Hugh Tomlinson

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Hugh Tomlinson

Hugh Richard Edward Tomlinson

January 1954
Alma materBalliol College, University of Oxford

Hugh Richard Edward Tomlinson[1][2] QC (born January 1954 in Leeds) is an English barrister, a prominent English translator of the philosopher Gilles Deleuze and a founding member of Matrix Chambers. He is a noted specialist in media and information law including defamation, confidence, privacy and data protection. He played a central role in the litigation that sought the full disclosure of UK MP's parliamentary expenses[3] and in the News of the World phone-hacking case.[4] He is known for his privacy work for celebrities[5] who have included Lily Allen, David and Victoria Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Ryan Giggs, as well as others such as retired banker (and ex-knight) Fred Goodwin[6] and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. He is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics.[7]

Early life[edit]

Tomlinson was born and grew up in a working-class area of Woodhouse in Leeds, West Yorkshire. After winning a place at Leeds Grammar School he went on to Balliol College, Oxford where he earned the top first in the University in PPE. After Oxford he continued his philosophical studies at the University of Sussex and in 1977 went to the University of Paris VIII, at the time notorious for its radical philosophy department. Tomlinson met the philosopher Gilles Deleuze there and went on to translate eight of his books.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Legal career[edit]

In 1984 he joined New Court Chambers and according to Carman’s biographer, Dominic Carman, Tomlinson "made a deep impression" on George Carman who was then head of chambers. Carman regarded him as his star performer, insisting that he become his junior in the two Branson defamation cases[16][17][18] - the British Airways "dirty tricks" campaign against Virgin Atlantic, and the case involving an alleged attempt to bribe Richard Branson by the head of the lottery company GTECH S.p.A..

In 2000 he became a founder member of Matrix Chambers. Other founding members included Cherie Booth QC, Lord Brennan QC, James Crawford SC, Professor Conor Gearty, Ben Emmerson QC, Lord Ken Macdonald QC, Clare Montgomery QC, Helen Mountfield QC, Tim Owen QC and Philippe Sands QC

Tomlinson has had a very broad practice at the Bar.[19] In addition to his work in privacy and media law he been instructed in public law, criminal law and commercial cases. His cases range from substantial Chancery Division cases such as that relating to Marlborough Fine Art and the Francis Bacon Estate[20] to representing the DPP in the Criminal Court of Appeal in the first application[21] on the changed law on double jeopardy.[22]

In 2007 Tomlinson successfully represented Lord Baker a former Environment Secretary in a Freedom of Information request against John Prescott, the then Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The Information Tribunal ruled that civil servants' advice to ministers on major planning decisions should be disclosed to anyone who asks for it once the decision is taken.[23]

He represented Prince Charles in preventing the publication of the Prince’s Hong Kong travel diaries[24] and claimed that any arguments that the journals should be published in the public interest were "far-fetched".[25] He was the leading barrister in the campaign to force the public release of information relating to MPs' expenses.[26]

Tomlinson is known as a "super injunction"[27] specialist protecting celebrities from the disclosure of "private" information but in accordance with the bar’s taxi rank principle he works on both sides of this legal divide.[28] In the case where England football captain John Terry went to court to protect details of a relationship with Vanessa Perroncel, (the ex-girlfriend of his England team-mate Wayne Bridge) Tomlinson represented Associated Newspapers (not Terry, as is often wrongly reported). He also represented Jeremy Clarkson’s ex-wife Alex Hall where Clarkson was seeking (but subsequently dropped) efforts to prevent Hall from claiming that they had had an affair during his subsequent marriage.[29] In Ntuli v Donald he again acted for the Defendant, Ntuli, a former partner of "Take That’s" Howard Donald, who had obtained a "super-injunction" to prevent her revealing details of their relationship (and preventing the reporting of the existence of the injunction itself). This was the first appeal against a "super-injunction". It was removed by the Court of Appeal who allowed the proceedings to be reported and Donald and Ntuli to be named.[30] Tomlinson successfully represented the publisher Harper Collins when the BBC sought to prevent a publication revealing the identity of Top Gear’s secret racing-driver, The Stig.[31]

The new law of privacy has not been popular with newspaper editors. In a 2008 speech to the Society of Editors, the editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre said

"Britain’s leading privacy QC, Hugh Tomlinson, declared, in words that should chill all of us, the following..... "The law of privacy has come a long way in a short time ... We are gradually moving from a position where anything could be published unless it was forbidden to the opposite – nothing can be published unless it can be justified. Under the influence of the Human Rights case law from Strasbourg, we are moving slowly but inescapably towards the stricter privacy protection of French or Italian law." [32]

Tomlinson represented Robert Murat in the defamation action against numerous British newspapers. Murat, an Anglo Portuguese local seeking to help was falsely accused by the British press of being involved in the disappearance of the three-year-old Madeleine McCann. Tomlinson also represented Christopher Jefferies, the retired Bristol school teacher and landlord of murder victim Joanna Yeates, over the lurid and malicious press coverage of Jefferies during the case.[33] In both cases substantial damages were received.

