5RB tops Chambers & Partners 2016

5RB leads Defamation/Privacy rankings

Band 1 | 5RB

THE SET 5RB has long been acknowledged as a leader in defamation, privacy and associated fields. Commentators note the set’s “great strength and depth” and praise it for its skill in a wide range of media specialisations. It is a favourite of many instructing solicitors, with one drawn to comment that “the set is impressive and stands out from other chambers because of both its aggregate quality and its collegiate style. Members clearly work closely together, bouncing ideas off one another and sharing their extensive experience.”

Client service: “The clerks are extremely helpful and friendly, and always nice to deal with. They are also very acutely aware of commercial issues which helps.” The “fantastic” clerking team is led by Kim Janes.


Desmond Browne QC
Phenomenal reputation as a leading media silk, having appeared in many of the leading cases over the last 30 years. He is joint head of chambers and a former chairman of the Bar.
Strengths: “He’s a big hitter with charm and wit.” “He’s very well respected, very experienced and you know he’s always going to approach things properly.” “He’s tenacious, good with clients and has a terrific grasp of all aspects of defamation and privacy law.”

Adrienne Page QC
Market-leading silk for defamation, malicious falsehood and privacy. She draws praise from instructing solicitors for her client-handling skills and approachability.
Strengths: “She is incredibly impressive and an absolute leader in her field.” “She continues to be at the top of her game. Her intellectual and commercial abilities make her one of the go-to silks for defamation.”
Recent work: Represented Channel 4 in a judicial review brought by the Traveller Movement in respect of Ofcom’s decision to dismiss a complaint about the Channel 4 series ‘Big Fat Gypsy Weddings’. The High Court dismissed the application.

James Price QC
Highly regarded silk for defamation work. He has been involved in some of the practice area’s leading cases, including Reynolds v Times Newspapers and Mosley v News Group Newspapers.
Strengths: “He is an outstanding cross-examiner, particularly on a substantial, document-heavy case.” “He is hugely energetic, industrious, client-friendly and has a meticulous attention to detail.”

Matthew Nicklin QC
Acts for both claimants and defendants in complex privacy matters. He has been particularly active in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court this year, appearing in several high-profile matters.
Strengths: “He is excellent on high-profile cases with a political dimension.” “He is a real fighter, passionate with an incredible brain.”

Justin Rushbrooke QC
Specialist silk who is recognised for his considerable expertise in actions both for and against major newspaper groups.
Strengths: “He is an intellectually gifted strategist and advocate.” “He is a great all-rounder and commercial thinker.” “He is highly intelligent, witty and always provides first-class advice.”
Recent work: Represented JK Rowling in the High Court and Court of Appeal in an action against Associated Newspapers. He successfully argued that the High Court judgment in relation to a unilateral statement in open court, ordered as part of a libel settlement, should be upheld.


David Sherborne
One of the leading figures at the Bar for privacy and defamation, he is also noted for his extensive reputation management practice.
Strengths: “He is the doyen of the Libel Bar.” “He is a real star – at the top of his game, and omnipresent for privacy work.” “The personal touch he brings to cases as well as his knowledge make him stand out from others in his field. Although he is in very high demand he makes each client feel special.”

William Bennett
Noted expert in defamation, breach of confidence and privacy. He has extensive trial experience and has appeared in the Court of Appeal and High Court this year.
Strengths: “He’s prepared to be forthright and he’s generally right; he has good judgement.” “He’s diligent, thoughtful and calm under pressure.”
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in Flood v Times Newspapers, a key libel case. He successfully had the costs order upheld by the Court of Appeal following the original favourable judgment in the Supreme Court.

Jacob Dean
Media specialist with experience across the full range of defamation and privacy issues. He is frequently instructed to appear in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court in some of the practice areas’s most high-profile cases.
Strengths: “He is very impressive on data protection law – he is a sought-after advocate.” “He has a real ability to get to the heart of cases, he’s an invaluable junior.” “He is sensible, friendly, very effective and puts his case very well.”

Alexandra Marzec
Formidable reputation as a leading libel barrister. She has played a key role in the phone hacking litigation, having represented several of the defendants on a range of issues arising within these lengthy proceedings.
Strengths: “She is approachable and tenacious.” “She is a strong advocate who is a thoughtful and excellent team member.” “She is very much top-drawer.”

