Peter Frederick Carter-Ruck (26 February 1914 – 19 December 2003) was an English lawyer, specialising in libel cases. The firm he founded, Carter-Ruck, is still practising.
Carter-Ruck was educated at St Edward’s School, Oxford. He spent three months in Germany during the 1930s, observing the rising popularity of Hitler. Upon his return, he trained as a solicitor.
His daughter Julie Scott-Bayfield is also a libel lawyer.
Carter-Ruck’s first major case was defending the Bolton Evening News successfully against a libel action brought by the Labour MP Bessie Braddock, who, they had claimed, had danced a jig in Parliament.
In December 1995, Carter-Ruck acted for the royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke, in the matter of an allegation against her by Diana, Princess of Wales, that she had aborted Charles’s child
In 1980, the Daily Express editor Derek Jameson had been advised by Carter-Ruck that if he sued the BBC over their portrayal of him in a Week Ending sketch, he would win at least £25,000 in damages. The barrister in the case, David Eady QC, however advised Carter-Ruck to accept the BBC’s offer to settle for £10 plus costs. Carter Ruck did not disclose this advice to his client. The jury found the broadcast defamatory, but also fair comment and Jameson had to pay costs, receiving a bill for £41,342.50 from Carter-Ruck. Jameson learned by chance of the QC’s advice and Carter-Ruck’s former partner David Hooper claimed that “Carter-Ruck told him a string of lies” Carter-Ruck later claimed that he did not want to undermine Jameson’s morale in court.