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Timothy Atkinson

Timothy has appeared in a significant number of leading media law cases over many years including appearances (both led and on his own) in the Court of Appeal. He has represented leading national figures from all walks of life.

TBG Media and Information


Timothy Atikinson

Timothy's Experience

Called in 1988

Barristers in England and Wales are regulated by the Bar Standards Board

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Media & Sport

Timothy's practice has a significant international dimension, including representing and advising prominent individuals, large corporations and media organisations in many different countries, including several appearances in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Gibraltar.

He has addressed influential and prestigious meetings in the UK and abroad on the General Data Protection Regulation, taking part in a Meeting of Experts concerning the Regulation organised to assist the European Commission, and giving a lead speech at the Annual Conference of the Society for Computers and Law. He has advised on several important Inquiry reports. He advises the Law Society on defamation.

Recent cases include:

Ager v Career Development Finance Ltd [2019] EWHC 2830 (QB) - Counsel for the Defendants in this ongoing libel claim.

Bokova v Associated Newspapers [2018] EWHC 320 (QB) and [2018] EWHC 2032 (QB) - Counsel for Claimant, a former Director General ofUNESCO and candidate for post of UN Secretary General in a high profile libel claim.

Huda v Wells [2017] EWHC 2553 (QB) – Decision on absolute privilege in context of permission to serve out of the jurisdiction, with observations on s.9 Defamation Act 2013. Counsel for the defendant.

The Construction Industry Vetting Information Group Litigation (2014 – 2016) – High profile multi-million pound data protection claim. Junior Counsel for one of the defendants led by Patricia Robertson QC.

Cammish v Hughes [2012] EWCA Civ 1655 (Court of Appeal) – Important decision on (a) defamatory meaning and (b) the application of the principle in Jameel. Counsel for the claimant.

McLaughlin v Lambeth Borough Council [2010] EWHC 2726 (QB) – Significant decision in relation to the capacity of an employee of a governmental body to sue in defamation where what is impugned is their conduct in the carriage of the business of that body. Junior Counsel for the defendant led by Andrew Caldecott QC.

Kearns v General Council of the Bar [2003] EWCA Civ 331 (Court of Appeal) – Important decision on qualified privilege in context of pre-existing relationship between publisher and recipient. Junior Counsel for the claimant led by Richard Rampton QC.

Al-Fagih v H.H. Saudi Research & Marketing (UK) Ltd [2001] EWCA Civ 1634 (Court of Appeal) – Important decision on extension of public interest defence in context of a political dispute. Junior Counsel for the defendant led by Andrew Caldecott QC.

Austin v Newcastle Chronicle & Journal Ltd [2001] EWCA Civ 834 (Court of Appeal) – Significant decision on extension of time for service of Particulars of Claim. Counsel for the claimant.

Alexander v Arts Council of Wales [2001] EWCA Civ 514 (Court of Appeal) – Important decision on (a) summary judgment in context of defamation and (b) malice. Junior Counsel for the defendant led by Tom Shields QC.

Cornelius v de Taranto [2001] EMLR 12 (appeared) and [2002] EWCA Civ 1511 (Court of Appeal (drafted Skeleton for Appeal)) – First case in which an award of damages for mental distress caused by a breach of confidentiality was made. Junior Counsel for the claimant led by Edward Garnier QC.

Waple v Surrey County Council [1998] 1 WLR 860 (Court of Appeal) – Significant decision on privilege defence regarding answers to enquiries relating to a contribution notice under the Children Act 1989. Counsel for the claimant.

McDonalds Corporation v Steel and Morris (1994-1999) (i) [1995] EMLR 527 (Court of Appeal) 1999 (Court of Appeal)

(ii) The Independent May 10, 1999 – The longest civil case in English history with important Court of Appeal decisions on

(a) pleading a defence of truth (b) the capacity of a powerful multinational corporation to sue for defamation and (c) corporate goodwill in the context of a defamation action. Junior Counsel for the claimant led by Richard Rampton QC.

Privacy Policy

1. This is a privacy notice that describes how, why and for how long I will process or keep your personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’).
2. The GDPR governs how an individual’s personal data is used, and your rights in relation to that data.
3.  I, Timothy Atkinson, have been instructed by you or your litigation friend (usually a parent), through your solicitor or agent, or via the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
4.  It is necessary for me to process your personal data in order for me to provide you with legal services, for example:

  • Advise on the prospects of litigation;
  • Advise on the value of your claim;
  • Representation at a court hearing;
  • Representation at trial;
  • Advise, review or comment on legal issues or evidence.

5. Processing means anything done to data such as: recording, organising, adapting, altering, copying, consulting, transmitting, combining, erasing or storing it.

6.The processing for the purposes listed above will take place in accordance with either Article 6(1)(a) GDPR or Article 6(1)(b) GDPR, depending on how you instructed me.

