Manuel Barca QC
Call: 1986 | Silk: 2011
“An exceptionally persuasive advocate, who is able to present complex arguments clearly.”
Manuel is a seasoned practitioner at the Media, Communications and Information Law Bar. He has a wealth of experience, both from his time as an established leading junior and as a silk, acting for both claimants and defendants in defamation, malicious falsehood (‘trade libel’), privacy/confidentiality, contempt/reporting-restrictions, and data/information claims generally. He was Chambers and Partners “Defamation Silk of the Year” in 2017.
Both as a junior, and since taking silk in 2011, Manuel has regularly appeared in ground-breaking cases at all levels, including the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords and Supreme Court. He has also advised in the Far East (Hong Kong, Singapore, and Brunei) and appeared as an advocate in Strasbourg and the Cayman Islands (High Court and Court of Appeal).
As well as acting for all the major broadcasters (BBC, Channel Four, ITV, ITN, Channel Five, BskyB) and publishers (e.g. The Times, Guardian, Express, Mail and Mirror groups), Manuel has also advised individuals ranging from the august (HRH Crown Prince Nayef Al-Saud, Lord Attenborough, Lord Winston, Gore Vidal, Rt Hon Gordon Brown…), to the celebrated (Sharon & Ozzy Osbourne, Geri Halliwell, Charlotte Rampling, Martin Clunes…), and even the notorious (Ronnie and Reggie Kray).
Manuel has long been in demand for litigation and reputation-management work on behalf of corporate clients, both blue-chip commercial (Amazon, Barclays, British Airways, Lloyds of London, Johnson & Johnson, RBS, Sony…) and public/not-for-profit (the Advertising Standards Authority, the Charity Commission, the International Rugby Board, the London Symphony Orchestra…).
Silk of the Year (IT, IP and Media), The Legal 500 Awards 2018
Defamation Silk of the Year, Chambers and Partners Bar Awards 2017
Highly sought-after media silk with expertise covering the full breadth of reputation management, defamation and privacy. He is instructed by major media organisations and broadcasters, as well as blue-chip companies, and is highlighted for his well-honed advocacy style. Manuel is “very assured and commands the court in a quiet but confident manner.” “Thorough and committed in trial preparation. He has an utterly professional style of advocacy.” Chambers and Partners 2019
“Always provides measured, sensible and commercial guidance.” The Legal 500 2018
“Laser-like in focusing on the important points, he is fearless when it comes to pointing out the weaknesses and advantages of any course of action.” “He is an exceptionally persuasive advocate, who is able to present complex arguments clearly.” Chambers and Partners 2018 (Defamation/Privacy)
“An exceptional advocate” The Legal 500 2018 (Defamation and Privacy)
“He gives consistently good advice and is very good with clients.” “He is robust, gutsy and friendly.” Chambers and Partners 2017
“Thorough and committed in trial preparation and utterly professional in his style of advocacy.” The Legal 500 2016
“He is pragmatic and good at fighting the client’s corner. He’s aggressive when he needs to be, and nuanced when a subtle approach is required.” “He is robust, gutsy and user-friendly.” Chambers and Partners 2016
“A top-level advocate with a sure sense for the killer points at trial.” The Legal 500 2015
“Tremendously good at gauging what the court needs.” “His advocacy is very direct but it’s also calibrated towards his audience. He’s good at pitching it at the right level.” “He has an excellent brain and takes an analytical and pragmatic approach to his work.” “A superb advocate who is very approachable and down to earth.” Chambers and Partners 2015
Manuel has quickly settled into his silk’s practice and is a greatly admired lawyer whose principal strength is his superb advocacy. Sources further laud his ability to quickly get to grips with complicated, heavyweight cases. “Robust in his advice, he stays true to his beliefs and his beliefs are always correct.” “One of those barristers you can trust to bring up difficult issues from the outset, so we have everything ready for trial. He’s very approachable, has a very warm manner, and builds relationships with clients.” Chambers and Partners 2014
Manuel Barca QC has forged a fine reputation as “a very good man to turn to in a tight spot,” as he is “an assertive advocate whom you can turn to for clever, measured and sensible advice”. Those that instruct Barca say that “he is always happy to take up the baton, no matter where he is”. “This accessibility combined with the tremendous work ethic he displays makes him a clear client favourite”. Chambers and Partners 2013
Since taking silk in 2011, Manuel Barca QC has developed a strong reputation for his “fantastic advocacy skills” and “robust approach, which makes him particularly good at cross-examination”. The Legal 500 2012/13
“A punchy advocate who is very hard-working and intellectually robust” Chambers and Partners 2012
Manuel Barca “has a nice turn of phrase and a beguiling manner.” Coupled with this, “he can take a tough approach in court as he is determined to get what his clients want”. His practice centres around defamation and reputation management. Barca is fearless in court and will “try his absolute best and never throw in the towel.” Chambers and Partners 2011
Barca “gives people confidence and in libel, someone who inspires confidence is critical”. He “produces papers when promised with spot-on advice.” The Legal 500 2009/10
Khuja (formerly PNM) v Times Newspapers Ltd  UKSC 49;  EWCA Civ 1132;  EWHC 3177 (QB) – Appeared (leading Hannah Ready) on the landmark application for a privacy injunction to prevent the identification by the media of an individual who was arrested (and “de-arrested”) for – but never charged with – sex offences against minors, but who was later tangentially named during the criminal trial of those actually indicted. The case was ultimately heard before a special seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, two members of which dissented from the majority and would have granted the injunction sought.
