Charles Swan

Charles is an experienced lawyer who is committed to delivering practical, innovative and cost-effective solutions to clients in the marketing and photography worlds.

Charles’ clients include leading advertising, marketing and design agencies, advertisers, trade associations, image libraries, photographers, agents, publishers and artists. Charles heads the firm’s Advertising & Marketing and Photography & Visual Arts Groups and advises on a wide range of issues including:

  • Copyright and trade mark protection and enforcement
  • Competitions and prize draws
  • Data protection
  • Agency agreements
  • Talent and rights contracts
  • UK and international copy clearance
  • ASA issues and complaints
  • Image library contracts
  • Publishing contracts

Recognised by Best Lawyers as UK Advertising & Marketing Lawyer of the Year (2019), rated by Thomson Reuter as a UK Super Lawyer and by Chambers & Partners as a Band 1 Advertising & Marketing lawyer, a Legal 500 Hall of Fame member for Media and Entertainment, Charles is the Honorary President of Adlaw International, a global network of specialist advertising law firms with members in 23 countries which he initiated in 1992. He is a member of the Advertising Lawyers Group and was the first non-photographer director of the Association of Photographers.

Charles contributed to the legal sections of the Association of Photographers’ guide for professional photographers, Beyond the Lens. He is a frequent speaker on marketing and photography law issues.

Charles was previously at the Simkins Partnership from 1985 to 2005, where he headed the firm’s Advertising & Marketing and Photography Groups and initiated in 1999 what is believed to have been the first e-bulletin service by a UK law firm. Charles was a founding partner of Swan Turton in 2005.

Languages: French and Portuguese

What the Legal Directories say:

Chambers & Partners

Charles Swan is one of the most respected advertising and marketing law specialists in the UK, advising on international clearance, contracts of all kinds as well as ASA and competitor disputes. He is also recognised for his knowledge of the law with regard to photography and associated IP rights issues. Commentators describe him as “an outstanding advertising and marketing lawyer whose knowledge and experience of IP issues is second to none.”

Charles Swan maintains a very good reputation for his work in the advertising and marketing sector and is particularly recognised for his strengths in photography law and IP.  Clients describe him as “incredibly calm“. (2019 Edition)

Charles Swan is an expert in commercial advertising matters as well as disputes arising in the industry.  Clients say: “He is fearsomely bright with a sharp, clear mind and a huge understanding of how the law operates in the field of advertising and marketing.” (2016 Edition)

Charles Swan is sought by the biggest advertising agencies, brands, content owners and artists for his counsel. One leading industry client said he is “calm and very considered in an industry which is anything but. An oasis of sensible, thoughtful advice.” (2013 Edition)

Charles Swan is a great choice of solicitor since he is “understated but very deserving of recognition: he really knows his stuff.” His knowledge of French and Portuguese also helps in advertising and marketing work with a multilingual aspect. His key clients include JWT London and the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre. (2013 Edition)

Charles Swan is “a real guru when it comes to the use of music in advertising.” He impresses clients with both his industry-spanning expertise and his “precise and commercial advice.” (2012 Edition)

Charles Swan impresses on interactive matters but is best known for his work in advertising and marketing. Clients commend him for “bringing issues into focus and saving a lot of time.”

Charles Swan is universally lauded for his vast experience and extensive knowledge: “He’s the man with all the answers.”

“There are not enough positive adjectives in the dictionary to describe the low-key and tremendously knowledgeable Charles Swan.”

One client says: “There is nothing this front runner can’t deal with. He is careful and meticulous, but don’t be fooled by the quiet exterior; there is fire inside.”

One client said about “outrageously smart” Charles Swan, “first thing you notice is how quiet he is, next thing it hits you that he has just completed the impossible deal for you.”

“Charles Swan “does not squander time arguing points for the sake of it.” With 20 years’ experience working as an advertising lawyer, he is considered one of the most innovative lawyers in the market.”

Legal 500

“Charles Swan’s ‘detailed knowledge of marketing services is second to none’”

“Charles Swan is one of the advertising sector’s leading lights”

“Charles Swan is an acknowledged expert on photographic issues”