Nigel Abbas


Nigel joined 5RB in April 2011, after a number of years working as in-house counsel for Channel 4 and later as a sole practitioner barrister.

Nigel acts for both claimants and defendants in relation to all aspects of media law.  He has particular expertise relating to the regulation of the media and has advised and represented clients (both complainants and media companies) in relation to many high-profile regulatory complaints.  He has also acted in and advised in a number of cases involving challenging the decisions of certain media regulators by judicial review.  Clients range from terrestrial broadcasters, publishers and large international production companies with in-house legal departments, to small start-up companies and individuals.

Nigel is also one of the most experienced, sought-after television content lawyers in the country and he is the primary author of Channel 4’s and Channel 5’s “Independent Producer Handbook”, a comprehensive practical guide to best practice, regulation and the law as they apply to the making and broadcasting of both broadcasters’ programmes.  Equal in scale and ambition to the “BBC Guidelines”, it is now the benchmark for best practice training and procedures in the UK independent television sector. The Handbook was published in 2008 and is made available in hard copy and online at

Nigel has worked as a ‘night lawyer’ for various newspapers including for: The Independent; Associated Newspapers; and Guardian Media Group.

Some recent cases include
Small v Turner (defamation)

R on application of UK2Numbers Limited v Sir Hayden Phillips, Independent Reviewer of ASA Adjudications and The Advertising Standards Authority (Judicial Review)



1995 Called to the bar


King's College London, Mathematics & Philosophy BA Hons - 1987-1990
London Guildhall University, CPE - 1992-1993
Inns of Court School of Law, Bar Vocational Course - 1993-1994

Areas of work

  • Contempt
  • Copyright
  • Defamation
  • Entertainment Law
  • General Common Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Malicious Falsehood
  • Media Law
  • Passing off
  • Pre-publication Advice
  • Privacy and Confidence
  • Publishing
  • Reporting the Courts


“Nigel’s commitment and diligence are beyond question.  His attention to detail and excellent drafting skills ensure he is a ‘safe pair of hands’ when dealing with high-profile programmes and complaints.  His client care skills are also outstanding.  He is always attentive and a pleasure to deal with”.  Prash Naik, Channel 4, Controller, Legal & Compliance

“Nigel combines an understanding of the client perspective with independent legal advice.  This makes him very ‘user-friendly’.  He has great skill in understanding not only the key areas of concern for the client but for foreseeing legal problems ahead”.  Susan Aslan, Aslan Charles Kousetta LLP

“I trust his judgment completely”, Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs, Channel 4

“With his considerable knowledge and expertise, Nigel really brings something extra when dealing with thorny legal and compliance problems”.  John Battle, Head of Compliance, ITN

“Nigel is imaginative, creative, utterly reliable, legally rigorous and terrific fun”.  Richard McKerrow, Creative Director, Love Productions.


Administrative Law

R (UK2 Telecom Limited) v Sir Hayden Phillips, Independent Reviewer of ASA Adjudications


Media Law

Traveller Movement v Ofcom & Channel 4

[2015] EWHC 406 (Admin) 20/02/2015

R (UK2 Telecom Limited) v Sir Hayden Phillips, Independent Reviewer of ASA Adjudications


Public Law

R (UK2 Telecom Limited) v Sir Hayden Phillips, Independent Reviewer of ASA Adjudications



Blackstone's Guide to the Defamation Act 2013

Oxford University Press

By Nigel Abbas. 19 Sep 2013


22 Jan 2016

New edition of The Law of Privacy and the Media published

Read an extract on Privacy, the Internet and Social Media

19 Sep 2013

Blackstone’s Guide to the Defamation Act 2013 published

Guide to the new Act out now

10 Sep 2012

ASA reviewer to pay judicial review costs

Protocol response 'inadequate' and concession late

7 Apr 2011

Nigel Abbas joins 5RB

Chambers welcomes former sole practitioner as new member