Lachaux v AOL (UK) Ltd  EWCA Civ 1334;  EWHC 2242 (QB) – Appeared (leading Hannah Ready) for the publishers of the Huffington Post in a seminal preliminary-issue trial involving consideration of the ‘serious harm test’ under section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013; subsequently appeared (with Andrew Caldecott QC and Hannah Ready) in the Court of Appeal, which gave the now leading judgment on the proper construction and scope of section 1(1).
Economou v de Freitas  EWHC 1853 (QB) – Appeal heard April 2018 – Appeared (leading Ian Helme) for the successful defendant in the first defamation trial concerning the new defence of publication on a matter of public interest under section 4 of the Defamation Act 2013. The defendant successfully argued that five of the seven publications were not actionable under section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013, and that all seven publications fell within the scope of the new section 4 defence. (The claimant’s appeal was heard by the Court of Appeal in April 2018.)
Simpson v MGN Ltd  EWCA 772 – Appeared for the claimant (a well-known Premiership footballer) in an appeal which introduced for the first time a hitherto unappreciated distinction between the meaning and the ‘sting’ of a defamatory allegation, with potentially far-reaching ramifications for the law of defamation.
Stocker v Stocker  EWHC 474 (QB) – Appeal heard April 2018 – Appeared for the successful claimant (in a claim brought against his ex-wife) in one of the very first defamation trials arising from postings on Facebook. (The defendant’s appeal was heard by the Court of Appeal in January 2018).
Mahmood v BBC  EWCA Civ 1567;  EWHC 4207 (QB) – Appeared for the BBC, both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal, in successfully seeing off an attempt by the claimant (an undercover reporter notoriously known as the ‘Fake Sheikh’) to obtain a privacy injunction to prevent the broadcast of his physical appearance in an edition of the BBC1 programme Panorama dealing with alleged journalistic wrongdoing.
Miller v Associated Newspapers  EWCA Civ 39;  EWHC 3721 (QB) – Appeared for the claimant, a retired management consultant, in the trial of a libel action (and subsequently on the defendant’s unsuccessful appeal against liability and damages award of £65,000) arising from articles in the Daily Mail ventilating suspicions of improper conduct and cronyism in the award of Metropolitan Police contracts.
Sir Elton John v Times Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 2751 (QB) – Appeared for the defendant in the successful dismissal of a libel claim brought by the well-known singer on the grounds that articles published in The Times were incapable of imputing any defamatory imputation of the claimant’s participation (or suspected participation) in immoral tax-avoidance.
Cases and News
Stocker v Stocker  EWHC 147 (QB) Case date: 29/01/2016 Court: High Court Area/s of law: Defamation Barrister/s: Manuel Barca QC | Caroline Addy Full List of Cases [...]
Uppal v (1) Endemol UK Limited, (2) Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd, (3) Conor McIntyre  EWHC 1063 Case date: 07/04/2014 Court: High Court Area/s of law: Defamation [...]
