Gavin Millar QC - Matrix Chambers
Gavin Millar QC

Gavin Millar QC

"He's just brilliant at everything. He's incredibly bright, practical and strategic."

Chambers & Partners 2016
Called: 1981 | Silk: 2000 | Called (Northern Ireland): 2010

Gavin has a broad practice which includes media, informationpubliccriminal, employment and discrimination law.

He is a noted specialist in all areas of media law including defamation, privacy, breach of confidence, data protection, open justice and publishing contempts. He often represents media outlets, journalists and politicians in both civil and criminal proceedings.

He was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK media in the Guardian Media One Hundred 2012, after representing the Telegraph Media Group at the Leveson Inquiry. In 2013 he advised the Guardian on its Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of Edward Snowden’s disclosures. He represented the Sun newspaper in the “plebgate” libel trial and the “PJS” celebrity injunction litigation, and the BBC in the Cliff Richard privacy trial.

He is recognised as a leading expert in election law, having appeared in many high profile cases.

He has acted as a Council of Europe and EU expert in media law and is a Crown Court Recorder. He practises in Northern Ireland as well as England and Wales.

Gavin is a Band 1 defamation and privacy silk in Chambers & Partners 2021 and was their Defamation/Privacy “Silk of the Year” in 2012 and 2016. He has appeared in a number of the leading cases in this area, including Re S (A Child), Jameel v Dow Jones, R (Guardian News and Media) v City of Westminster Magistrates Court, PJS v NGN  and Khuja v Times. He has successfully advanced a public interest speech defence in three high profile High Court libel trials. He regularly gives pre-publication advice to journalists and news outlets on legal and regulatory issues. He often defends the rights of journalists to protect confidential journalistic sources. He acted for News Group Newspapers and its journalists in a successful complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal about the use of RIPA powers by the Metropolitan Police to identify such sources; and for a Northern Irish public interest journalist (Barry McCaffrey) whose home was searched by police for source identifying material. He represented the applicant journalists in the third of the joined cases in Big Brother Brother Watch v UK complaining of breach of their free speech rights by state surveillance and acquisition of communications data.

In addition to media law judicial review cases, Gavin has appeared in many judicial review challenges, over many years, often involving the rights of public sector workers. Gavin has specialised in local government, Parliamentary and election law for over 20 years. He is a Band 1 election law silk in Chambers & Partners 2021. He has appeared in numerous election petitions before Election Courts, the High Court and the Court of Appeal. These include a number of the best known and leading cases including Attorney General v Fiona Jones MP, Ahmed v Kennedy, R v Chaytor, Morley and Devine, R (Woolas) v Parliamentary Election Court, Foster v McNicol and Corbyn and Green v Forbes (The Peterborough Election Petition).

Gavin has specialised in employment and discrimination for many years. He has argued such cases in all courts/tribunals including the European Court of Justice.

Gavin has always practised in the criminal courts and his public law and media law work often takes him into the Crown Court, for example to resist source disclosure applications and witness summons applications against journalists in criminal proceedings. He has appeared in a number of high profile criminal cases including the MPs expenses prosecution, R v Jim Devine, and R v Brooks and others (the phonehacking case).

Publications include:

  • Media Law and Human Rights (OUP 2009)
  • “Protecting Free Expression” in J. Lewis and P. Crick eds, Media Law & Ethics in the 21st Century (IBA, 2014)
  • Newsgathering: Law, Regulation and the Public Interest (OUP, June 2016)
  • Commercial Information and Confidentiality” and “Common Law Rights and Controls” in Coppel’s Information Rights (5th Edition 2020)”

In the course of Gavin’s business of providing legal services it is necessary for him to “process” personal data. This will be, for example, by collecting, retaining and using it. To read Gavin’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Gavin is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards.


"He's just excellent and so knowledgeable in this field. His analysis of a case is meticulous and his advocacy is really strong." "An amazing advocate. Very robust and very persuasive with judges."

"He's an intellectual powerhouse who takes no prisoners." "He's an extraordinarily talented, gifted and articulate barrister."

Chambers & Partners 2021

"A fearsome advocate who is pragmatic, decisive and thoughtful."

"He can handle the most subtle points of law with such elegance."

Chambers & Partners 2019

"Brilliant mind, brilliant in court."

Legal 500 2018

"One of the very top media silks with an excellent grasp of law."

"He has made media law his own."

Legal 500 2016

"He is the best media silk currently practising."

"He is the leading Article 10/journalist’s adviser and advocate. Particularly skilled in promoting Reynolds defences in complex cases."

"He’s a complete expert in the area of electoral law and he has been in most of the important cases so knows the area like the back of his hand."

Chambers & Partners 2017

"A first-choice counsel for big issues."

"Combines his employment practice with a strong following in the media and entertainment space."

"Experienced in representing media outlets, journalists and politicians."

Legal 500 2015

"He is very effective at the Defamation Bar, with a punchy style and the advantage of an encyclopaedic knowledge of criminal law and police procedures."

"He’s one of the finest freedom of speech advocates at the Bar today. He knows how to politely argue with judges and is fantastic with clients."

"He’s just brilliant at everything. He’s incredibly bright, practical and strategic."

"Very knowledgeable and reliable, he always makes an extra effort to be available for clients."

"He is unflappable, very knowledgeable, extremely good on his feet and judges like him as he is respectful but tough when he has to be."

Chambers & Partners 2016