DEPARTMENT PROFILE

5RB

Defamation/Privacy

27 ranked barristersBand 1London (Bar)UK Bar 2021 View ranking table
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5RB is described by interviewees as "the standout set" in the world of defamation and privacy. The chambers houses a deep bench of barristers who are noted for their expert handling of libel and privacy claims and related data protection matters, as well as emergency injunctions. Its members are instructed by claimants and defendants in the most prominent cases at all levels, including in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. In recent years, they have acted in a number of important cases on the interpretation of the Defamation Act 2013, the most notable being the case of Lachaux v Independent Print. They have defended media outlets including The Times, The Sun and the BBC, and have acted to protect the reputations of numerous high-profile individuals such as James Dyson.

Client service:

"The clerking has always been brilliant. They understand what solicitors need and find a way to get it." "They are always available, come rain or shine. They are so easy to contact and will always go the extra mile." "Senior clerk Andrew Love is wonderful – he runs a very tight ship."

Strengths:

Adam Speker QC
Superb barrister with a broad media practice encompassing all aspects of reputation management, privacy and media defence. He has appeared before the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the Privy Council.
"Cool in a crisis and an expert on all things media. He's always available to provide technical and practical advice in very delicate and time-sensitive situations." "He is excellent with clients, and is insightful, perceptive and highly gifted." "He's really pragmatic and his drafting is excellent. He's willing to take on a challenge."
Recent work: Acted for the defendants in Greenstein v Campaign against Antisemitism, a claim brought in libel and other causes of action in respect of accusations of antisemitism.

Strengths:

Adam Wolanski QC
Leading defamation lawyer who is valued by instructing solicitors for his client management skills and well-honed advocacy style. He acts for and against the major media organisations and newspapers in high-profile cases concerning libel, privacy and reporting restrictions.
"An excellent QC who continues to provide first-class advice. He is an absolute pleasure to work with." "Clever, considered, very friendly and practical." "He's so down-to-earth and really quick to pick things up. Really clear in his advice and very forensic in his analysis of cases."

Strengths:

Adrienne Page QC
Highly rated silk with particular experience in acting for claimants in a range of matters relating to defamation, malicious falsehood and harassment. She has led the Bar in the interpretation of the 'serious harm' requirement for claims in defamation.
"A supreme intellect and tactically very astute. Great at both case strategy and detail." "She's extremely responsive no matter how busy she is. She's so prompt, efficient and remarkably thorough."
Recent work: Successfully represented EuroEco Fuels in a libel claim before the Court of Appeal.

Strengths:

Aidan Eardley
Has an outstanding reputation for media law matters and a strong track record of acting both for and against the media. He draws praise for his understanding of the DPA and his strong advocacy skills.
"Aidan is excellent and hugely respected by publishing clients." "He's just so brilliant. He has got super judgement and knows more about data protection than anyone I know. I cannot speak highly enough of him." "He's very thorough and user-friendly, and gets stuck in."
Recent work: Represented Christopher Chandler, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist, in a claim concerning Twitter posts falsely alleging that he was a money launderer who had acted covertly on behalf of Russia when intervening in the Brexit debate.

Strengths:

Alexandra Marzec
Has an enviable reputation in the area of libel and privacy litigation. She is particularly proficient in media defence, having acted for newspapers, private investigators and other members of the press in phone hacking claims.
"An extremely bright, knowledgeable and experienced media barrister. She gets to the heart of very complex cases very quickly and is collaborative and very good at understanding the client's needs." "A great team player, who is responsive, commercial and fun to work with." "A strong, tenacious advocate who is a thoughtful and excellent team member."

Strengths:

Andrew Caldecott QC
A star of the Defamation and Privacy Bar, widely regarded as the leading silk in the area. He has unrivalled Supreme Court experience and is continually instructed in high-profile, precedent-setting cases concerning defamation, privacy and malicious falsehood.
"He's so experienced and knows the law inside-out. Fantastic on case presentation, legal analysis and client handling." "A legend; brilliantly enthusiastic and committed. A forensic mastermind." "He understands the bigger picture and is very thorough, highly respected and extremely knowledgeable."

Strengths:

Chloe Strong
Represents clients in defamation, privacy, confidence and copyright claims. She represents both individuals and companies, and frequently provides pre-publication advice to major publishers.
"Chloe is very clear in her advice and her risk analysis, and she really fights your corner. She is able to weigh legal objectives against a client's commercial objectives in a smart and pragmatic way." "She gets stuck into the granular detail and has excellent nous for the bigger picture too. She is the most thorough barrister I have worked with."

