Felicity McMahon

Profile

Felicity acts and advises all aspects of Chambers’ practice, both Claimant and Defendant work, including: defamation, privacy and confidence, data protection, copyright, access to journalistic material, contempt, harassment, injunctive relief and sports law. Her work often includes consideration of the balance between Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

She has particular experience of advising on data protection issues including: advising organisations on their obligations in relation to the data they hold and how and when they are permitted to use that data including for marketing purposes, advising individuals on how they can seek access to data held about them and how to seek its removal or rectification, and the emerging so-called “right to be forgotten”. Felicity advises on these issues both in relation to the current law and in terms of preparing for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Felicity also takes a keen interest in issues relating to online publication, social media and user-generated content.

Recent Work

Felicity’s recent work includes:

  • Advising a company on its data protection policies, processes and obligations, both currently and looking ahead to the GDPR;
  • Acting for Associated Newspapers in relation to reporting restrictions in a family law case;
  • Acting for a company defending a claim in defamation;
  • Acting for Wafic Saïd in a data protection claim against Barclays Bank;
  • Acting for a number of media organisations seeking to lift a reporting restriction on naming a teenager convicted of a terrorism offence;
  • Obtaining an interim harassment injunction for claimant companies seeking to protect their employees;
  • Taking part in a large scale disclosure exercise for a client in relation to defamation litigation;
  • Acting for a company defending a claim for breach of the Data Protection Act;
  • A secondment as Data Protection and Commercial Lawyer at Channel 4, advising on data protection across the organisations activities, as well as negotiating, drafting and advising on commercial contracts;
  • Acting on a successful application for Norwich Pharmacal relief;
  • Building Register Ltd v Weston & Ors, junior counsel for the claimant in this libel action (led by Justin Rushbrooke QC);
  • Appearing before the High Court in Case Management Conferences and assessment of damages hearings in defamation actions, notably obtaining an award of £25,000 for a claimant client;
  • Providing advice to Channel 5 on Big Brother;
  • Advising clients on their right and obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998, including how to make or respond to subject access requests;
  • Dar Al Arkan & Anor v Al Refai & Ors, a US$500m claim in the Commercial Court for libel, malicious falsehood, breach of confidence, conspiracy and various foreign law claims;
  • Acting for a national newspaper in a copyright case relating to the use of a photograph;

Felicity regularly provides pre-publication advice to The Times and The Sunday Times, book publishersspecialist scientific and medical publications and NGOs. She has spent time working with the in-house legal team of The Times and The Sunday Times, and the legal and compliance team at Channel 4. Felicity has also provided on-set advice in relation to a feature film.

Publications/speaking

Felicity is co-editor of Blackstone’s Guide to the Defamation Act 2013 (with James Price QC),  joint editor (with Adam Speker) of the defamation chapter in the 21st edition of Clerk and Lindsell on Torts  and a contributor to the third edition of Tugendhat & Christie on The Law of Privacy and the Media. She has given a series of talks on topics including the Defamation Act 2013 and social media and the law, at 5RB talks, Middle Temple, in-house for clients and for the American Bar Association.

Before 5RB

Before joining Chambers Felicity spent two years in the Legal Policy team at the Ministry of Justice,where she provided advice to Ministers on a number of areas of law and policy including: injunctions against the press, privacy, criminal offences, human rights, Parliamentary privilege and judicial review. Felicity coordinated the Ministry of Justice response to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Report on Press Standards, Privacy and Libel. She also managed the public engagement project Your Freedom on behalf of the Department. Felicity has also been a Research Assistant in the Law Commission’s Public Law Team, and a Legal Intern in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Pro Bono

Felicity is a Bar Pro Bono Unit representative. She also acts as a mentor to students from both King’s College London and the University of Kent, and is a member of the Kent Law Campaign’s Young Alumni Group.