Adam Speker
Highly regarded media law specialist with an enviable record in the most high-profile disputes in the area. He is particularly noted for his expertise on cases concerning the Human Rights Act and the interplay between Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention. His practice has an extensive overseas element and he has been instructed in claims in Barbados, the Bahamas and Malaysia.
Strengths: “He is straight-talking, accessible and a safe pair of hands.” “He’s incredibly user-friendly, hard-working and a delight to work with. He has a forensic knowledge of the facts.” “He is phenomenally bright and really at the top of his game.”
Recent work: Appeared for the respondent in James Rhodes v OPO in the Supreme Court. The case concerned the granting of an interim injunction on the grounds that the publication of a book might cause the author’s son psychiatric harm.

Adam Wolanski
Extremely well-respected junior who is regularly instructed on high-profile media cases. He is the co-author of some of the leading commentary in this area.
Strengths: “He is a real expert in contempt cases. He is excellent in oral argument and always a pleasure to deal with.” “He is an excellent junior who provides first-class advice.” “He is a true defamation specialist.”
Recent work: Appeared as a led junior in the High Court, representing News Group Newspapers as defendants in an action brought by Andrew Mitchell MP. This case attracted a great deal of national media attention.

Jonathan Barnes
Media law specialist with a focus on data protection and freedom of information cases. He advises on high-profile media, privacy and confidentiality injunctions for both corporate and notable individual clients.
Strengths: “He has a very impressive grasp of the law; he cuts to the key issues quickly and provides solid commercial advice.” “He’s great – he explains things very clearly and concisely to clients and inspires confidence.”
Recent work: Represented Mike Tindall in a proposed action against Express Newspapers concerning a false gossip column piece regarding his marriage. The matter settled before trial, and an apology was printed as part of the settlement agreement.

Godwin Busuttil
Respected junior whose practice covers the full range of media law issues. He has extensive experience acting for both claimants and defendants. He has acted on behalf of high-profile clients such as JK Rowling, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Strengths: “He is a master of detail.” “He is an excellent academic barrister and a compelling advocate.” “He is a superb black-letter lawyer with excellent attention to detail, but also impressive on his feet.”
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Dar Al Arkan Real Estate v Al Refai. The case raised particularly interesting issues concerning whether a defendant can be liable as a publisher without knowledge of the particular defamatory language used.

Victoria Jolliffe
Has a strong reputation for her adroit handling of libel and privacy claims. She has been involved in a number of high-profile cases in recent times, including acting on behalf of Andrew Mitchell MP and Tim Yeo MP. She frequently acts for media clients in reporting restrictions cases.
Strengths: “She’s an absolute pleasure to work with, very supportive and inspires real confidence on tricky cases.”
Recent work: Appeared as a led junior in Cruddas v Calvert in the Court of Appeal, the latest hearing in this protracted litigation concerning a libel and malicious falsehood claim.

Richard Munden
Expert in all aspects of defamation, breach of privacy and confidentiality claims. He is increasingly noted for his work in data protection law.
Strengths: “He is an industrious junior who is hard-working and offers sound advice.” “He is extremely pleasant to work with – intelligent and robust.” “He is a great person to have on your side – he’s very clear, has great judgement and is insightful.”
Recent work: Acted for the claimant, businessman Raheem Brennerman, with regard to allegations concerning his finances made in the Sunday Times and online.

David Hirst
Has a broad practice encompassing all aspects of defamation and privacy law. He is noted for his expertise in disputes with an internet or technological element.
Strengths: “He is a fount of knowledge in all defamation matters. He is very approachable and great with clients.”
Recent work: Acted for the defendant in Krause v Newsquest Media Group, the first case to consider whether it was defamatory to allege that an individual had changed their sex.

Christina Michalos
Covers all aspects of media law. She has a particular reputation as a leader in image rights and has written one of the leading commentaries on the subject.
Strengths: “She is extremely easy to work with and highly knowledgeable.”

Victoria Shore
Acts for both claimants and defendants across the full gamut of media law. She has extensive trial experience and regularly provides pre-publication advice to media outlets.
Strengths: “She is pragmatic, straightforward and user-friendly.” “She has her clients’ interests at heart in every instance.”