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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Mr Gavin Sutter, LLB, LLM (Queens, Belfast)


Senior Lecturer in Media Law

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8082
Room Number: Lincoln's Inn Fields


In 1999, Gavin Sutter moved to London to take up a twelve-month research assistant's post with the Centre For Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary. Over two decades later, he is still at CCLS, now as a Senior Lecturer in Media Law. He is responsible for establishing the field of Media Law at CCLS, having introduced a media law module on the LLM with twelve students in 2004, and now teaching eight media-related modules across three different LLM programmes (London, Paris and Online) and the London LLB. In his spare time he also teaches legal basics and cybersecurity law to Chinese computer engineering undergraduates on the joint QMUL/BUPT degree programme in Beijing, established in 2004 as the first joint degree programme between a UK and a Chinese University. 

Gavin read law at the Queen's University of Belfast, graduating with an LLB Hons (2:1) in 1997, and an LLM in Computers and Law, with Distinction (the first to be awarded on that programme, then in its ninth year), in 1998.

Undergraduate Teaching

Gavin created, oversees and teaches LAW6006 Media Law, a year long elective module offered to students in their final year of the undergraduate programme at Queen Mary.

He also teaches the following modules on the Queen Mary-BUPT Beijing-based Joint Programme BSc (Eng) e-Commerce Engineering with Law:

  • EBU4001 Fundamentals of Law
  • EBU6007 Cybersecurity Law

Gavin is Programme Lead for CCLS’s contribution to the JP.

Postgraduate Teaching

Gavin is the convenor and teaching lead on the following modules on the London LLM programme:

He is also co-convenor and co-teaching lead on:

He is convenor and teaching lead on the following modules on the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Online programmes:

  • CCDM018 Internet Content Regulation
  • CCDM028 Online Media Regulation

He is convenor and teaching lead on the following modules on the Paris-based LLM in Technology, Media & Telecoms:

  • CCLP218 Regulation on Media Reporting of the Legal System


Research Interests:

Gavin has published widely on various aspects of media law, and his scholarly interests have a particular focus on the regulation of a wide variety of media content, from defamation and privacy through obscene pornography, to the law regulating the reporting of proceedings before the court system. His current writing is focused on the forthcoming Second Edition of “Media Law and Regulation” (Callendar Smith, Goldberg & Sutter, OUP), as well as a developmental project on “privacy by design” as enshrined in the GDPR, in a social media context. He also continues to contribute to the ongoing consultative process surrounding the Scottish Defamation Bill.

He is the Academic member for QMUL’s ELSA group’s work on the ongoing International Research Group on Internet Censorship.


  • Callender-Smith, Goldberg & Sutter [Forthcoming] Media Law & Regulation, Second Edition OUP
  • Sutter [2017] “The UK’s Broad Rejection of the Section 230 Model”, Law.Com/The Recorder, Section 230 US Communications Decency Act 20th Anniversary Special Edition
  • “Free Speech and Fact: English Libel Law, and the Limits of Free Speech”, in International Constitutional Law in Legal Education, [2014], Nomos, Vienna ISBN: 978-3-7089-1100-7
  • Sutter [2012] “Response to the consultation by the Ministry of Justice on the draft Defamation Bill” EJLT, 2012, 3(1)
  • Sutter [2011] “Rethinking online intermediary liability: in search of the ‘Baby Bear’ approach”, Indian Journal of Law and Technology, Volume 7, 2011 
  • Goldberg, Sutter & Walden [2009] Media Law & Practice, OUP
  • Legal Protection of Copy-Protection Mechanisms (with Dr. Martina Gillen) in Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA Vol 51 No 4
  • Sutter & Gillen [2006] “DRMs and anti-circumvention: tipping the scales of the copyright bargain?” IRLCT 2006, 20(3), 287-299
  • Sutter [2007] “Online Intermediary Liability” in Reed & Angel (eds) Computer Law (6th Edition), OUP, Oxford ISBN 978-0-19-920596-7
  • Sutter [2006] “One Way or Another? Is it time for the introduction of the single publication rule in English defamation law?”, Contemporary Issues in Law Vol 7 Issue 4, ISSN: 1357-0374
  • Internet Service Providers and Liability, in M. Klang and A. Murray (Editors), Human Rights in the Digital Age, London: Routledge, 2005, 71-84, ISBN: 1904385311
  • Defamation on the Net, in S. Stokes and R. Carolins (Editors), Encyclopedia of E-commerce Law, London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2004, 17-1 to 17-50, ISBN: 0421742607
  • Electronic Commerce (Co-author with C. Reed), in C. Reed and J. Angel (Editors), Computer Law, 5ed, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, 331-392, ISBN: 0199263507 [URL]
  • Penny Dreadfuls and Perverse Domains: Victorian and Modern Moral Panics, in J. Rowbotham and K. Stevenson (Editors), Behaving Badly: Visible Crime, Social Panics and Legal Responses - Victorian and Modern Parallels, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003, ISBN: 0754609650
  • Don't shoot the messenger? The evolution of liability for third party provided content in the UK [2003] 17(1) International Review of Law, Computers & Technology 73-84, ISSN: 1360-0869
  • Directive 97/7/EC on the Protection of Consumers in Respect of Distance Contracts (Co-author with Dr J. Hornle and I. Walden), in A. Lodder and H. Kaspersen (Editors), eDirectives: Guide to European Union Law on E-Commerce, The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2002, 11-22, ISBN: 9041117520
  • Electronic Payments: The Smart Card (Co-author with S. Newman) [2002] 18(4-5) Computer Law and Security Report 235-240 and 307-313, ISSN: 0267-3649
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: An Update Part One: Interception of Content and An Update Part Two: Communications Data, Encryption, Scrutiny and the Way Ahead [2002] 4(11-12) Electronic Business Law 4-7 and 4-6, ISSN: 1464-9624
  • Publish and be damned? [2001] 3(11) Electronic Business Law 5-7, ISSN: 1464-9624
  • To have and to hold and to handover: data security and data handover (Co-author with Gillen) [2001] 3(9) Electronic Business Law 11-13, ISSN: 1464-9624
  • Big Brother goes online: e-mail monitoring and interception 2001 [2001] 3(2) Electronic Business Law 9-12, ISSN: 1464-9624


Gavin is presently co-supervising several PhD candidates, covering such diverse fields as copyright in digital music, data protection in FinTech, intellectual property ownership and fan-created content, and Human Rights in the context of video games. He is available for supervision of new candidates in the field of media law.

Public Engagement

He has been a member of the executive of BILETA (British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association) since 2002, acting as its Vice Chair 2011-2013, and Chair 2013-2015. He is also a member of the Society of Legal Scholars, and Convenor of the SLS Media & Communications section 2018-2020. In his spare time, he is the founder director of the CCLS Technology, Media & Telecommunications law Institute

Since 2006,  Gavin has been involved in the undergraduate joint programme between Queen Mary and Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications (BUPT). The programme is led by the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science and we contribute to the BSc in eCommerce Engineering with Law. Gavin is the programme director for CCLS.

He was also involed in teaching on courses for the summer programmes of US universities, specifically the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law (2007-8) and the Southwestern Law School in California (2009-2011).

Gavin has spoken at a wide range of national and international academic events throughout his career, in locations as diverse as Berlin, Majorca, Brussels, Tigur Muis (Romania), Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Beijing, Boston, Washington DC, Zagreb, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast. He has addressed senior judiciary from Thailand's IP courts, as well as members of the Sri Lankan Attorney General's office.  In 2018 he appeared before the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament as an expert witness on defamation reform; a second such appearance is pending.

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