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Zoe McCallum
MEET:

Zoe McCallum

'Superb junior, fizzing with brilliant ideas."

Legal 500, 2024
Called: 2016

Zoe practices media, information and public law. Many of her clients are journalists, media organisations, people covered by the press, modern slavery victims, asylum seekers and prisoners.

Zoe acts in defamation, privacy, harassment, data protection and information law actions. Zoe also has a special interest in artificial intelligence and welcomes instructions in that fast-evolving area.

Her unled cases include obtaining injunctive relief on behalf of two journalists at The Times and The Sunday Times in a case against a former source; acting for Times Newspapers Ltd and Telegraph Media Group successfully overturning reporting restrictions; and representing a vulnerable defendant in a harassment and defamation claim arising from her #metoo post about a musician.

As a junior, Zoe was instructed in the Vardy v Rooney “Wagatha Christie” case (led by Hugh Tomlinson KC and Sara Mansoori KC); in the Daedone v BBC litigation (led by Sara Mansoori KC); and a complex breach of confidence claim related to the RAK v Azima litigation (led by Aidan Waterman KC and with Aidan Wills). She often acts for high net worth individuals bringing data claims against financial risk databases.

Zoe draws upon her experience prior to joining the Bar, where she worked in a cross-party political office and was involved in the reform of defamation law, the politics of press regulation and the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act. Alongside litigation, Zoe provides pre-publication advice to national print and broadcast news.

Zoe is listed as a “rising star” in Defamation & Privacy law in the Legal 500.

Zoe frequently represents modern slavery and trafficking survivors in judicial reviews challenging detention, deportation and NRM decisions and is strongly committed to strategic litigation in this area of law.

With Chris Buttler KC, she has acted in key cases challenging government policy, including

  • KTT (ruling that confirmed victims of modern slavery are entitled to leave pending resolution of their asylum claims, upheld in the Court of Appeal).
  • VT & Os (holding that asylum seekers stranded on Diego Garcia are entitled legal aid).
  • KA & Os (breaking the biometrics barrier on behalf of families left behind following UK withdrawal from Afghanistan)
  • DA & Os (bringing an end to a secret Covid asylum screening interview policy which failed trafficking victims)
  • NN and LP (bringing an end to 45-day support limit for confirmed victims of slavery)

Zoe also accepts instructions in asylum, Article 8, deportation and family reunion appeals before the IAT and out of hours applications for injunctive relief.

Zoe is recognised as a “rising star” in Immigration law in the Legal 500.

As well as immigration and trafficking judicial reviews, Zoe’s public law practice includes inquests and public inquiries. Zoe was instructed in the Public Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse, including into the exploitation of children in Catholic schools. She has represented bereaved families at inquests and prisoners at Parole Board hearings. Zoe was also junior counsel in a successful Strasbourg case challenging the compatibility of the Human Rights Act with Article 13 ECHR (SW v United Kingdom [2021] 73 EHRR 18).

Zoe worked in politics and law reform for five years before coming to the Bar. From 2013-2016, she worked in a cross-party political office on issues including the funding of safe abortions for rape victims in armed conflict and reform of investigatory powers and defamation law. In 2012, Zoe worked for an independent commission established by the (then) coalition government to investigate the case for a UK Bill of Rights. From 2010-2011, she worked in New Delhi alongside grassroots disability rights activists, towards a federal bill implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Zoe loves to dance. Away from the Bar, she hikes and swims outdoors and has a long-standing connection to two Pacific islands in Vanuatu. Before moving to London, Zoe worked, travelled and lived for periods in Russia, France, India and the South Pacific. She speaks rusty bislama, rusty french and some hindi.

Zoe has drafted op-eds for the national press (The Times, Guardian, Telegraph), speeches for politicians and written evidence submitted to parliamentary committees.