Strengths:

Christina Michalos QC
Specialist media silk who has expert knowledge of defamation, freedom of information, the DPA and online issues.
"She's poised, composed, knowledgeable, calm and collected." "Tenacious, strong on litigation tactics and an excellent advocate." "Always well prepared and good with clients."

Strengths:

Clara Hamer
Rising talent, with a practice covering all aspects of media and information law. She acts in privacy and defamation matters for national newspapers, publishers and broadcasters.
"Clara is a rising star in the defamation and privacy world. She has an understanding and confidence that belies her years." "She has got a really forensic eye for detail and is incredibly thorough. She has a very can-do attitude." "A very diligent and proactive junior."
Recent work: Represented Bloomberg in litigation against a party known as ZXC, concerning an online article publishing his name in connection with a criminal investigation.

Strengths:

David Hirst
Highly lauded defamation and privacy junior with a niche focus on online matters such as internet harassment, tracing and disclosure orders against ISPs. He also advises corporate entities and media organisations on pre-publication.
"He's very bright and very hard-working." "Smart, practical and good with clients." "A reliable and effective junior."
Recent work: Defended the publisher Harper Collins and the writer Tom Bower in a libel dispute over references in his biography of Jeremy Corbyn.

Strengths:

David Sherborne
Star junior barrister who wins unanimous praise from peers for his privacy practice. He remains at the forefront of phone hacking litigation and continues to receive instructions in landmark libel and privacy cases.
"One of the best privacy barristers there is. Extremely responsive and a fierce advocate in court." "A master tactician and excellent with clients." "Ferociously bright and great at handling the most difficult situations."

Strengths:

Desmond Browne QC
Former Chairman of the Bar and joint head of chambers, he has a phenomenal reputation in defamation and privacy circles. He continues to be instructed in cutting-edge cases, and frequently appears in privacy injunctions and libel claims.
"An expert in this area who commands attention in court. He brings a different dimension to cases and is very good with clients." "Extremely thorough and a formidable advocate." "He's one of the most accomplished and well-known media lawyers in the country."

Strengths:

Felicity McMahon
Enjoys a growing reputation in the area, thanks to her successful work for both claimants and defendants in matters relating to privacy, libel and harassment.
"Provides prompt, pragmatic and very client-friendly advice." "She has an extraordinary eye for detail."

Strengths:

Gervase de Wilde
Focuses on representing newspapers, broadcasters and private individuals in disputes concerning defamation, privacy, harassment and court reporting. His previous experience as a journalist for a national newspaper gives him considerable insight into the sector.
"He's a standout lawyer. Mature, knowledgeable and easy to work with." "Good insight and understanding of the media; a real rising star." "Thorough and user-friendly."

Strengths:

Godwin Busuttil
Top defamation counsel, offering a raft of expertise in privacy, conspiracy, data protection, online harassment and libel. He acts for both claimants and defendants and has co-authored much of the leading commentary on the practice area, and has appeared in some of the leading defamation and privacy cases of recent years.
"Extremely intelligent and a very good technician." "He is encyclopaedic on the law." "Very strong academically and produces exceptional drafting."

Strengths:

Greg Callus
Has a superb reputation as a junior with a flourishing data protection and libel practice. He is instructed by both claimants and defendants, and counts high-profile publishers and broadcasters among his clientele.
"An astute lawyer and one to watch. He projects a level of authority beyond his level of call." "He's very bright and intelligent." "Highly regarded and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law."

Strengths:

Jacob Dean
Premier junior in the media sector who frequently appears in major cases, both as sole counsel and under the direction of leading silks. He has appeared before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal on a number of occasions. He has particular expertise in online and cross-jurisdictional matters.
"An expert in privacy law, Jacob can always be relied on to provide swift, astute advice on urgent, sensitive matters." "Extremely bright, hard-working and approachable. A delight to work with." "First-class knowledge of the law. He is a very respected and persuasive advocate."

Strengths:

Jane Phillips
Well-regarded junior specialising in media litigation. She acts for a number of high-profile celebrity clients and media organisations in sensitive disputes. She also provides pre-publication advice to book publishers and broadcasters.
"Jane has an ability to quickly grasp the key issues and deliver constructive advice. She is highly experienced, approachable, versatile and good at managing clients' expectations." "She is really on the ball and has got really good judgement." "She has a great command of the landscape and is engaging and empathetic with clients."
Recent work: Appeared on behalf of the BBC and the Press Association in their application for access to the cockpit and bystander footage shown to the jury during the manslaughter trial of the pilot who crashed at the Shoreham Air Show in 2015.

