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Ian Helme
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Ian Helme

"Ian is absolutely brilliant. His advice is confident, thorough, clear and commercial. His advocacy is calm, cogent and persuasive. He cuts through the issues with ease and distills complex concepts with exceptional clarity."

Legal 500 2022
Called: 2005

Ian Helme is a leading senior junior specialising in all aspects of information, data and media law. He is widely recognised for his regular involvement in cutting-edge and high-profile litigation and has been at the forefront of many recent developments in the law of data protection, misuse of private information and defamation, in particular. Notable recent reported cases in which he has acted include: Vardy v Rooney; Lloyd v Google LLC; Abramovich v HarperCollins; Duke of Sussex v Splash News; Wright v Ver and Economou v De Freitas.

Ian was nominated for Media, Defamation, Privacy and Data Protection Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021 and for Technology and Data Junior of the Year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2022.

Recent cases include:

Hegglin v Google Inc – First domestic case to apply the ‘right to be forgotten’ established by the CJEU in Costeja v Google Spain. Led by Hugh Tomlinson QC but appeared in his own right in No.2 opposite Anthony White QC, a decision important to issues of costs capping and costs budgeting. The case eventually settled shortly before trial. ([2014] EWHC 2808; [2014] EWHC 3793).

Voicemail Interception Litigation – Part of the legal team acting on behalf of News Group Newspapers Limited in relation to the civil claims for misuse of private information arising out of phone-hacking at the News of the World.

HCN v Chelsea & Westminster NHS Hospital Trust – Counsel for the claimant in a privacy and data protection dispute arising from the accidental disclosure by the defendant of extremely sensitive medical information. The defendant admitted liability and the claim settled very shortly before trial.

A v Department for Work & Pensions – Counsel for the claimants in a privacy and data protection dispute arising from the accidental disclosure by the defendant of very sensitive information. The claim raised several complex issues of fact and law including the issue of damages under section 13 of the DPA 1998. The matter settled on the first morning of trial.

MLB v UEA – Counsel for the claimant in a data breach claim related to the accidental dissemination of highly confidential information by the defendant.

WHU v LFC – Counsel for the claimant on an interim injunction related to the exfiltration of data by an employee. Involved issues of breach of confidence and interaction with data protection legislation.

Recent cases include:

Gubarev v Orbis – Counsel for the claimants in a complex multi-jurisdictional libel claim related to the publication of the notorious “Trump Dossier”, including a very substantial claim for special damages.

Kozbar v Telegraph Media Group Limited – Counsel for the successful claimant opposite David Price QC at a trial on the issue of meaning in respect of an article in the Sunday Telegraph.

Economou v De Freitas – First trial of the new public interest defence under section 4 of the Defamation Act 2013. Appeared for the successful defendant  and also appeared in his own right successfully to resist an application by the claimant to permit a late amendment. ([2016] EWHC 1218; [2016] EWHC 1853). An appeal was heard in April 2018.

Ames v Spamhaus – Counsel for the defendants opposite Adrienne Page QC in a complex libel, privacy, copyright and data protection dispute concerning domestic and US law in relation to spam emails. A leading authority on the relationship between section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 and Jameel abuse of process. ([2015] EWHC 127)

Karpov v Browder – Junior Counsel for the claimant in a defamation claim based upon serious allegations made concerning involvement in the death of Sergei Magnitsky in Russia ([2013] EWHC 3071).

Liberty v Primark – Counsel for the first and third defendants, successfully striking out as a Jameel abuse of process a claim for libel arising out of events subsequent to the collapse of a factory building in Bangladesh ([2015] EWHC 415).

McGrath v Bedford – Counsel for the defendants in a complex libel claim involving water purification systems. Successfully appeared at a number of interlocutory hearings before the claim was compromised ([2016] EWHC 174).

Ontulmus v Collett (No.2) – Counsel for the claimants opposite James Price QC on an application for security for costs in a complex multi-million-pound defamation claim concerning megayachts ([2014] EWHC 294).

Cairns v Modi – Junior Counsel for the claimant in the first defamation trial based upon a Tweet. A damages award of £90,000 for an allegation of match-fixing was upheld by the Court of Appeal in a decision which is now the leading authority on principles applicable to damages awards in respect of online defamation. ([2010] EWHC 2859; [2012] EWHC 756; [2012] EWCA Civ 1382).

Mionis v Papadakou – Counsel for the claimant, a highly successful hedge fund manager, in relation to a libel in a Greek newspaper in relation to false allegations of involvement in tax evasion. At an assessment of damages hearing the claimant was awarded £40,000 in respect of publication within this jurisdiction.

