Jonathan Scherbel-Ball

Jonathan Scherbel-Ball

Jonathan is recognised as a leading junior practising in all aspects of media, communications and information law. He is a member of the Attorney General’s ‘B’ Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown. Jonathan is also called to the Bar of Northern Ireland.

Jonathan regularly acts for both claimants and defendants. His regular clients include the BBC, Times Newspapers, The Sun and Google. As part of the Attorney General’s Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown, Jonathan advises many government departments and public authorities, including the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice, the NCA and CAFCASS.

Recent cases of interest include:

  • appearing for the BBC as Junior Counsel in R (Finch) v Surrey County Council [2021] EWHC 170 (QB), a contempt application arising out of a live-streamed remote hearing.
  • acting as Junior Counsel for the Defendant in Burleigh v Telegraph Media Group Ltd [2020] EWHC 2359 (QB), a trial on meaning of an apology to the US First Lady.
  • appearing for CAFCASS in a case about the interaction of data protection law with adoption rules – M v CAFCASS (2019, unreported).
  • representing The Times in Allen v Times Newspapers Ltd [2019] EWHC 1235 (QB), a case concerning a reporting following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
  • acting as Junior Counsel for the BBC in the ‘Paradise Papers’ data leak litigation [2018] EMLR 14.
  • representing the NCA as Junior Counsel in Cooper v National Crime Agency [2019] EWCA Civ 16, a case concerning data protection in the context of employment.
  • appearing for Google as Junior Counsel in the first right to be forgotten case to be determined substantively by a UK court in Townsend v Google Inc [2017] NIQB 81.


Defamation and Privacy

Burleigh v Telegraph Media Group Ltd [2020] EWHC 2359 (QB)

Allen v Times Newspapers Ltd [2019] EWHC 1235 (QB)

Al-Haddad v BBC (unreported, 2017-2018)

KRW Law LLP and others v News Group Newspapers (2017-2018) unreported

Declan Arthurs v News Group Newspapers [2017] NICA 70

Townsend v Google Inc [2017] NIQB 81

Cushnahan v BBC and anr [2017] NIQB 30.

KL & NN v Sunday Newspapers Ltd [2015] NIQB 88

Scappaticci v BBC (unreported 2015)

Slocombe v Ricochet Ltd and Channel 5 (unreported 2015)

Loughran v Century Newspapers [2014] NICA 26

Way v Northcliffe Media Ltd (unreported, 2012)

Neil Morrissey v Associated Newspapers Ltd (unreported, 2011)

Taranissi v BBC [2008] EWHC 2486 (QB)

Haddock v MGN and others [2008] NICh 14

Data Protection and Information Law

ABC v Google LLC [2019] EWHC 3020 (QB)

M v CAFCASS (2019, unreported)

Ministry of Defence v Information Commissioner [2019] UKFTT 2018/0147

Cooper v National Crime Agency [2019] EWCA Civ 16

Adedeji v Information Commissioner and Department of Health [2018] UKFTT 2017/0110

Cooper v National Crime Agency (2017, unreported)

Hazelwood v ICO & Cabinet Office [2017] UKFTT 2016/0204

Galloway v Frazer, Google Inc and others [2016] NIQB 7

Singh Khosa v Secretary of State for Justice (2016, unreported)

Hegglin v Persons Unknown and Google Inc [2014] EWHC 3793 (QB); [2015] 1 Costs L.O. 65

Miller v ICO and BBC [2014] UKFTT 2013/0253

Newbery v Information Commissioner and BBC [2012] UKFTT 2009/0118

Montford v Information Commissioner and BBC [2012] UKFTT 2009/0114

Reporting Restrictions and Reporting the Courts

Jonathan has appeared on behalf of the media at many high profile criminal trials seeking to challenge or vary reporting restrictions. These include R v Hill (2019, the Shoreham air disaster), R v Pryce (allegations of perverting the course of justice), and R v Hayes (LIBOR-rigging allegations).

In addition he has appeared in the following cases on reporting restrictions

Ahmed v BBC (2019) unreported

Hunt v Hunt [2012] All ER (D) 217 (Oct)

R v Premier News Ltd and anr (2012, unreported)

Publications and Seminars

Contributor to Arlidge, Eady and Smith on Contempt, 5th Edition, 2017.

