Felicity McMahon


Felicity joined 5RB in October 2012 following successful completion of her pupillage in Chambers. As a media law barrister she has experience of all aspects of Chambers’ practice, both Claimant and Defendant work, including: defamation, privacy and confidence, copyright, data protection, 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 appeared in both the High Court and the County Court.

Felicity is co-editor, with James Price QC, of Blackstone’s Guide to the Defamation Act 2013 (OUP, September 2013),  a contributor to the forthcoming third edition of Tugendhat & Christie on The Law of Privacy and the Media and joint editor (with Adam Speker) of the defamation chapter in the forthcoming edition of Clerk and Lindsell on Torts.

She has given a series of talks on the new Defamation Act, at 5RB talks, in-house for clients and at the American Bar Association’s recent London conference.

Recent work includes:

  • 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;
  • Providing advice to Channel 5 on Big Brother 2013;
  • Appearing before the High Court in Case Management Conferences and assessment of damages hearings in defamation actions, most recently obtaining an award of £25,000 for a claimant client;
  • Acting for a national newspaper in a copyright case relating to use of a photograph;
  • Undertaking work for the Department of Health under the Treasury Solicitor’s ‘Baby Barristers’scheme;
  • Assisting Adam Speker in representing the Telegraph Media Group at the Leveson Inquiry.

Felicity regularly provides pre-publication advice to The Times, The Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph, book publishers such as Harper Collins 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.

As a pupil, Felicity assisted in a number of trials including Miller v Associated Newspapers (defamation), Trimingham v Associated Newspapers (privacy and harassment), Cooper v Evening Standard Ltd (defamation jury trial) and Qadir v Associated Newspapers (defamation – privilege).

Before pupillage 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.

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


Contributor to The Law of Privacy and the Media, Tugendhat and Christie, 3rd Edition, OUP (forthcoming, 2014)

Blackstone’s Guide to the Defamation Act 2013, Edited by James Price QC & Felicity McMahon, OUP (September 2013)

Practical Legal Guidance in the Use of Social Media Marketing, Vocus (September 2013)

“Draft Royal Charter raises concerns of ministerial interference - Is a Royal Charter the appropriate vehicle for press regulation? Felicity McMahon, explores the extent to which the government’s proposals live up to Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations.” LexisNexis (19 February 2013)

“An English Rose, not Japanese Knotweed: Human Rights Law in England” – Critical Legal Studies Conference, Stockholm, (September 2012)



2008 Called to the bar


Bar Vocational Course, BPP Law School, Very Competent
LLM Law University of London (Kings College London), Distinction
Diploma in Spanish Law, University of Deusto, Bilbao
LLB 1st Class Hons English and Spanish Law, University of Kent
Palmer's College, Essex

Areas of work

  • Defamation
  • Privacy and Confidence
  • Sports Law
  • Data Protection
  • Pre-publication Advice
  • Contempt
  • Copyright
  • Entertainment Law
  • General Common Law
  • Harassment
  • Human Rights
  • Injunctive Relief
  • Media Law
  • Public Law
  • Publishing


Spanish - Advanced written and spoken; French - Working knowledge


Bar Pro Bono Unit
British Association for Sport and Law


Blackstone's Guide to the Defamation Act 2013

By Felicity McMahon. 19 Sep 2013


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

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