Waterson v Lloyd – Junior Counsel for the defendant in a libel claim arising from the MPs expenses scandal. Following a number of hearings at first instance and in the Court of Appeal the defendant was awarded summary judgment on the issue of honest comment. ([2011] EWHC 3197; [2011] EWHC 3292; [2013] EWCA Civ 136

[2013] EWHC 2201).

  • Contributor to Arlidge, Eady & Smith on Contempt, 5th Edition, 2017
  • Co-author, Atkin’s Court Forms on Defamation, 2014
  • Contributor to Halsbury’s Laws, Defamation, 32nd edition, 2012
  • Contributor to Carter-Ruck on Libel and Privacy, 6th edition, 2010
  • GDPR and Free Speech, One Brick Court Seminar, Broken Boundaries: New Frontiers in Media and Information Law, June 2017
  • Data Protection: Publication and Accuracy, One Brick Court Seminar, False Information: The New Legal Battlegrounds, April 2016

Ian is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Ian 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 Ian’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Ian 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

"He's extremely bright, very scrupulous and meticulous, and doesn't miss a trick." "Ian is one of the top juniors around. He is incredibly bright but easy to work with, too." "He gives his all to everything, is very tenacious and very easy to work with."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Defamation & Privacy

"I found him extremely thorough and well prepared, and he provided excellent advice." "He's great at media law. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law." "He is extremely calm and reassuring in his temperament and attitude."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Data Protection

"Ian is extremely intelligent and a powerful advocate." "Ian is technically brilliant but great on strategy as well." "Ian has a really good synthesis between having the academic intellectual acumen, and giving really practical, helpful advice."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Defamation & Privacy

"Ian is extremely bright and creative. He is a key senior junior for libel and data protection work." "Ian Helme has got a really good synthesis between having the academic intellectual acumen but also giving really practical, helpful advice." "He's a very reasoned person and you feel as though you're in good hands with him. He's very calm and you trust his opinion on the legal and strategic sides."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Data Protection

"A very detailed knowledge of the area. Proactive, thinks through issues, is very committed and a pleasure to deal with."

Legal 500, 2023, Data Protection

"Ian is absolutely brilliant. Ian's advice is confident, thorough, clear and commercial. His advocacy is calm, cogent and persuasive. Ian cuts through the issues with ease and distills complex concepts with exceptional clarity."

Legal 500, 2023, Defamation & Privacy

"He's a very clear and concise barrister and a good creative thinker."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Data Protection

"He is exceedingly bright."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Defamation & Privacy

"He is very engaging and always thinks outside the box." "He has fierce intellect and a smooth advocacy style." "He is technically knowledgeable and very calm and collected."

Chambers & Partners 2021, Data Protection

"He offers an impressive grasp of a wide range of media law issues, together with excellent judgement. He is a very clear advocate and is not afraid to take on silks in court." "He's really innovative and creative in how he approaches a case and finds its solution." "Really easy to work with and incredibly knowledgeable. He's prompt and quick, and manages expectations well."

Chambers & Partners 2021, Defamation & Privacy

"Technically excellent but pragmatic at the same time, with client-focused solutions."

Legal 500 2021, Media and Entertainment (Including Art and Cultural Property)

"Smooth as a silk to deal with, very calm and thorough."

Legal 500 2021, Defamation & Privacy

"He is calm and thorough. Very good on his feet and unflappable in court."

Legal 500 2021, Data Protection

"Exceptionally bright; he provides robust and pragmatic advice and brings the subject matter to life." "He's a real problem solver."

Chambers & Partners 2020, Defamation & Privacy

"He always makes himself available, and he gives very thorough advice which is easy for the client to access." "He's extremely good academically, and he's a very powerful advocate."

Chambers & Partners 2020, Data Protection

"Academic and very knowledgeable, with a strong pragmatic edge. He is always thinking outside of the box." "He has an excellent grasp of the overlap between libel and data protection law and he has excellent judgment. He is a very clear advocate."

Chambers & Partners 2019, Defamation & Privacy

"He's very strong and confident, he knows his stuff and he keeps up to date." "Ian has a full understanding of how data protection is relevant to publication claims."

Chambers & Partners 2019, Data Protection

"A much in-demand junior who punches well above his weight, and is both a gifted academic and a talented practitioner.” “He’s an excellent junior who is extremely good on his feet."

Chambers and Partners 2018
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Ian Helme
Called: 2005

"Ian is absolutely brilliant. His advice is confident, thorough, clear and commercial. His advocacy is calm, cogent and persuasive. He cuts through the issues with ease and distills complex concepts with exceptional clarity."