Criminality and Privacy: Uneasy Bedfellows, New Frontiers in Media and Information Law, June 2007.

Media Access to Court Documents: Transparency in the Family Court, Family Law Bar Association Annual Conference, 2014.

Perception and Reality: Publicity Developments in the Family Courts, Family Law Bar Association, December 2013.

Contributing Editor of Survey of English Libel Law, Media Law Resource Center, 2011-2015.

Contributing researcher on comparative defamation analysis for Article 19, the Global Campaign for Free Expression, 2006-07.

The Business of Keeping Secrets, Commercial Litigation Journal, 2007.



2010 Called to the Bar of England and Wales
2013 Called to the Bar of Northern Ireland


University of Oxford (Lincoln College) MA (Hons) Modern History and Politics - 2000-2003
Postgraduate Diploma in Law (Oxford Brookes) - 2004
Legal Practice Course, Oxford Institute of Legal Practice - 2005
University of Cambridge (Fitzwilliam College) MPhil Modern European History - 2010

Areas of work

Defamation and Malicious Falsehood
Data Protection and Information Law
Privacy and Confidence
Reporting the Courts and Contempt
Pre-publication Advice
Human Rights
Injunctive Relief
Media regulation


Chambers and Partners 2020 Defamation/Privacy say that Jonathan is “Unbelievably intelligent, incredibly devoted to his work and has very good judgement. A pleasure to work with.”

Chambers and Partners 2020 Data Protection say that Jonathan is “Passionate and absolutely dedicated: he’ll work tirelessly until the job is done.” “Very hard-working and very energetic, he always brings something new.”

Chambers and Partners 2019 say that Jonathan “has an excellent knowledge of all aspects of defamation, data protection and privacy law.” Defamation/Privacy)

He always goes the extra mile, and is all over the case like a dog with a bone. Nothing is ever a problem for him, and he tackles issues head-on.” (Data Protection)

Legal 500, 2018 describe Jonathan as “Absolutely meticulous in his analysis and work.”

Chambers and Partners 2018 quote Jonathan’s referees as saying that “He’s extremely responsive and able to add value in a short span of time”. “A truffle hound for data protection issues, he produces excellent work product and is very hard-working.” (Data Protection)

“He is extremely user-friendly, very sharp, and always up to speed on the most recent case law.”  (Defamation/Privacy)

Legal 500, 2017  says that Jonathan is “deeply knowledgeable, perceptive, productive and responsive.”

Chambers and Partners 2017 describe Jonathan as “genuinely engaged, committed and hugely diligent. The energy that he brings to a case is absolutely phenomenal. A great team player, his ability to come up with pretty much every available legal argument for assessment is incredibly impressive.”  (Data Protection)

He has a genuinely encyclopaedic knowledge of this area of law.” “He’s fantastic – incredibly responsive, really sharp and not afraid to give a frank view, which is refreshing.”  (Defamation/Privacy)


French (reasonable)

All cases

Defamation and Malicious Falsehood

Hussein & Ors v Hamilton Franks & Co Ltd & Anr

(2013) 17/01/2013

Tilbrook v Parr

[2012] EWHC 1946 (QB) 13/07/2012

Tilbrook v Parr

[2012] EWHC 1946 (QB) 13/07/2012

King v Grundon

[2012] All ER (D) 96 (May) 11/05/2012

R (On the application of Taranissi) v HFEA

[2009] EWHC 130 (Admin) 14/01/2009

Privacy and Confidence

Appleby Global Group LLC v (1) British Broadcasting Corporation and (2) Guardian News and Media Limited

[2018] EWHC 104 (Ch) 16/01/2018

Injunctive Relief

Hussein & Ors v Hamilton Franks & Co Ltd & Anr

(2013) 17/01/2013

Data Protection and Information Law

Townsend v Google Inc. and Google UK Limited

[2017] NIQB 81 07/09/2017

McIntosh -v- (1) Information Commissioner (2) BBC

EA/2014/0033 23/10/2014

Montford v Information Commissioner and BBC

(EA/2009/0114) 14/08/2012


Arlidge, Eady & Smith on Contempt

Sweet & Maxwell
By Jonathan Scherbel-Ball. 1 Dec 2005

In 5RB News

2 Sep 2020

Melania Trump apology not defamatory of author

Apology did not mean author of original article was culpable, Nicklin J rules