Gervase joined 5RB in October 2013 following the completion of his pupillage in Chambers. He converted to the law after working as a national newspaper journalist. He is listed as a leading junior in both Chambers and Partners (“proactive and solution focused”) and as a ranked junior in the Legal 500 (“a real rising star”). He has a diverse practice advising and acting for claimants and defendants in relation to the full range of media law disputes, including those involving defamation, privacy, data protection, harassment, contempt, third party disclosure, and court reporting.
Gervase has significant advocacy experience relative to his year of call, and regularly appears as sole counsel in the High Court, including at trial, on appeal, and in multi-day applications, often doing so against silks or senior juniors. He is frequently instructed in relation to claims for injunctive relief to restrict speech, and has obtained and resisted numerous urgent interim injunctions, in cases involving harassment, blackmail, and attacks on the reputation and privacy of both individuals and companies. He has acted in several claims for injunctions and disclosure orders in relation to online content which have involved difficult jurisdictional issues. His court reporting work has seen him appear, often at short notice, in some of the most high profile cases to take place in the Crown Court and in all divisions of the High Court in recent years, and has taken him to a very wide variety of courts and tribunals, from the Magistrates’ Court to the Court of Appeal.
Gervase is also comfortable working as part of a team with solicitors and other counsel. As well as regularly being led by senior members of 5RB, Gervase has recently provided specialist media law input into commercial, intellectual property and employment disputes.
Recent highlights of Gervase’s work include:
Defamation and malicious falsehood
Spicer v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 1439 (QB) – acting for the defendant Police Commissioner, both on the trial of meaning as a preliminary issue and in ongoing proceedings.
Al-Ko Kober Ltd v Sambhi  EWHC 2409 (QB) – acted for the corporate and personal claimants, and obtained summary judgment against the defendant on their claims for defamation, malicious falsehood and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 s.10. The application followed the obtaining of an interim injunction ( EWHC 2474 (QB)) and a series of committal applications which ultimately saw the defendant imprisoned for four months ( EWHC 3523 (QB)).
B & G Amsterdam BV v Barber of Sheffield Ltd (2019, unrep.) – acted for the Netherlands-based claimant company and its owner in a successful claim for defamation and malicious falsehood against an English competitor.
Reay v Beamont  EWHC 2172 (QB) – acted for the claimant husband in a defamation and privacy claim against his ex-wife, a comedian, who had included material about him in her show.
Economou v de Freitas  EWCA Civ 2591;  E.M.L.R. 7 – acted on appeal in the CA (led by Desmond Browne QC and Jonathan Barnes), at trial ( EWHC 1853 (QB)) and on an interlocutory application ( EWHC 1218 (QB)) (both led by Jonathan Barnes) in a key case on s4 of the Defamation Act 2013.
CWD v MXN  EWHC 1289 (QB) – acting for the claimant in an ongoing claim for harassment, defamation and misuse of private information in relation to the defendants’ dissemination online of information relating to alleged sexual misconduct by the claimant.
BVC v EWF  EWHC 2506 (QB) – acted for the claimant, obtaining summary judgment on part of the claim against the defendant, the claimant’s former partner, having obtained and continued an interim injunction in harassment and misuse of private information, and having successfully resisted a challenge to jurisdiction and service ( EWHC 2674 (QB)  I.L.Pr. 7).
Gervase acted throughout 2019 and 2020 for one of the country’s largest trade unions and its senior leadership team in a harassment and data protection claim against a former branch officer.
GYH v Persons Unknown  EWHC 121 (QB) – obtained summary judgment for the Claimant in her claim relating to a campaign of harassment published online, having previously obtained an interim injunction in the same proceedings ( EWHC 3360 (QB)).
JQL v NTP  EWHC 1349 (QB) – acted at trial for the claimant in her claim for misuse of private information over a post published on Facebook by her uncle, as part of an acrimonious family dispute. The Claimant was awarded £15,000 in general and aggravated damages and an injunction.
Maxine Fothergill v Malcolm Knight (unrep.) – acted during 2019 and 2020 for the claimant in an unusual claim for misuse of private information arising from the publication of documents derived from criminal proceedings. The claim was resolved by the payment of substantial damages, the provision of undertakings, and the reading of a statement in open court.
Court Reporting/Production orders
R (on the application of TT) v Registrar General for England and Wales  EWHC 1823 (Fam);  1 F.C.R. 114 – acted for two media groups on a successful application before the President of the Family Division to identify the claimant, a transgender father who had given birth to a child, and was seeking to be registered as the father.
NCA v Renegade Pictures UK Ltd (Jay J, 12 February 2019, unreported) – acted for the media defendants which successfully resisted an application for a production order by the applicant crime agency.
RJ v Tigipko  EWHC 105 (Fam) – acted for the interested party media groups on an application for publicity by the father of two children, relating to the refusal of their mother and her father to comply with a Court order for the return of the children to this country, and on a subsequent application in relation to the redaction of the judgment ( EWHC 448 (Fam)).
R v Carl Beech – acted for the media at a series of hearings in 2018 and 2019 relating to reporting restrictions applying to the Crown Court trial of the man formerly known as “Nick”, who was convicted for perverting the course of justice in relation to the so-called “Westminster paedophile ring”.
Other work and experience
Gervase has provided pre-publication advice to all of the major newspapers, broadcasters, and publishers. He writes about and has taught media law, has written extensively for the Inforrm media law blog, and has contributed to Tugendhat & Christie on The Law of Privacy and the Media (chapters on Copyright, and on the Internet and Social Media), and McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists.
Gervase regularly acts and advises on a pro bono basis for publishers, campaigning groups and NGOs. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Liberty Investigates, an editorially independent journalism unit which is part of the civil liberties organisation Liberty.
Before retraining as a barrister, Gervase worked as a writer and editor. His experience during this time included four years as a staff journalist on the Arts Desk at The Daily Telegraph. While at the Telegraph, he wrote reviews, features and opinion pieces for the newspaper, was responsible for the Culture section of the paper’s website, and worked regularly in the news room. He has also been a freelance writer and contributing editor on music and the arts for newspapers and magazines nationally and internationally.
French, Italian (reading)
Scholarships and Awards
Douglas Jerrold Scholarship (Christ Church)
Lord Bowen Scholarship
Hardwicke Entrance Award
Lord Denning Scholarship