Strengths:

Jonathan Barnes QC
Experienced practitioner who acts mainly for claimants in actions concerning reputation, including libel, privacy and harassment proceedings. He is well regarded for his expertise in data privacy matters.
"Jonathan is unflappable, and has an incredible ability to cut through complex issues and provide clear advice." "He's extremely experienced and so impressive as an advocate." "Fantastic knowledge of the law and great to work with."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a non-disclosure injunction against a blackmailer threatening to disclose private and damaging material.

Strengths:

Jonathan Scherbel-Ball
Defamation and data protection practitioner who is well respected for his defence work. His practice is augmented by his previous in-house experience at the BBC. He has a significant Northern Irish practice and regularly represents publishers and broadcasters, as well as a range of blue-chip multinational companies and major health trusts.
"He's enthusiastic and proactive, and energetically pursues cases." "He's outstanding on internet intermediary liability. He has a phenomenal ability to analyse complex issues and has fantastic attention to detail." "He is well respected by clients, who have significant trust in his advice."
Recent work: Acted as junior counsel for the BBC in the application for a reporting restriction order to prevent further reporting of other BBC presenters who had allegedly brought similar claims to Samira Ahmed, following her high-profile equal pay claim.

Strengths:

Julian Santos
Highly rated junior with particular expertise in cases concerning defamation, privacy, data protection, harassment and breach of confidence. He is active in ongoing matters arising out of the phone hacking scandal.
"An impressive junior with excellent client-handling and advocacy skills. A pleasure to work with: he is extremely approachable and engaged with the cases he takes on." "Julian is very helpful and knowledgeable and is great to have on your team." "Incredibly hard-working and brilliant with clients."
Recent work: Acted for Mamadou Sakho, a Premier League footballer, in a defamation claim relating to a publication by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Strengths:

Justin Rushbrooke QC
Continues to be in high demand for his strong advocacy skills and understanding of the DPA in the context of defamation and privacy law. He has niche expertise in corporate libel claims and disclosure orders.
"Justin is an intellectually gifted strategist and advocate." "An excellent QC with a calm and relaxed style." "Highly intelligent and hard-working."

Strengths:

Kate Wilson
Frequently involved in high-profile libel and privacy claims, with recent experience in the Supreme Court. She has niche expertise in online issues and claims involving public authorities. She has additional expertise in cases concerning reporting restrictions in the Crown and Family Courts.
"A knowledgeable and client-friendly media specialist who knows her field incredibly well." "Provides prompt, clear and pragmatic advice." "An excellent trial advocate, who is very calm under pressure."
Recent work: Successfully acted for the former MP Anna Turley in her libel claim concerning an article on the political blog Skwawkbox, which alleged there were grounds to suspect her of dishonesty when she applied to join Unite.

Strengths:

Richard Munden
Experienced junior counsel with broad expertise in media matters, including claims involving the DPA and traditional libel matters. He is active in a number of phone hacking and related privacy claims.
"A hard-working and user-friendly junior with a busy practice in high-profile matters." "Clients love his tenacity. His advice is always clear and commercial." "Excellent drafting skills and mastery of detail."
Recent work: Acted for a Palestinian businessman in a libel claim concerning WhatsApp messages accusing him of criminality and dishonesty following a property dispute.

Strengths:

Victoria Jolliffe
Accomplished media law junior focusing on reputational matters for claimants and defendants. She has niche expertise in Norwich Pharmacal applications, and privacy and harassment injunctions.
"Victoria is quick to grasp the issues and provides clear and concise advice." "She's reliable and bright and has excellent experience." "Her work ethic is absolutely phenomenal: I have not seen anyone work as hard as her."

Strengths:

Victoria Simon-Shore
Practises in the area of media law and has expertise spanning libel, online harassment, privacy and breach of confidence. She also provides pre-publication advice to newspaper clients.
"She's fiercely bright, very approachable and goes the extra mile." "She is extremely good on her feet and gives clear, straightforward advice."

Strengths:

William Bennett QC
Enjoys an established reputation in the fields of defamation and privacy. He appears for both claimants and defendants in high-profile disputes.
"He's very calm under pressure: nothing ever fazes him. A highly successful defamation silk." "He's really hard-working and a team player." "He always gives balanced and sensible advice. An advocate of the highest quality."
Recent work: Represented Sir James Dyson and Lady Dyson in a libel claim against Associated Newspapers, concerning articles published in the Daily Mail and MailOnline.

Defamation/Privacy Department

5RB

firm
Department location

5 Gray’s Inn Square

Gray's Inn

London

Greater London

UK

WC1R 5AH

View Firm Profile

Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)

London (Bar)

Defamation/Privacy


Adam Speker QC
New Silks
Adam Wolanski QC
Band 3
Adrienne Page QC
Star Individuals
Andrew Caldecott QC
Star Individuals
Christina Michalos QC
Band 3
Desmond Browne QC
Band 1