Data protection in London Bar
11KBW is ‘packed with the best and brightest’ and is ‘home to some of the first-choice barristers in data protection’. Chambers is regularly involved in high-profile data protection work with expertise across all aspects of information law. Timothy Pitt-Payne QC is representing Taylor Wessing in a case relating to the subject access regime and whether requests can be refused when made for collateral purposes. Meanwhile, ‘top-of-the-list barrister’ Anya Proops QC and ‘genuine expert’ Robin Hopkins are acting for Facebook in Facebook v Information Commissioner, an appeal to the fine it received, the largest under the Data Protection Act 1998, following the Information Commissioner’s Office's (ICO's) investigation into the activities of Cambridge Analytica; Pitt-Payne is acting for the ICO. Karen Steyn QC has been appointed a High Court judge in the Queen’s Bench Division effective 1 October 2019.
As ‘a first-class set’ for media, defamation and privacy work, 5RB utilises this strength across data protection instructions to advise on issues that bridge the two areas. Justin Rushbrooke QC recently acted for Sir Cliff Richard in Sir Cliff Richard v BBC and South Yorkshire Police, a high-profile privacy and Data Protection Act 1998 claim brought following the coverage of a 2014 police raid at the claimant’s home. ‘Excellent communicator’ Andrew Caldecott QC is lead counsel for the defendant construction companies in equally high-profile litigation relating to the alleged blacklisting of construction workers, while Aidan Eardley has notable experience acting for and against media organisations. The set has been strengthened of late, gained seven practitioners, including Caldecott and Eardley, following the closure of One Brick Court.
Matrix Chambers ‘has it all’ and is ‘incredibly strong in defamation, privacy and data protection law’ and ‘an increasing force in the new media law landscape’ thanks to ‘a group, which has the brains, energy, flexibility and quality’. Recent highlights include Antony White QC and Hugh Tomlinson QC acting for the defendants and claimants respectively in the milestone NT1 and NT2 v Google case, the first right to be forgotten claim tried in the UK; and White defending Associated Newspapers in Stunt v Associated Newspapers Ltd, a case concerning the compatibility of the pre-publication stay provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 with EU law. Catrin Evans QC and Ian Helme joined from One Brick Court creating further strength in depth for the set.
39 Essex Chambers stands out for its Freedom of Information Act knowledge through the expertise of Eleanor Grey QC and new silk Rory Dunlop QC. Both regularly act for public sector bodies and governmental departments; Dunlop recently acted for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Maurizi v ICO & CPS, an appeal relating to the agency's refusal to disclose certain emails between itself and the Swedish Prosecution Authority regarding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Blackstone Chambers’ data protection capacity builds on its commercial, public law, and regulatory expertise with key practitioners including Thomas de la Mare QC, James Eadie QC, and Kate Gallafent QC. De la Mare was part of the team which represented the claimants in Privacy International and others v GCHQ, which related to the mass collection of bulk personal datasets and bulk communications data, and Eadie defended in R (Good Law Project and Molly Scott Cato MEP) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and Her Majesty’s Treasury, a case challenging the government’s refusal to release Brexit impact analysis documents.
Monckton Chambers' members count the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), government departments, NGOs, and corporates as clients, which they assist with GDPR issues, Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) litigation, Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests, and investigations. Gerry Facenna QC is particularly noted for his DPA and FOI work; he recently acted for the ICO in Stunt v Association of Newspapers in the Court of Appeal, which has been referred to the European Court of Justice, relating to journalistic and artistic exemptions from the DPA. Laura Elizabeth John also regularly acts for the Information Commissioner; she recently advised on an infringement decision issued against Uber for breaching its data protection obligations and the related fine following a cyber attack on Uber's US data storage in 2016.