arts Law Review, the Journal of Media Law, the Journal of Business Law and Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, amongst others, and his monograph, Media Freedom in the Age of Citizen Journalism, was published by Edward Elgar Publishing in 2021. He is the co-editor, with Professor Paul Wragg, of Landmark Cases in Privacy Law, which will be published by Hart in 2023, and the co-author, with Dr David Acheson, of Principles of Defamation Law, which will be published by Edward Elgar Publishing in 2024.

Dr Coe’s research has led to several external appointments. For example, in 2024 he will take up a Distinguished Research Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University. In 2022 he was appointed by the Council of Europe as an independent member of the Council’s Expert Committee on Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation. He was subsequently called to give expert evidence to the UK Government Justice Select Committee on SLAPPs and has advised and worked with the Ministry of Justice, charities, NGOs and other organisations on various reform proposals relating to this type of litigation. In the same year, he was appointed as a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Law, University of Reading, and in 2021 he was invited to join the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Information Law and Policy Centre as an Associate Research Fellow, having been a Research Associate at the ILPC since 2018. His work on citizen journalism, press freedom and regulation led to him helping to set up, and then lead, an IMPRESS Advisory Group to provide expert guidance to the press regulator on the creation and operation of a new regulatory scheme. He was subsequently asked to join the IMPRESS Code Committee to support its review of its Standards Code for journalists, and between October 2021 and January 2022 he was engaged by IMPRESS to draft its new Standards Code and Guidance. He has also advised the Information Commissioner’s Office on the development of its draft journalism code of practice. During 2021-2022, upon invitation from the International Academy of Comparative Law and British Association of Comparative Law, he is acting as the United Kingdom’s National Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech and the Regulation of Fake News.

Since 2019 Dr Coe has been the Editor of Communications Law, one of the leading specialist journals devoted to media and technology law. He also sits on the International Editorial Boards of In Medias Res and the International Journal of Communication and New Technologies Law. From 2017 to 2020 he was a member of the Executive Committee of the Society of Legal Scholars, and in 2020 he became the Convenor of the Society’s Media and Communications Law subject section.

Qualifications

  • PhD, University of Leeds
  • LLM, University of Northampton
  • LLB, University of Northampton
  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Barrister, Lincoln’s Inn

Biography

Dr Coe joined Birmingham Law School in 2022 as an Associate Professor. Prior to this he was a Lecturer in Law, and then an Associate Professor in Law, at the School of Law, University of Reading, where he served as the Deputy Research Division Leader, the School of Law’s Research Communications Lead, and the Co-Chair of the Law, Justice and Society Research Group. He still works closely with his former Reading colleagues as a Senior Visiting Research Fellow.

He has also held a Senior Lectureship in Law at Aston University, where he undertook several academic management and administrative positions relating to research and teaching, including the LLB Course Directorship, and managing the Law School's employability initiatives.

Additionally, he has practised as a barrister, having been Called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 2007 as a Lord Denning Scholar and Hardwicke Entrance Scholar. He remains an Associate Academic Member of East Anglian Chambers.

He holds an LLB and LLM from the University of Northampton and was awarded a PhD by the University of Leeds. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr Coe has lectured in a range of subjects, including Media Law, Technology, Privacy and Internet Regulation, Cyberlaw, Criminal Law, Criminology, Criminal Justice and aspects of Tort Law and Human Rights Law.

Teaching

  • Criminal Law
  • Human Rights and Criminal Justice
  • Cyberlaw

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Coe welcomes expressions of interest for prospective PhD students in his areas of interest, and the field of Media Law more broadly.


Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

Dr Coe’s research interests fall within the broad field of Media Law. A primary theme within his research agenda is the changing nature of journalism, and what this means, both normatively and theoretically, for free speech, press freedom and regulation. He is particularly interested in how the development of the internet, and the ascendancy of social media platforms, have altered the press industry and our media and communication ecology more broadly, and how this has led to significant transformative effects on the public sphere by changing the way we generate, publish, and consume information, and how we engage in public discourse generally. Dr Coe’s work in this area has led to him working with IMPRESS, which is the Press Recognition Panel approved regulator of the UK press, and the Information Commissioner’s office, on the development of their respective journalism codes. Upon invitation from the International Academy of Comparative Law and British Association of Comparative Law, he is currently serving as the UK’s National Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech and the Regulation of Fake News.