Legal 500 2022

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Commercial Law
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Court Orders affecting the Media
  • Data Protection
  • Defamation and Privacy
  • Harassment 
  • Injunctions
  • Media and Information Law
  • Public Law
  • Sports Law
  • Commercial Public Law

Ian Helme

Contact Ian: ianhelme@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact Ian's Practice Team (Team M): TeamM@matrixlaw.co.uk


Ian Helme is a leading senior junior specialising in all aspects of information, data and media law. He is widely recognised for his regular involvement in cutting-edge and high-profile litigation and has been at the forefront of many recent developments in the law of data protection, misuse of private information and defamation, in particular. Notable recent reported cases in which he has acted include: Vardy v Rooney; Lloyd v Google LLC; Abramovich v HarperCollins; Duke of Sussex v Splash News; Wright v Ver and Economou v De Freitas.

Ian was nominated for Media, Defamation, Privacy and Data Protection Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021 and for Technology and Data Junior of the Year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2022.

Data Protection & Privacy

Recent cases include:

Hegglin v Google Inc – First domestic case to apply the ‘right to be forgotten’ established by the CJEU in Costeja v Google Spain. Led by Hugh Tomlinson QC but appeared in his own right in No.2 opposite Anthony White QC, a decision important to issues of costs capping and costs budgeting. The case eventually settled shortly before trial. ([2014] EWHC 2808; [2014] EWHC 3793).

Voicemail Interception Litigation – Part of the legal team acting on behalf of News Group Newspapers Limited in relation to the civil claims for misuse of private information arising out of phone-hacking at the News of the World.

HCN v Chelsea & Westminster NHS Hospital Trust – Counsel for the claimant in a privacy and data protection dispute arising from the accidental disclosure by the defendant of extremely sensitive medical information. The defendant admitted liability and the claim settled very shortly before trial.

A v Department for Work & Pensions – Counsel for the claimants in a privacy and data protection dispute arising from the accidental disclosure by the defendant of very sensitive information. The claim raised several complex issues of fact and law including the issue of damages under section 13 of the DPA 1998. The matter settled on the first morning of trial.

MLB v UEA – Counsel for the claimant in a data breach claim related to the accidental dissemination of highly confidential information by the defendant.

WHU v LFC – Counsel for the claimant on an interim injunction related to the exfiltration of data by an employee. Involved issues of breach of confidence and interaction with data protection legislation.

Defamation

Recent cases include:

Gubarev v Orbis – Counsel for the claimants in a complex multi-jurisdictional libel claim related to the publication of the notorious “Trump Dossier”, including a very substantial claim for special damages.

Kozbar v Telegraph Media Group Limited – Counsel for the successful claimant opposite David Price QC at a trial on the issue of meaning in respect of an article in the Sunday Telegraph.

Economou v De Freitas – First trial of the new public interest defence under section 4 of the Defamation Act 2013. Appeared for the successful defendant  and also appeared in his own right successfully to resist an application by the claimant to permit a late amendment. ([2016] EWHC 1218; [2016] EWHC 1853). An appeal was heard in April 2018.

Ames v Spamhaus – Counsel for the defendants opposite Adrienne Page QC in a complex libel, privacy, copyright and data protection dispute concerning domestic and US law in relation to spam emails. A leading authority on the relationship between section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 and Jameel abuse of process. ([2015] EWHC 127)

Karpov v Browder – Junior Counsel for the claimant in a defamation claim based upon serious allegations made concerning involvement in the death of Sergei Magnitsky in Russia ([2013] EWHC 3071).

Liberty v Primark – Counsel for the first and third defendants, successfully striking out as a Jameel abuse of process a claim for libel arising out of events subsequent to the collapse of a factory building in Bangladesh ([2015] EWHC 415).

McGrath v Bedford – Counsel for the defendants in a complex libel claim involving water purification systems. Successfully appeared at a number of interlocutory hearings before the claim was compromised ([2016] EWHC 174).

Ontulmus v Collett (No.2) – Counsel for the claimants opposite James Price QC on an application for security for costs in a complex multi-million-pound defamation claim concerning megayachts ([2014] EWHC 294).

Cairns v Modi – Junior Counsel for the claimant in the first defamation trial based upon a Tweet. A damages award of £90,000 for an allegation of match-fixing was upheld by the Court of Appeal in a decision which is now the leading authority on principles applicable to damages awards in respect of online defamation. ([2010] EWHC 2859; [2012] EWHC 756; [2012] EWCA Civ 1382).

