Last year proved one to remember for the BBC’s Sarah Jones, who was promoted to group general counsel in January and has since dealt with a number of high-profile issues.
These have included the dropped Newsnight investigation against Jimmy Savile and a Newsnight broadcast which led to Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in child abuse allegations.
Jones says that the two cases formed some of the most challenging issues that her and her team have faced recently, with both attracting huge interest from the public.
There were also a number of highlights to come out of 2012. Alongside being offered the group general counsel role, professional achievements included the £200m sale of BBC’s Television Centre to property developer Stanhope; advising on the novel rights and contractual issues to support the BBC’s delivery of Olympic coverage; dealing with the release of journalistic information under the Freedom of Information Act; and obtaining permission from the courts to identify the families being assisted by social workers bringing up their children for documentary series Protecting Our Children. Michael Gove reportedly said this series was “worth the licence fee alone”.
Jones sits on the committee of the Media Lawyers Association and was asked by the BBC’s director general in January to join the organisation’s direction group. She joined the BBC from Allen & Overy in 1996 and has also worked on issues stemming from the Leveson Inquiry, Top Gear and Doctor Who.