A separate, albeit related, strand to his research agenda is defamation law and reputation, and more specifically, the protection of corporate reputation. His work on corporate reputation has been published in leading journals, including Legal Studies and the Journal of Business Law. Aspects of this research were cited by the Scottish Law Commission in its Discussion Paper on Defamation, ultimately informing its recommendations to continue allowing bodies trading for profit to sue in defamation.

A combination of this research led to Dr Coe’s appointment by the Council of Europe as an independent member of the Council’s Expert Committee on Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation. He has subsequently given expert evidence to the UK Government Justice Select Committee on SLAPPs and has advised and worked with the Ministry of Justice, charities, NGOs and other organisations on various reform proposals relating to this type of litigation.

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Coe, P & Wragg, P (eds) 2022, Landmark Cases in Privacy Law. Hart Publishing.

Coe, P 2021, Media freedom in the age of citizen journalism. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

Article

Coe, P 2022, 'The Draft Online Safety Bill and the regulation of hate speech: have we opened Pandora’s Box?', Journal of Media Law. https://doi.org/10.1080/17577632.2022.2083870

Coe, P 2021, 'An analysis of three distinct approaches to using defamation to protect corporate reputation from Australia, England and Wales, and Canada', Legal Studies, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 111-129. https://doi.org/10.1017/lst.2020.38

Coe, P & Brown, J 2020, 'What's in a name? The case for protecting the reputation of businesses under Article 1 Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights', Journal of European Tort Law, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 286-315.

Coe, P 2018, '(Re)embracing social responsibility theory as a basis for free speech: shifting the normative paradigm for a modern media', The Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, vol. 69, no. 4, pp. 403-431.

Coe, P 2018, 'Anonymity and pseudonymity: Free speech’s problem children', Media & Arts Law Review, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 173-200.

Coe, P 2017, 'Redefining 'media' using a 'media-as-a-constitutional-component' concept: An evaluation of the need for the European Court of Human Rights to alter its understanding of 'media' within a new media landscape', Legal Studies, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 25-53.

Coe, P 2015, 'Footballers and social media 'faux pas': the Football Association's cash cow?', Entertainment Law Review, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 75-78.

Coe, P 2015, 'The Defamation Act 2013: We need to talk about Corporate Reputation', Journal of Business Law, vol. 2015, no. 4, pp. 313-334.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Coe, P 2022, Press regulation in the United Kingdom in a changed media ecosystem. in P Wragg & A Koltay (eds), Global Perspectives on Press Regulation. Hart Publishing.

Coe, P 2022, United Kingdom: Freedom of Expression and the Regulation of Fake News. in O Pollicino & G Di Gregorio (eds), Ius Comparatum - Global Studies in Comparative Law. Intersentia.

Coe, P 2020, A comparative analysis of the treatment of corporate reputation in Australia and the UK. in P Wragg & A Koltay (eds), Comparative Privacy and Defamation. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., pp. 253-269.

Coe, P & Dagilyte, E 2019, Developing professionalism via take-home exams: assessment for learning in law studies. in P Maharg & A Bone (eds), Critical Perspectives on the Scholarship of Assessment and Learning in Law: Volume 1: England. Assessment in Legal Education. Australian National University Press, pp. 109-138.

Coe, P 2017, National security and the fourth estate in a brave new social media world. in L Scaife (ed.), Social Networks as the New Frontier of Terrorism: #Terror. Routledge, pp. 165-192.

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

Journalism, press and media freedom, press regulation, free speech, privacy, defamation

Expertise

In 2022 Dr Coe was appointed by the Council of Europe as an independent member of the Council’s Expert Committee on Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation. He has subsequently given expert evidence to the UK Government Justice Select Committee on SLAPPs and has advised and worked with the Ministry of Justice, charities, NGOs and other organisations on various reform proposals relating to this type of litigation.

Dr Coe’s work on citizen journalism, press freedom and regulation led to him helping to set up, and then lead, an IMPRESS Advisory Group to provide expert guidance to the press regulator on the creation and operation of a new regulatory scheme. He was subsequently asked to join the IMPRESS Code Committee to support its review of its Standards Code for journalists, and between October 2021 and January 2022 he was engaged by IMPRESS to draft its new Standards Code and Guidance. He has also advised the Information Commissioner’s Office on the development of its draft journalism code of practice.

During 2021-2022, upon invitation from the International Academy of Comparative Law and British Association of Comparative Law, he is acting as the United Kingdom’s National Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech and the Regulation of Fake News.