Zoe worked with Lord Lester of Herne Hill and drafted the first cut of Five Ideas To Fight For: How Our Freedom is Under Threat and Why it Matters (Oneworld, 2016). The book charts the evolution of the legal protections given to the rule of law, human rights, equality, free speech and privacy in the UK; and the ways in which those protections are under threat. It was endorsed by Mary Robinson (former UN Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland), Harold Koh (former legal advisor to President Obama), Sir Sydney Kentridge KC, Baroness Helena Kennedy KC; and positively reviewed, including by Lord Pannick KC in The Times. It was cited by the UK Supreme Court in the majority ruling in PJS v NGN [2016] UKSC 26.

Zoe has a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and an MPhil degree in International Relations and was awarded a full departmental scholarship for the duration of graduate study. Her MPhil thesis (for which she was awarded a distinction) concerned the politics of international law on torture and specialist counter-terrorism prisons. Zoe gained a distinction in the Graduate Diploma in Law and was graded ‘Outstanding’ in the Bar Professional Training Course. Lincolns Inn awarded her Hardwicke and Lord Denning scholarships and the Buchanan Prize for exam performance.

Zoe is a member of the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC), the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA), the Immigration Law Practitioners Association and JUSTICE.

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

Zoe 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

Rising Star: "Zoe has great strengths as a barrister. She works tirelessly for clients, provides compelling and detailed legal advice, is a great advocate and is able to deal with lay clients in an empathetic way."

Legal 500, 2024, Defamation & Privacy

"She understands the legal issues and understands the strategy. She manages to achieve impressive results in difficult situations. Her written advocacy is persuasive." "Zoe has a lovely drafting style."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Defamation & Privacy

Rising Star: "Superb junior, fizzing with brilliant ideas. Great team player and first-rate drafter. An authority on modern slavery claims."

Legal 500, 2024, Immigration (Including Business Immigration)

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE:

Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Zoe McCallum
Called: 2016

'Superb junior, fizzing with brilliant ideas."

Legal 500, 2024

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Commercial Law
  • Competition
  • Discrimination and Equality
  • Employment Law
  • EU Law
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Immigration, Asylum and Free Movement
  • Injunctions
  • Inquests and Inquiries
  • Media and Information Law
  • Court Orders affecting the Media
  • Data Protection
  • Defamation and Privacy
  • Harassment 
  • Public International Law
  • Public Law
  • Public Law: Information, Data and Privacy
  • Police, Inquests and Prison
  • Health and Social Care (including welfare benefits)
  • Commercial Public Law
  • Equality and Discrimination Law
  • Competition and EU

Zoe McCallum

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

Contact Zoe's Practice Team (Team X): TeamX@matrixlaw.co.uk


Zoe practices media, information and public law. Many of her clients are journalists, media organisations, people covered by the press, modern slavery victims, asylum seekers and prisoners.

Media and Information law

Zoe acts in defamation, privacy, harassment, data protection and information law actions. Zoe also has a special interest in artificial intelligence and welcomes instructions in that fast-evolving area.

Her unled cases include obtaining injunctive relief on behalf of two journalists at The Times and The Sunday Times in a case against a former source; acting for Times Newspapers Ltd and Telegraph Media Group successfully overturning reporting restrictions; and representing a vulnerable defendant in a harassment and defamation claim arising from her #metoo post about a musician.

As a junior, Zoe was instructed in the Vardy v Rooney “Wagatha Christie” case (led by Hugh Tomlinson KC and Sara Mansoori KC); in the Daedone v BBC litigation (led by Sara Mansoori KC); and a complex breach of confidence claim related to the RAK v Azima litigation (led by Aidan Waterman KC and with Aidan Wills). She often acts for high net worth individuals bringing data claims against financial risk databases.

Zoe draws upon her experience prior to joining the Bar, where she worked in a cross-party political office and was involved in the reform of defamation law, the politics of press regulation and the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act. Alongside litigation, Zoe provides pre-publication advice to national print and broadcast news.

Zoe is listed as a “rising star” in Defamation & Privacy law in the Legal 500.

Immigration, Asylum and Trafficking

Zoe frequently represents modern slavery and trafficking survivors in judicial reviews challenging detention, deportation and NRM decisions and is strongly committed to strategic litigation in this area of law.