In the News of the world phone-hacking scandal Tomlinson acted for Sienna Miller[34] whose case led to the final admission by the News of the World that more than one journalist was involved in the hacking. He was the lead counsel for the claimants in the first and second rounds of the Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation against the News of the World. His other phone-hacking clients include Jude Law, Ulrika Jonsson, Ashley Cole, Ryan Giggs, Pete Doherty, Leslie Ash, Lee Chapman, Chris Bryant MP, Simon Hughes MP, Brian Paddick, Tessa Jowell MP, John Prescott and Neil and Glenys Kinnock. He also acted in the phone hacking judicial review of the Metropolitan police.[35]

In 2014 Tomlinson represented Amnesty International in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in a case in which the Security Services were forced to concede that their arrangements for dealing with legally privileged material were unlawful and accepted that Amnesty’s communications had been illegally intercepted.[36] He acted for Amnesty International in its subsequent challenge to the legality of the bulk interception of communications by UK intelligence agencies in the European Court of Human Rights.[37]

Tomlinson represented the pianist James Rhodes in his successful 2015 appeal to the Supreme Court which led to the overturning of an injunction to prevent the publication of his autobiography, Instrumental.[38] In 2017, Tomlinson represented the entertainer Michael Barrymore in his successful claim for wrongful arrest against the Essex Police.[39]


Tomlinson is an active blogger. He represented Nightjack[40] the police blogger whom The Times sought (successfully) to name and expose. He is a founding editor of the United Kingdom Supreme Court blog[41] and runs the influential blog Inforrm.[42] This blog is at the centre of the debate on press freedom and regulation[43][44][45] and Tomlinson has often blogged his proposals for media and press reform.

Media Regulation[edit]

Tomllnson is a founder member and the Chair of Hacked Off, the campaign for a free and accountable press.[46] This was set up to campaign for a public inquiry into the phone hacking scandal. Shortly afterwards the Leveson Inquiry was set up. Tomlinson gave evidence to the inquiry[47] and a number of his proposals were accepted by the inquiry. Hacked Off supported victims of press abuse who gave evidence and has, since 2011, campaigned for the implementation of Leveson Inquiry recommendations.

Tomlinson has written an LSE Media Policy brief on the Leveson recommendations: "The New UK Model of Press Regulation".[48]


  • Lender Claims, with T Grant (Sweet & Maxwell, 2010)
  • The Law of Human Rights, with R Clayton, (Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition, 2009)
  • ‘Implications for the Private Sector’ in P Carey and M Turle eds, Freedom of Information Handbook (2nd Edn, Law Society, 2008)
  • Civil Actions Against the Police, with R Clayton (Sweet & Maxwell, 3rd Edition, 2004)
  • Online Publication Claims: A practical guide, with G Vassall-Adams (Matrix Chambers, 2017).

Translations of Gilles Deleuze[edit]

