- Defamation and other claims involving the publication of false information
- Privacy and confidence
- Information law, including data protection and freedom of information
- Media-related public law
- Contempt of court and reporting restrictions
- Media-related intellectual property and entertainment law
- Pre-publication advice
- Non-contentious reputation management advice
David has a broad practice encompassing all aspects of media and information law:
- Listed as a leading junior by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 in the fields of Defamation & Privacy and Data Protection.
David has appeared in numerous high profile defamation and privacy actions, where he consistently acts for leading firms of solicitors in the field and on behalf of a large number of the most prominent media organisations and companies (including Associated Newspapers, Google, Ofcom, the BBC, Guardian News & Media and Times Newspapers).
He also holds a substantial wider practice in the fields of:
- Public and entertainment law (where he regularly advises the media regulator Ofcom and acts for the United Kingdom Government in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights);
- Information law (where he has represented government departments as well as regulatory bodies and media organisations including in data protection and freedom of information cases heard before both the Information Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal).
From 2012 - 2014, David was appointed to the role of Independent Scheme Barrister representing phone hacking victims bringing claims in News International’s Voicemail Interception Compensation Scheme.
He represented Guardian News & Media at the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press and previously acted on behalf of the BBC at the Hutton Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly.
- David is listed as a leading junior in Defamation and Privacy in Chambers and Partners and in Defamation by The Legal 500:
- He is also ranked as a leading junior in Data Protection with Chambers and Partners 2017 noting that he is "One of the best juniors around and has more experience than most of contentious data protection work. He is very bright and great to work with." "He has an unstuffy and practical approach. He's extremely bright and he has all the cases at his fingertips. He is particularly helpful in dealing with complex issues."
"He is extremely bright and someone you would want fighting your corner." "He is incredible and a great strategist."
(Chambers and Partners 2017 – Defamation/Privacy)
Encyclopaedic in his knowledge and terrifyingly astute.
(The Legal 500 2016 – Defamation and Privacy)
"He has a superb intellect, is very commercial and is top of the senior junior tree."
(Chambers and Partners 2016 – Defamation and Privacy)
"He is a superstar in this area. He is genuinely on top of the issues in data protection, and is extremely bright and very personable."
"An absolute star - he has a superb intellect, and is very commercial."
(Chambers and Partners 2016 – Data Protection)
'The perfect combination of intellectual power, strategic nous and sound judgement.'
(The Legal 500 2015 - Defamation)
‘David has expertise in defamation law, and is a well-known name in the media and entertainment sector. Has acted on myriad high-profile cases that have been making waves in the industry in recent times.’ "He's good at seeing the wood for the trees and giving very clear advice."
"Exceptionally bright, he's someone you would want fighting your corner."
(Chambers and Partners 2015 – Defamation and Privacy)
‘Noted for his representation of private and public figures in data protection matters, he has extensive experience of acting for News International phone-hacking victims. He also provides regulatory advice for Ofcom.‘ "He marshals his arguments well and presents them coherently."
(Chambers and Partners 2015 – Data Protection)
‘A prominent libel and privacy specialist who is seen as a future star by many commentators. He is a strong all-rounder, who receives much praise for his drafting, analysis of a case, and fine courtroom performances. Solicitors particularly praise the calm manner with which he approaches even the most turbulent of cases.‘
"Has in-depth knowledge of libel and privacy laws, and can effectively apply that knowledge to any type of dispute."
(Chambers and Partners 2014 – Defamation and Privacy)
"An absolute star junior. He's intellectually brilliant but combines that with pragmatism. He provides very strategic advice. His advocacy is very good too; he was very succinct whilst addressing everything we needed him to."
(Chambers and Partners 2014 – Data Protection)
‘Very bright, and great at absorbing detail.’
(The Legal 500 2014 – Defamation & Privacy)
Will surely be a top QC one day.”
(The Legal 500 2013 - Defamation and Privacy)
"A very impressive, very hands-on" barrister, who "has a nice touch with clients, whilst also being good on his feet."
