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