Marlia is an experienced media/entertainment, intellectual property and privacy lawyer who has extensive top-tier law firm expertise and a unique client perspective after working as a senior in-house lawyer for many years.
She was the Senior Litigation Counsel at News Corp Australia for four years, and previously worked at a top-tier international firm for 13 years where she acted for and advised most of Australia’s major media organisations, social media and streaming platforms, large corporates and government bodies.
Marlia specialises in defamation, contempt of court, suppression orders, freedom of information and court access applications, confidential information claims, prepublication advice, copyright, consumer law and privacy matters. She has acted in a large number of high profile media and intellectual property disputes; advised on sponsorship, production and licensing deals; and given prepublication advice in relation to newspaper and online articles, television programs, podcasts and marketing/advertising materials.
She is respected for her deep understanding of the issues facing media clients, as well as the commercial outlook she brings to engaging with clients and addressing their needs.
Marlia is passionate about the media and its role in a healthy democracy. She is a member of industry bodies that aim to educate and lobby for regulatory reform on issues affecting the sector.
Marlia has been recognised in Doyle’s Guide (2022) as a recommended lawyer in Contentious Intellectual Property in New South Wales.
Marlia Saunders recent experience includes:
- Acting for News Corp Australia in a world-first defamation case brought by a former youth offender, Dylan Voller, in which the High Court held that media outlets are publishers of comments made by third parties on their Facebook pages.
- Successfully defending the publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph in defamation proceedings brought by former sport journalist Josh Massoud. The NSW District Court found the media had made out its truth defence and proved that Mr Massoud was a bully who threatened and intimidated his work colleagues.
- Acting for News Corp Australia respondents in the Cardinal George Pell contempt of court proceedings over the publication of articles relating to his conviction on child sex abuse charges (overturned on appeal). Marlia’s evidence resulted in charges against individual journalists and editors being withdrawn by prosecutors.
- Acting for The Daily Telegraph in the defamation case brought by actor Geoffrey Rush.
- Providing prepublication advice to News Corp Australia in relation to over 130 newspaper and website publications and podcasts throughout the country.
- Representing News Corp Australia publishers in applications for access to court documents, opposing suppression and non-publication orders and freedom of information requests.
- Representing Australia’s Right to Know, a coalition of media organisations, in relation to law reform proposals including amendments to the uniform defamation law introduced in July 2021.