(Chambers and Partners 2012 – Defamation & Privacy)
'Tipped for great things. "A wise head on young shoulders," he acted for the defendant in North London Central Mosque Trust v Policy Exchange & Another. One of his strong suits is the fact that he is "excellent at identifying and then nullifying the risks in a case.”
(Chambers and Partners 2011 – Defamation)
"Seems indestructible. He shows total commitment and a huge capacity to absorb information.”
(Chambers and Partners 2010 – Defamation)
ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
CPE postgraduate law diploma (Distinction), The College of Law
Bar Vocational Course, The College of Law
Queen Mother Scholarship (Middle Temple)
REPRESENTATIVE CASES OF INTEREST
- Optical Express Limited v Associated Newspapers Limited (2016) – Counsel for ANL in a defamation and malicious falsehood claim brought by the high-street optical healthcare provider, Optical Express, in respect of a Daily Mail article.
- Richardson v Google UK Limited (2015) – Counsel for the defendant in response to a claim which sought to impose liability in defamation and under Article 8 on Google UK for third-party content posted on Blogger.com and Google+. The claim was struck out in June 2015, a decision which was upheld on appeal by Warby J.
- Prince Moulay Hicham v Elaph Publishing (2015) – Counsel for the defendant website in relation to proceedings brought by the Morroccan Prince, Moulay Hicham. Following a hearing in March 2015, a number of the claimant’s pleaded meanings were struck out by Dingemans J.
- Dar Al Arkan & Bank Alkhair v Al Refai & oths(2014) – acting on behalf of the claimants in a $1 billion claim for damages which is brought in defamation, breach of confidence, malicious falsehood and unlawful conspiracy.
- Jill Finney v Care Quality Commission (2014) – acting for the defendant national healthcare regulator. The claim is brought by the CQC’s former Deputy CEO in defamation and under Art 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and concerns a report compiled into events surrounding the organisation’s regulation of the Morecambe Bay Hospital scandal.
- Sheikh Nasser bin Al-Shathri v Guardian News & Media Limited (2013) - represented Guardian News & Media in a libel action brought by a prominent Saudi Arabian cleric.
- Nathaniel Rothschild v Associated Newspapers Ltd (2013) – Counsel for ANL (with Andrew Caldecott QC) successfully defending a libel action brought by the well-known international financier over an article in the Daily Mail which focused on the circumstances in which Lord Mandelson attended a dinner hosted by the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. ANL succeeded in its defence of justification at trial in January 2012 and in the Court of Appeal in March 2013.
- Bob Crow v Boris Johnson (2012) – Counsel for the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in the successful defence of a libel action brought by the leader of the RMT Union, Bob Crow, in respect of claims made in election posters which were distributed by Mr Johnson for the 2012 London mayoral election.
- Advanced Hair Studios v BBC (2012) – Counsel for the BBC in successfully resisting a claim in libel and malicious falsehood.
- Budu v BBC (2010) – Junior Counsel for the BBC (with Andrew Caldecott QC) in libel action brought in respect of a number of hyperlinked articles which were stored in the archive of the BBC website. Summary judgment was granted to the BBC.
- Wyatt v Cartwright (2010) – Counsel for the Claimant in a successful libel action brought by a former employee of AA Hotel Services Ltd against another senior member of staff.
- Azad Ali v Associated Newspapers Ltd (2010) – Counsel for ANL successfully defending a libel which was brought over articles in the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail. Summary judgment was awarded to ANL following a hearing in January 2010 on the basis that a jury would have been perverse to hold that the meaning borne by the article was not substantially true.
- North London Central Mosque Trust v Policy Exchange & Anr (2009) - Junior Counsel for the defendant (with Andrew Caldecott QC). The action was successfully struck out on the grounds that the claimant lacked requisite legal capacity to maintain a claim for libel.
- Taranissi v BBC (2009) - Junior Counsel for the BBC in major libel action brought by a prominent IVF clinician in respect of a Panorama investigation into the IVF industry in the UK.
- Condoco Grand Cayman & Ryan v KYC News (2007) - Junior Counsel for the Claimant (with Richard Rampton QC) in major libel action brought in Cayman Islands by the developer of the island’s largest hotel and condominium development.
