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Clifford Chance's Paris office is preparing to defend the editor and media editor of The Times against a criminal libel action being brought by the Barclay brothers in France.
Partner Jean-Frederic Gaultier is acting for the newspaper, editor Robert Thomson and media editor Dan Sabbagh in the litigation.
The Barclays, Sir David and Sir Frederick, have instructed Anglo-French law firm Fauchon Levy Khindria alongside French lawyer Daniel Amson to fight their claim.
The case can be brought in France because The Times sells a small number of copies in the country. However, if successful, the Barclays are unlikely to recover much money, as defamation awards in France are much less than in England.
At the heart of the complaint is an article published in The Times in November, which was penned by Sabbagh.
The Barclays' lawyer, Monique Fauchon, said the brothers were also seeking their right to reply, which is enshrined in French law as a basic right. It means someone who thinks they have been libelled has the right to have their side of the story printed in the offending publication.