7. If you have instructed me on a direct access basis, or engaged a solicitor (or legal agent), to assist you in bringing or defending a claim then the processing is necessary to perform a contract to which you are a party (Article 6(1)(b) GDPR). To give effect to that contract (i.e. to bring a claim) it is necessary for me to process your personal data for litigation purposes.

8. If I am assisting you on a pro bono basis, it will be necessary for me to seek your consent to be able to represent you (Article 6(1)(a) GDPR). In this scenario, you will be sent a consent form.

Recipients of your data

9.  I may also be required to share your data with others, depending on the nature of your case. This may include:

(i)  Courts and other tribunals to whom documents are presented;

(ii) Your solicitors, or agent representing you, through whom I have been instructed;

(iii) Potential witnesses, experts and other persons involved in the case;

(iv) Solicitors, barristers, or other legal representatives;

(v) Ombudsman and regulatory authorities;

(vi) Education and examining bodies; and

(vii) Current, past or prospective employers.

Special Categories of Data

10.  In some cases I will have been given your personal data that is within the ‘special categories’ of data described in GDPR Article 9(1). For example, personal data that reveals your race, ethnicity, sexual preferences, political or religious beliefs, trade union membership or health. There are also restrictions for processing information regarding criminal convictions.

11. This type of personal data will only be processed where it is necessary in order to represent you in your legal claim, or advise on the prospects of a legal claim.


12. I will retain your personal data for no longer than is necessary, and where it is possible, I will anonymise your data.

13. How long your personal data is kept will depend on a number of factors. The retention period will be reviewed when the service I am providing you with is complete. However in general, I am obliged by the Bar Code of Conduct to retain records of my cases, and by HM Revenue and Customs to retain records for 6 years.

14. Once your case has concluded and fees have been paid, I shall retain only the personal data necessary for the following purposes:

(i) The legal and professional obligation to retain information relating to my cases;

(ii) To check for any potential conflict of interests that may arise in the future when I am instructed on other cases;

(iii) For use in the defence of potential complaints, legal proceedings or fee disputes;

(iv) To refer back to in future cases which raise similar legal, factual, or procedural issues.

15. The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14 (ii), (iii), and (iv) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(f) GDPR. That is, for the purposes of legitimate interests that are not outweighed by your interests or fundamental rights and freedoms.

16. The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14(i) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(c) GDPR. That is, the processing is necessary for me to comply with a legal obligation. 

Your Rights

17. Where processing of your personal data was based on your consent (see paragraphs 6 and 8) you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time. This does not affect the lawfulness of the processing based on consent before its withdrawal.

18. Withdrawal of your consent to process such data will most likely mean that I am no longer able to provide you with the legal services you seek.

19. You may request confirmation that your personal data is being processed by me and details about the personal data, the source, the processing, the purposes of the processing, the recipients and the retention period.

20. You may request a copy of your personal data that is being processed by me. You may also request rectification (i.e. correction) where there are inaccuracies in the personal data.

21. You have the right to object, on grounds relating to your particular situation, at any time, to processing of your personal data in paragraph 14 of this privacy notice. Should you object, the processing will only continue where there are compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests. 

22. Where the processing or retention of your data is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, it will not be possible to object. 

23. You have the right to request that your personal data is erased where any of the following apply:

(i) The personal data are no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected or otherwise processed;

(ii) You withdraw your consent where the basis of processing was based on consent and where there is no other ground for the processing;

(iii) Where your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests override the legitimate interests of processing in paragraph 14;

(iv) The personal data has been unlawfully processed; or

(v) The personal data have to be erased to comply with a legal obligation.

24. You have the right to request that your personal data is restricted from processing, so that it is simply stored, for the following reasons: as an alternative to deletion; so that it can be corrected; for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; to verify if a legitimate ground exists (paragraph 14).

25. Where it is necessary to correct your personal data, or you have requested the restriction or erasure of your personal data, I shall endeavour to contact the recipients of the personal data, unless this involves disproportionate effort. 


26. I take appropriate physical and technical procedures to safeguard your personal data to prevent it from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way. 

Complaints or Queries

27. If you have any questions regarding this privacy notice, or how I use your personal data please email me: mailto:, or my clerks: telephone 01823 247 247.

28. I shall aim to respond as soon as possible, and within 30 days.

29. You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) if you believe I have not handled your request in an appropriate manner. For information on contacting the ICO please go to:

Timothy's Testimonials

Timothy is incredibly engaging and willing to put himself out. His opinions and drafting work are clear, concise and detailed. He's really well respected and extremely intelligent. Very personable and extremely easy to get on with.

Chambers and Partners 2021

Defamation and Privacy

Very bright and amiable. He brings a gentle approach to disputes but is practical and likeable.

Chambers and Partners 2021

Defamation and Privacy

Personable and great with clients. He is an outstanding advocate and his advice is always detailed and meticulous.

Chambers and Partners 2020

Defamation and Privacy



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