Publications and Seminars
Citizen Journalism and the Public Interest, One Brick Court Seminar Broken Boundaries: New Frontiers in Media and Information Law, June 2017
Reputation Management in 2014: A Practical Guide (with Jonathan Scherbel-Ball), Seminar at Pinsent Masons, 2014
Contempt of Court: A New Lease of Life? or ‘Contempt has risen from the Grave!’ A Year (or so) in Review, Informa Media Law Conference, 2012
Privacy in the Courts (just over) A Year in Review, Informa Media Law Conference, 2011
MA Hons, Law Tripos, University of Cambridge
Inns of Court School of Law; Lincoln’s Inn Levitt Scholarship, 1986
Admitted to the Caymanian Bar, 2011
Bilingual English/Spanish; fluent French; good working Italian and Portuguese
Name and contact details of the Data Controller
Manuel Barca QC
One Brick Court
London EC4Y 9BY
Tel: 020 7353 9945
Individuals to whom this Privacy Notice applies
1. This notice applies to all those whose personal data I process in the course of my practice as a barrister. It applies to you if (a) you are an individual and I have been instructed to act on your behalf (that is, you are “my client”), (b) you are a person mentioned in my case papers whether because you work for or are otherwise connected with a company, organisation or public body which has instructed me to act on its behalf or because, for example, you are a witness or are referred to in documents with which I have been supplied, (c) you are my instructing solicitor, (d) another lawyer or professional involved in a case in which I am acting, or (e) a member, pupil or employee at One Brick Court. If you are my client, you will have received a copy of this Privacy Notice when I was first instructed on your behalf.
Collection, use and reasons for processing your personal information
2. What information I obtain, and why and how I use that information, varies with the source and type of information:
Personal information where I am acting for you
2.1. If you are my client, I collect and store your personal details, other information that you have provided to me or your solicitor in connection with your case, and information about you contained in documents provided by others involved in the case, such as witnesses and opposing parties. This information may be obtained upon receipt of instructions, receipt of documents sent by your solicitor or other lawyers involved your case, or from you directly.
Personal information of individuals who are not my client
2.2. If you are not my client, you should know that I collect and store the names, employment details and contact details of third parties with whom I deal in the course of my practice, and the personal data of individuals contained in instructions, case papers and communications in cases in which I am instructed. This information may be obtained upon receipt of instructions, upon enquiries being made about my services, through dealings with third parties concerned with my work, from you directly or from enquiries being made by me about you, your work or your services.
2.3. If you are a member of Chambers, a pupil or employee at One Brick Court, I collect, store and use your name, contact details, work done by you (if you are a pupil), and other information about you that may be contained in Chambers internal documents or that you provide to me yourself.
3. The purposes for which I process the above personal data are the provision of legal services, the administration of my practice (including my membership of One Brick Court), legal research, practice development and marketing, training and assessing pupils, training mini-pupils and work experience students, and dealing with any complaints or disputes. The processing of the above personal data is necessary for those legitimate interests. Where I process your personal data for those legitimate interests, I have taken into account your data rights and considered that they do not override my interests in relation to the data I hold and the use I make of those data.
4. I lawfully process some of the above personal data in order to be able to comply with my legal obligations, for example dealings with HMRC.
5. If your personal data reveal your racial or ethnic origin, your political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or your trade union membership, data concerning your health or data concerning your sex life or sexual orientation, or data relating to your criminal convictions and offences or related security measures, I will only process those data where you have given your explicit consent, where the processing relates to personal data which are manifestly made public by you, where the processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, or where the processing is otherwise permitted by law.
6. I will retain your personal data for so long as is necessary for the purposes identified above. This may vary depending on the context in which I acquired the data and the purpose for which I process those data, and, in the event of any sort of dispute for as long as is necessary to resolve it.
Security of your personal information
7. I take appropriate technical and organisational measures to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of personal information.
Sharing your personal data
8. I may disclose your personal data to third parties where it is reasonably necessary to carry out any of the purposes set out above in this Notice.
9. You may at any time:
9.1 Ask for confirmation that I am processing your personal data and request a copy.
9.2 Request the rectification of your personal data or for your data to be completed if data are incomplete.
9.3 Request that I erase your personal data.
9.4 Request that I restrict the extent of my processing of your personal data.
9.5 Request receipt of the personal data you have provided for transmission to another data controller, or request that I provide those data directly to another data controller.
9.6 Object to my processing of your personal data.
10. I will need to verify your identity before I can comply with any request.
11. I may be entitled or obliged to refuse your request or objection. If I do so, I will give you my reasons.
12. You have a right to complain about my processing of your personal data, including how I have responded to any request you’ve made about how I use your personal data, to the Information Commissioner (www.ico.org.uk and/or 0303 123 1113) the Supervisory Authority of any EU Member State.