With Chris Buttler KC, she has acted in key cases challenging government policy, including

  • KTT (ruling that confirmed victims of modern slavery are entitled to leave pending resolution of their asylum claims, upheld in the Court of Appeal).
  • VT & Os (holding that asylum seekers stranded on Diego Garcia are entitled legal aid).
  • KA & Os (breaking the biometrics barrier on behalf of families left behind following UK withdrawal from Afghanistan)
  • DA & Os (bringing an end to a secret Covid asylum screening interview policy which failed trafficking victims)
  • NN and LP (bringing an end to 45-day support limit for confirmed victims of slavery)

Zoe also accepts instructions in asylum, Article 8, deportation and family reunion appeals before the IAT and out of hours applications for injunctive relief.

Zoe is recognised as a “rising star” in Immigration law in the Legal 500.

Public Law, Inquests and Public Inquiries

As well as immigration and trafficking judicial reviews, Zoe’s public law practice includes inquests and public inquiries. Zoe was instructed in the Public Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse, including into the exploitation of children in Catholic schools. She has represented bereaved families at inquests and prisoners at Parole Board hearings. Zoe was also junior counsel in a successful Strasbourg case challenging the compatibility of the Human Rights Act with Article 13 ECHR (SW v United Kingdom [2021] 73 EHRR 18).

Life Before the Bar

Zoe worked in politics and law reform for five years before coming to the Bar. From 2013-2016, she worked in a cross-party political office on issues including the funding of safe abortions for rape victims in armed conflict and reform of investigatory powers and defamation law. In 2012, Zoe worked for an independent commission established by the (then) coalition government to investigate the case for a UK Bill of Rights. From 2010-2011, she worked in New Delhi alongside grassroots disability rights activists, towards a federal bill implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Life away from the Bar

Zoe loves to dance. Away from the Bar, she hikes and swims outdoors and has a long-standing connection to two Pacific islands in Vanuatu. Before moving to London, Zoe worked, travelled and lived for periods in Russia, France, India and the South Pacific. She speaks rusty bislama, rusty french and some hindi.

Publications

Zoe has drafted op-eds for the national press (The Times, Guardian, Telegraph), speeches for politicians and written evidence submitted to parliamentary committees.

Zoe worked with Lord Lester of Herne Hill and drafted the first cut of Five Ideas To Fight For: How Our Freedom is Under Threat and Why it Matters (Oneworld, 2016). The book charts the evolution of the legal protections given to the rule of law, human rights, equality, free speech and privacy in the UK; and the ways in which those protections are under threat. It was endorsed by Mary Robinson (former UN Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland), Harold Koh (former legal advisor to President Obama), Sir Sydney Kentridge KC, Baroness Helena Kennedy KC; and positively reviewed, including by Lord Pannick KC in The Times. It was cited by the UK Supreme Court in the majority ruling in PJS v NGN [2016] UKSC 26.

Education

Zoe has a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and an MPhil degree in International Relations and was awarded a full departmental scholarship for the duration of graduate study. Her MPhil thesis (for which she was awarded a distinction) concerned the politics of international law on torture and specialist counter-terrorism prisons. Zoe gained a distinction in the Graduate Diploma in Law and was graded ‘Outstanding’ in the Bar Professional Training Course. Lincolns Inn awarded her Hardwicke and Lord Denning scholarships and the Buchanan Prize for exam performance.

Memberships

Zoe is a member of the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC), the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA), the Immigration Law Practitioners Association and JUSTICE.


Zoe's Privacy Notice

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


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

Rising Star: "Zoe has great strengths as a barrister. She works tirelessly for clients, provides compelling and detailed legal advice, is a great advocate and is able to deal with lay clients in an empathetic way."

Legal 500, 2024, Defamation & Privacy

"She understands the legal issues and understands the strategy. She manages to achieve impressive results in difficult situations. Her written advocacy is persuasive." "Zoe has a lovely drafting style."

Chambers & Partners, 2024, Defamation & Privacy

Rising Star: "Superb junior, fizzing with brilliant ideas. Great team player and first-rate drafter. An authority on modern slavery claims."

Legal 500, 2024, Immigration (Including Business Immigration)