  • Gilles Deleuze (2006). Nietzsche and Philosophy (Reprint. ed.). London: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-9075-1.
  • Gilles Deleuze (with Barbara Habberjam) (1984). Kant's Critical Philosophy : the doctrine of the faculties (4. printing. ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-1436-9.
  • Gilles Deleuze (with Barbara Habberjam) (1991). Bergsonism (1. paperback ed. , [Nachdr.] ed.). New York: Zone Books. ISBN 978-0-942299-07-6.
  • Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (with Graham Burchill) (2003). What is Philosophy? (2. impression. ed.). London: Verso. ISBN 978-0-86091-686-4.
  • Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet (with Barbara Habberjam) (1987). Dialogues. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-06600-7.
  • Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet (with Barbara Habberjam) (2006). Dialogues II (2nd ed.). London: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-9077-8.
  • Gilles Deleuze (with Barbara Habberjam) (1986). Cinema 1: the movement-image ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. ISBN 978-0-8166-1400-4.
  • Gilles Deleuze (with Robert Galeta) (2007). Cinema 2: the time image ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-1677-9.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Corporate Officer of the House of Commons v Information Commissioner [2008] ACD 71" (PDF). The Guardian. London.
  4. ^ Halliday, Josh (20 December 2011). "News of the World publisher settles seven phone-hacking claims". The Guardian. London.
  5. ^ The Guardian (27 May 2011). "Injunctions row: Meet the man who helps celebrities remain anonymous". London. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  6. ^ Halliday, Josh (24 May 2011). "Mail accused of flouting Goodwin injunction". The Guardian. London.
  7. ^ Science, London School of Economics and Political. "People". London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  8. ^ Deleuze, Gilles (2006). Nietzsche and philosophy. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson (Reprint. ed.). London: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-9075-1.
  9. ^ Deleuze, Gilles; Habberjam, Barbara (1984). Kant's critical philosophy : the doctrine of the faculties. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson (4. printing. ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-1436-9.
  10. ^ Deleuze, Gilles; Habberjam, Barbara (1991). Bergsonism. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson (1. paperback ed. , [Nachdr.] ed.). New York: Zone Books. ISBN 978-0-942299-07-6.
  11. ^ Deleuze, Gilles; Félix Guattari (2003). What is philosophy?. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson; Graham Burchill (2. impression. ed.). London: Verso. ISBN 978-0-86091-686-4.
  12. ^ Deleuze, Gilles; Claire Parnet (1987). Dialogues. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson; Barbara Habberjam. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-06600-7.
  13. ^ Deleuze, Gilles; Claire Parnet (2006). Dialogues II. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson; Habberjam, Barbara (2nd ed.). London: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-9077-8.
  14. ^ Deleuze, Gilles; Habberjam, Barbara (1986). Cinema. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. ISBN 978-0-8166-1400-4.
  15. ^ Deleuze, Gilles; Galeta, Robert (2007). Cinema 2: the time image. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-1677-9.
  16. ^ Carman, Dominic (2002). No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 108.
  17. ^ "RICHARD BRANSON v. GUY SNOWDEN and RICHARD BRANSON v. GTECH UK CORPORATION (a body corporate) and ROBERT RENDINE [1997] EWCA Civ 2021 (3rd July, 1997)".
  18. ^ "Snowden v Branson [1999] EWCA Civ 1777 (6 July 1999)".
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Clarke v. Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd and another [2001] All ER (D) 189 (May)".
  21. ^ "Man faces double jeopardy retrial". BBC News. 10 November 2005.
  22. ^ "D, R. v [2006] EWCA Crim 1354 (16 June 2006)".
  23. ^ Dyer, Clare (11 June 2007). "Ministry must reveal advice to Prescott over controversial tower". The Guardian. London.
  24. ^ "HRH Prince of Wales v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2006] All ER (D) 38 (Jan)".
  25. ^ "Prince wins diary privacy battle". BBC News. 17 March 2006.
  26. ^ Owen, Paul; Reid, Les (24 May 2009). "Censored version of MPs' expenses will break the law, QC warns". The Guardian. London.
  27. ^ "When blank blank wants a super-injunction, who does he call?". The Independent. London. 30 April 2011.
  28. ^ Dowell, Katy (6 June 2011). "Gag Man". The Lawyer.
  29. ^ "Jeremy Clarkson discontinues "false privacy" action, injunction discharged – Mark Thomson". Inforrm's Blog. 27 October 2011.
  30. ^ "Donald v Ntuli [2010] All ER (D) 170 (Nov)".
  31. ^ "Stig wrangle continues in private". BBC News. 31 August 2010.
  32. ^ "Society of Editors: Paul Dacre's speech in full – Press Gazette". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  33. ^ "Christopher Jefferies - media apologise and make substantial libel payout". Simons Muirhead & Burton.
  34. ^ "Sienna Miller awarded £100,000 over phone hacking". BBC News. 13 May 2011.
  35. ^ MR JUSTICE FOSKETT (23 May 2011), Bryant & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2011] EWHC 1314 (Admin), retrieved 4 August 2018
  36. ^ Bowcott, Owen (22 June 2015). "GCHQ's surveillance of two human rights groups ruled illegal by tribunal". the Guardian. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  37. ^ Bowcott, Owen (7 November 2017). "UK intelligence agencies face surveillance claims in European court". the Guardian. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  38. ^ "Supreme Court overturns ban on James Rhodes autobiography". Law Society Gazette. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  39. ^ "Michael Barrymore awarded damages against Essex Police over wrongful arrest that 'destroyed' his career". The Independent. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  40. ^ Seaton, Jean (17 June 2009). "NightJack blog: How the Times silenced the voice of valuable frontline reporter". The Guardian. London.
  41. ^ "Hugh Tomlinson". London: The Guardian. 20 June 2011.
  42. ^ "Inforrm's Blog". Inforrm's Blog. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  43. ^ Tomlinson QC, Hugh. "Media Regulation: A Radical New Proposal – Part 1, Reform Options". Inforrm's Blog. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  44. ^ Tomlinson QC, Hugh. "Media Regulation: A Radical New Proposal, Part 2, More Reform Options". Inforrm's Blog. Retrieved 30 September 2009.
  45. ^ Tomlinson QC, Hugh. "Media Regulation: A Radical New Proposal, Part 3, The Media Regulation Tribunal". Inforrm's Blog. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  46. ^ "Hacked Off | A Campaign For A Free And Accountable Press". Hacked Off. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  47. ^ "View Section: Mr Hugh Tomlinson QC ::Leveson Inquiry :: SayIt". SayIt. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  48. ^

External links[edit]