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Guy Vassall-Adams’ practice spans media and information law, administrative and public lawelection law and human rights. He has been instructed in many of the leading cases in  these fields in recent years and is recognized as a “great advocate” who is “lovely to work with” and who brings  “unparalleled commitment, focus and energy” to his cases (Chambers & Partners).

  • Media and Information Law

    Guy is a leading specialist in media and information law, having acted across the full range of media law cases for clients including individuals, media organisations, international organisations, trades unions and non-governmental organisations.  In addition to High Court trials and applications of every kind that can happen in a media law case, he has a very strong appellate practice, having appeared in many previous Supreme Court and Court of Appeal cases. His main areas of practice are   defamation, misuse of private information, breach of confidence, open justice and reporting restrictions, data protection,  contempt of court and media-related judicial reviews.

    Recent noteworthy cases include:

    • Intervening for the Media Lawyer’s Association in the Supreme Court in the leading defamation case on the “serious harm” test (Lachaux v Independent Print)
    • Defending Reuters in a leading recent breach of confidence case involving the public interest defence (Brevan Howard v Reuters) (Court of Appeal)
    • Acting for the claimant in the leading case on subject access requests under the Data Protection Act (Rudd v Bridle)
    • Representing the media in a test case on open justice in variation of trusts hearings (MN v OP) (Court of Appeal)
    • Representing the World Anti-Doping Association in a libel claim brought by a professional footballer (Sakho v WADA).

    Guy acted for the media in Al Rawi v Security Service, the Supreme Court case on open justice and closed procedures and in Jameel v Wall Street Journal Europe, a leading House of Lords case on the public interest defence. He acted for the Financial Times in Re FI Call Ltd, the leading Court of Appeal case on open justice and the right to reputation, for Google in the high profile data protection case brought by Max Mosley (Mosley v Google Inc), for the husband in relation to the privacy issues arising from Britain’s biggest divorce case (Cooper-Hohn v Hohn), for the media in a test case on media access to CCTV footage in a criminal trial (Re Guardian) (Court of Appeal) and for the defendant publisher in Roberts v Gable, the leading libel case on the reportage defence (Court of Appeal).

    Guy has a substantial advisory practice and has acted an expert on freedom of expression for the Council of Europe in Russia, Serbia, Kosovo and Armenia. Guy often gives pro bono training to campaigning organisations and non-governmental organisations on media law issues.

  • Group Litigation

    Guy was instructed in some of the most high-profile group litigation of recent years and has exceptional experience in this area. He acted for News Group Newspapers for many years in the Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation (phone hacking), the largest privacy litigation in English legal history. Guy also played a leading role in NGN’s own private arbitration for phone hacking cases, the Voicemail Interception Compensation Scheme, which resolved hundreds of cases. On the claimant side, he acted for the GMB Claimants in the Construction Industry Vetting Information Group Litigation, successfully using media law torts to obtain substantial compensation for blacklisted construction workers.

  • Administrative and Public Law

    Guy has acted in a large number of high-profile judicial reviews for clients including media organisations, political parties, individuals and non-governmental organisations and also has extensive experience of intervening in judicial review proceedings.

    Noteworthy cases include:

    • Acting for the Migrants Rights Network (instructed by Liberty) in its successful challenge to data sharing between NHS Digital and the Home Office (MRN v NHS Digital);
    • Bringing a test case on whether ITV was amenable to judicial review in relation to decisions about participants in TV election debates (Liberal Democrats v ITV Broadcasting Ltd);
    • Acting for the claimant in the leading case challenging the current law on assisted dying (Nicklinson v Ministry of Justice) (Supreme Court);
    • Representing a senior former MI5 officer challenging a refusal to allow him to publish his memoirs (A v Security Service (Investigatory Powers Tribunal: Jurisdiction) (Supreme Court);
    • Acting for the claimant in the test case on police duties towards victims of life-threatening crimes (Van Colle v Chief Constable of Hertfordshire) (House of Lords).

    He has intervened for the media in number of high profile judicial reviews including Binyam Mohamed v Foreign Secretary (judgment redacted on national security grounds) (Court of Appeal), M v Parole Board (anonymity for a prisoner seeking release) (Divisional Court), Home Secretary v Assistant Deputy Coroner for Inner West London (power of coroners to hold closed hearings) (Divisional Court) and Corner House v Director of Serious Fraud Office (media access to JR statements of case).

    His diverse cases include  intervening for a consumer rights group in a challenge to provisions of the Digital Economy Act (BT v Secretary of State for Business) and acting for a video games manufacturer in relation to a decision to ban one of its video games (Board of Film Classification v Video Appeals Committee).

  • Election Cases

    Guy has been instructed in a wide range of election-related cases. He acted for the Liberal Democrats successfully resisting a claim that sought to challenge its candidate selection procedures for the European Elections on equality grounds (Dhamija v Liberal Democrats) and brought a test case on whether ITV was amenable for judicial review when choosing participants for TV general election debates (Liberal Democrats v ITV Broadcasting Ltd).  He was instructed in an appeal against fines imposed by the Electoral Commission (Electoral Commission v Leave.EU) and in cases concerning whether a significant miscount of votes voids an election (Fitch v Stephenson) and  whether a vote was void for uncertainty (Piling v Reynolds).  He is regularly asked to advise on election law issues relating to alleged violations of election law.

  • Human Rights

    Guy has been instructed in a number of international tort claims relating to human rights abuses overseas. He acted for the claimants in Guerrero v Monterrico Metals, a claim relating to the torture of protestors at a mine in Peru and in a claim brought by victims of post-election violence at a tea estate in Kenya (AAA v Unilever). Guy has also been involved in a number of Privy Council cases raising human rights issues, including Merson v Cartright (damages for breaches of constitutional rights) and pro bono death row cases.

  • Publications

    Guy is co-editor and an author of Online Publication Claims: A Practical Guide (Matrix, 2017), a user- friendly guide to the practicalities of media law claims in relation to internet publications. Other publications include:

  • Education

    BA Hons (Oxon)

    LLM International Human Rights Law (Distinction)

    Queen Mother Scholar, Middle Temple (1998, 1999)

     

Privacy Notice

Guy is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Guy needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which he is instructed. To read Guy’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Guy 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.

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS
WHAT THEY SAY:

Chambers & Partners:

“He’s lovely to work with.” “A great advocate.” (Defamation & Privacy,2021)

“He really gets stuck into the details and rolls up his sleeves. A calm genius.” (Defamation & Privacy, 2020)

“Well respected by the media.” (Defamation & Privacy, 2019)

“A good lawyer and a good advocate with a cerebral, dissecting, intellectual approach.” (Defamation & Privacy, 2018)

“Displays unparalleled commitment, focus and energy.” (Media and Entertainment, 2017)

“He is an intellectual. He brings an academic approach, but in the best sense of the word. He’s extremely thorough, with a great understanding of how law and practice fit together.”(Defamation & Privacy, 2016)

Legal 500:

“A tenacious and forceful advocate, completely on top of the technical detail in his field.” (Defamation & Privacy, 2021)

“Puts in the hours, is good with clients, gives practical advice and is effective in Court. A QC I have no hesitation in recommending to others.” (Administrative & Public Law (Including Elections), 2021)

“Very bright, hardworking, and knowledgeable. “ (Defamation & Privacy, 2019)

“Very meticulous and has great attention to detail.” (Defamation & Privacy, 2018)

“He has the ability to see the more strategic elements involved in a case that lasts for years” (Media & Entertainment, 2017)

“An impressive advocate” (Defamation & Privacy, 2017)

“His tactical acumen and diligence are both impressive” (Media & Entertainment, 2016)