Mionis v Papadakou – Counsel for the claimant, a highly successful hedge fund manager, in relation to a libel in a Greek newspaper in relation to false allegations of involvement in tax evasion. At an assessment of damages hearing the claimant was awarded £40,000 in respect of publication within this jurisdiction.

Waterson v Lloyd – Junior Counsel for the defendant in a libel claim arising from the MPs expenses scandal. Following a number of hearings at first instance and in the Court of Appeal the defendant was awarded summary judgment on the issue of honest comment. ([2011] EWHC 3197; [2011] EWHC 3292; [2013] EWCA Civ 136

[2013] EWHC 2201).

Publications and Seminars

  • Contributor to Arlidge, Eady & Smith on Contempt, 5th Edition, 2017
  • Co-author, Atkin’s Court Forms on Defamation, 2014
  • Contributor to Halsbury’s Laws, Defamation, 32nd edition, 2012
  • Contributor to Carter-Ruck on Libel and Privacy, 6th edition, 2010
  • GDPR and Free Speech, One Brick Court Seminar, Broken Boundaries: New Frontiers in Media and Information Law, June 2017
  • Data Protection: Publication and Accuracy, One Brick Court Seminar, False Information: The New Legal Battlegrounds, April 2016

Ian's Privacy Notice

Ian is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Ian 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 Ian’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"He's extremely bright, very scrupulous and meticulous, and doesn't miss a trick." "Ian is one of the top juniors around. He is incredibly bright but easy to work with, too." "He gives his all to everything, is very tenacious and very easy to work with."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Defamation & Privacy

"I found him extremely thorough and well prepared, and he provided excellent advice." "He's great at media law. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law." "He is extremely calm and reassuring in his temperament and attitude."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Data Protection

"Ian is extremely intelligent and a powerful advocate." "Ian is technically brilliant but great on strategy as well." "Ian has a really good synthesis between having the academic intellectual acumen, and giving really practical, helpful advice."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Defamation & Privacy

"Ian is extremely bright and creative. He is a key senior junior for libel and data protection work." "Ian Helme has got a really good synthesis between having the academic intellectual acumen but also giving really practical, helpful advice." "He's a very reasoned person and you feel as though you're in good hands with him. He's very calm and you trust his opinion on the legal and strategic sides."

Chambers & Partners, 2023, Data Protection

"A very detailed knowledge of the area. Proactive, thinks through issues, is very committed and a pleasure to deal with."

Legal 500, 2023, Data Protection

"Ian is absolutely brilliant. Ian's advice is confident, thorough, clear and commercial. His advocacy is calm, cogent and persuasive. Ian cuts through the issues with ease and distills complex concepts with exceptional clarity."

Legal 500, 2023, Defamation & Privacy

"He's a very clear and concise barrister and a good creative thinker."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Data Protection

"He is exceedingly bright."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Defamation & Privacy

"He is very engaging and always thinks outside the box." "He has fierce intellect and a smooth advocacy style." "He is technically knowledgeable and very calm and collected."

Chambers & Partners 2021, Data Protection

"He offers an impressive grasp of a wide range of media law issues, together with excellent judgement. He is a very clear advocate and is not afraid to take on silks in court." "He's really innovative and creative in how he approaches a case and finds its solution." "Really easy to work with and incredibly knowledgeable. He's prompt and quick, and manages expectations well."

Chambers & Partners 2021, Defamation & Privacy

"Technically excellent but pragmatic at the same time, with client-focused solutions."

Legal 500 2021, Media and Entertainment (Including Art and Cultural Property)

"Smooth as a silk to deal with, very calm and thorough."

Legal 500 2021, Defamation & Privacy

"He is calm and thorough. Very good on his feet and unflappable in court."

Legal 500 2021, Data Protection

"Exceptionally bright; he provides robust and pragmatic advice and brings the subject matter to life." "He's a real problem solver."

Chambers & Partners 2020, Defamation & Privacy

"He always makes himself available, and he gives very thorough advice which is easy for the client to access." "He's extremely good academically, and he's a very powerful advocate."

Chambers & Partners 2020, Data Protection

"Academic and very knowledgeable, with a strong pragmatic edge. He is always thinking outside of the box." "He has an excellent grasp of the overlap between libel and data protection law and he has excellent judgment. He is a very clear advocate."

Chambers & Partners 2019, Defamation & Privacy

"He's very strong and confident, he knows his stuff and he keeps up to date." "Ian has a full understanding of how data protection is relevant to publication claims."

Chambers & Partners 2019, Data Protection

"A much in-demand junior who punches well above his weight, and is both a gifted academic and a talented practitioner.” “He’s an excellent junior who is extremely good on his feet."

Chambers and Partners 2018