Scholarships etc

– Queen Mother Scholar, Middle Temple Inn

– ERASMUS Scholarship

– John Kisch Prize for Outstanding Performance, University of Kent

Career

Called

2008 Called to the bar

Education

Bar Vocational Course, BPP Law School, Very Competent - 2007-2008
LLM Law University of London (Kings College London), Distinction - 2005-2006
Diploma in Spanish Law, University of Deusto, Bilbao - 2003-2004
LLB 1st Class Hons English and Spanish Law, University of Kent - 2001-2005

Areas of work

  • Defamation
  • Privacy and Confidence
  • Data Protection
  • Pre-publication Advice
  • Harassment
  • Reporting the Courts
  • Copyright
  • Broadcasting Codes
  • Injunctive Relief
  • Contempt
  • Freedom of Information
  • Human Rights
  • Sports Law
  • Media Law
  • Public Law
  • Publishing

Languages

Spanish - Advanced written and spoken; French - Working knowledge

Memberships

Bar Pro Bono Unit
British Association for Sport and Law
British Institute of International and Comparative Law

Featured Cases

Building Register Ltd v Weston

[2014] EWHC 2361 (QB) 23/07/2014

Cases

Defamation

Building Register Ltd v Weston

[2014] EWHC 2361 (QB) 23/07/2014

Articles

Protecting Public Officials and Corporates - Q&A

By Felicity McMahon. 7 Jul 2016

Privacy, the Internet and Social Media - Abridged Extract

By Felicity McMahon. 22 Jan 2016

The Supreme Court decision in OPO v MLA

By Felicity McMahon. 29 Oct 2015

When are website operators liable for user comments? - Delfi AS v Estonia

By Felicity McMahon. 14 Jul 2015

Data Protection – Key Issues 2015

By Felicity McMahon. 28 Jan 2015

A Libel Revolution?

By Felicity McMahon. 14 Oct 2014

The shrinking scope for anonymity in the Court of Protection

By Felicity McMahon. 9 Jul 2014

Free Speech Online

By Felicity McMahon. 4 Jun 2014

Publications

The Law of Privacy and the Media 3rd Edition

OUP

By Felicity McMahon. 22 Jan 2016

Clerk & Lindsell on Torts, 21st edition

Sweet & Maxwell

By Felicity McMahon. 4 Nov 2014

Blackstone's Guide to the Defamation Act 2013

Oxford University Press

By Felicity McMahon. 19 Sep 2013

News

25 May 2017

5RB at the London Legal Walk 2017

Over £2,500 raised for LLST, FRU and the Bar Pro Bono Unit

9 Jun 2016

Wafic Saïd settles Data Protection Act claim against Barclays

Bank apologises in joint public statement

19 May 2016

5RB at the London Legal Walk 2016

£2,157.19 raised for LLSU, FRU and the Bar Pro Bono Unit

11 Apr 2016

5RB at the Big Voice London Moots

Adam Speker and Felicity McMahon act as judges

22 Jan 2016

New edition of The Law of Privacy and the Media published

Read an extract on Privacy, the Internet and Social Media

7 Oct 2015

15 year old convicted of terror offence cannot be named

Court continues reporting restriction

13 Mar 2015

5RB at the Big Voice London Moots

Godwin Busuttil and Felicity McMahon act as judges

17 Feb 2015

5RB Talks 2015: Bristol

5RB's Jacob Dean, Felicity McMahon and Julian Santos spoke at the Bristol office of Osborne Clarke

6 Nov 2014

21st Edition of Clerk & Lindsell on Torts out now

New edition includes Defamation chapter edited by Adam Speker and Felicity McMahon

20 May 2014

5RB at the London Legal Walk

Chambers team raised £2341.25

20 Nov 2013

Defamation Act 2013 to come into force on 1 January 2014

Lord McNally confirms Act will come into force in New Year

20 Sep 2013

Social media marketing: new legal guide

5RB barristers contribute to Vocus 'Whitepaper'

19 Sep 2013

Blackstone’s Guide to the Defamation Act 2013 published

Guide to the new Act out now

31 Oct 2012

5RB Sponsors National Pro Bono Centre

Chambers continues support for Pro Bono work as Bronze Sponsor

6 Jul 2012

5RB: arrivals and departure

Tenancy moves and new recruitment



Felicity McMahon's social media links