Privacy and information law
- Richardson v Google Inc. (2016) – Instructed on behalf of Google Inc. in defending a claim brought for alleged misuse of private information and under the DPA in respect of content which was posted by a third party on the Blogger and Google+ services.
- Prince Moulay Hicham v Elaph Publishing (2015) – Counsel for an Arabic news website in ongoing proceedings brought by the Moroccan Prince, Moulay Hicham. Although his initial complaint was brought in defamation, the claimant subsequently sought to introduce a fall-back claim under the DPA. In September 2015, the Court of Appeal gave Elaph permission to appeal the decision to allow the DPA claim to proceed in those circumstances. The appeal will be heard in November 2016.
- Edwards v Google UK Limited (2015) – Instructed on behalf of Google UK in the defence of a claim which sought to force Google to block a series of search results relating to publicity surrounding a 2009 criminal trial.
- Dar Al Arkan & Bank Alkhair v Al Refai & oths(2014) – Counsel for the claimants in a $1 billion claim arising from the unauthorised publication of confidential information to various third parties and online.
- News International Voicemail Interception Compensation Scheme (2012-14) – Independent Scheme Barrister representing applicants bringing claims under the compensation scheme established by News International (including for the applicants in the first claims to be subject to formal adjudication by the former High Court judge, Sir Charles Gray).
- Stephen Gee QC v Information Commissioner & BBC (2012) – Counsel for the BBC in proceedings before the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) successfully arguing that the BBC’s designation under the Freedom of Information Act meant that the BBC was not obliged to comply with the Appellant’s request for information under FOIA into the circumstances surrounding a Panorama broadcast.
- C v D (2007) - Counsel for the Claimant in proceedings brought in both privacy and under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act in respect of unlawful covert video surveillance undertaken by a public body against a former employee.
- Dressel v Guardian Newspapers Limited (2007) - Counsel for the Guardian in an action brought for alleged breach of contractual duty of confidence. Summary judgment was successfully obtained on behalf of the Defendant following a hearing in March 2007.
Public, regulatory and entertainment Law
- Tamalt v Google UK Limited (2016) – Counsel for the defendant in a claim which is predicated on the disputed removal of content from YouTube under the latter website’s copyright policy.
- Gaunt v United Kingdom (2014-16) – Acting for the UK Government in ongoing proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights in respect of an alleged violation of Art 10 of the ECHR.
- R v William Cornick (2014) – Represented various media organisations in respect of a successful application to lift an order imposed under s.39 Children & Young Persons Act 1933 which prohibited the identification of the teenager accused of murdering the Leeds schoolteacher, Ann Maguire.
- In the Matter of Mobile Voicemail Interception Litigation (Guardian News & Media & the BBC intervening) (2012) – Counsel for Guardian News & Media and the BBC in a successful application under CPR 5.4 and the court’s inherent jurisdiction for access to documents which had been referred to by the parties in the phone hacking litigation.
- R v Ofcom, ex parte Gaunt (2011) – Junior Counsel for Ofcom in judicial review proceedings brought by the former Talksport radio presenter Jon Gaunt. Mr Gaunt argued that a finding by Ofcom that an interview which he had conducted breached the Broadcasting Code was an unjustified interference with freedom of expression. Ofcom’s decision was upheld by both the Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal.
- The Leveson Inquiry (2011) – Represented the Guardian News & Media at the public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.
- Re The Lawyer (2006) - Counsel for The Lawyer magazine at a hearing relating to unintentional pre-emptive disclosure of the Da Vinci Code judgment.
- R v Mackenzie (2005) - Junior Counsel for media party involved in preliminary court martial proceedings arising from events in the Iraq war.
- The Hutton Inquiry (2003) – Acted for the BBC at the public inquiry held into the circumstances surrounding the death of the scientist, Dr David Kelly (led by Andrew Caldecott QC).
PUBLICATIONS AND SEMINARS
- Editor, Atkin’s Court Forms on Defamation
Member of the Bar Pro Bono Unit
Keen interest in many sports (including football, rugby, cricket & horseracing). Also music, cinema and Sunderland AFC.