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School of Law

Dr Robin Callender Smith, Barrister, LLB LLM and PhD


Honorary Professor of Media Law


Dr Robin Callender Smith is Honorary Professor of Media Law at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS). He is a four-time graduate from Queen Mary University of London, a barrister and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

He is a specialist Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) and regulatory arbitrator, mediator and adjudicator through ARBITA as well as a CEDR-qualified Mediator. He is an Adjudicator on the Panel appointed by the Society of Computers and the Law. Since 2013 he has been the Independent Adjudicator appointed by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) to determine issues within the authority’s Customer Dispute Resolution Scheme (CDRS) in respect of complaints made by customers and QFCRA-authorised firms.

He completed his LLB at Queen Mary in 1973 and was taught commercial law by the founder of CCLS, Sir Roy Goode QC. He completed his LLM in Computer and Communications Law with Distinction at CCLS in 2010 and his PhD – on celebrity privacy, the media and the law - in November 2014. His textbook Celebrity and Royal Privacy, the Media and the Law is published by Sweet and Maxwell. His fourth Queen Mary qualification came in 2020 when he completed his Postgraduate Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration.

He is an editor of Sweet & Maxwell’s Encyclopaedia of Data Protection and Privacy and is also co-editing the second edition of OUP's Media Law and Practice. A data privacy and media law barrister, he has advised national newspapers on pre-publication issues of libel, contempt, misuse of private information, copyright, breach of confidence and misuse of private information for over 40 years.

He has ten years’ experience as an Information Rights Judge dealing with Data Protection and Freedom of Information appeals from the Information Commissioner. He has eleven years’ experience as an Immigration and Asylum Judge and was a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) from 2006 - 2012 and a Mental Health Tribunal Judge from 2004 - 2012.

He was a Chair of the Code Adjudication Panel of the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA), the premium rate telephone service Regulator recognised by Ofcom, and a Chair of Metropolitan Police Disciplinary Tribunals appointed by the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC). He was also a member of the energy Regulator Ofgem’s independent Enforcement Decision Panel (EDP), a Lay Member of the Executive Board of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and a member of the CII’s Professional Standards Committee.

From 2012 – 2014 he was a Deputy Chair of the Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC) of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - formerly the Financial Services Authority (FSA) - dealing with high-profile and complex issues of market abuse, professional fitness to practice and corporate governance across the financial services sector including LIBOR and EURIBOR cases. He joined the FCA’s RDC in 2005.

He was an elected member from 2004 - 2007 of the Bar Council, a Vice Chairman of the Disability Committee and member of the Law Reform Committee (having led on the Mental Health Act 2007 and the Courts, Tribunals and Enforcement Act 2007). He was also an elected Member of Gray’s Inn Barristers’ Committee from 2004 – 2007. He is a Vice President of the London’s biggest youth charity London Youth having been a Trustee from 2006 – 2012.

He is a Council of Europe (CoE) expert on Data Protection and Open Justice Issues. He led an expert delegation of practitioner colleagues from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy and Moldova in preparing and presenting a CoE report to the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan in January 2016 on Open Justice, data protection and judicial transparency issues in civil and criminal justice decision-making.

He worked as a journalist for the Eastern Daily Press and Eastern Evening News in East Anglia for four years from 1966 – 70 before his undergraduate studies at Queen Mary.

Undergraduate Teaching

Postgraduate Teaching

  • QLLM355 Celebrity Privacy, the Media and the Law



  • Celebrity and Royal Privacy, the Media and the Law (Sweet & Maxwell, London 2015).
  • The Missing Witness? George V, Competence and Compellability and the Criminal Libel Trial of Edward Frederick Mylius The Journal of Legal History,  Vol. 33, No.2, August 2012, pp 209 - 239]
  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall....Are Those Image Rights I see Before Me? Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property, Vol. 2 No. 2, 2012, pp. 195–19
  • Freddie Starr ate my Privacy OK! Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property, Vol. 1 No. 1, 2011, pp. 53–72
  • Press Law (Sweet & Maxwell, London 1978)

 Work in progress or projects/conferences and conference papers

  • Open Justice in an On-line Digital World with Valerie Eliot Smith.

Public Engagement

  • 27 January 2016 Professor Robin Callender Smith delivered a Gresham College lecture at the Museum of London on Celebrities, the Media and the Personal Privacy Wars. Watch the lecture here.
  • 19 June 2015 Professor Robin Callender Smith was a keynote speaker at Charles University's Faculty of Comparative Law, Prague, at a two-day colloquium on the public law aspects of the abuse of privacy rights. The colloquium included the Faculty of European, International and Comparative Law at the University of Toulouse 1 Capitole.
  • 18 June 2015 Professor Robin Callender Smith gave a special lecture on celebrity privacy, the media and the internet at Charles University, Prague. The lecture was organised by Všehrd, the Association of Czech Lawyers.
  • 11 - 12 June 2015 Professor Robin Callender Smith was UK judicial delegate to EU Judges' workshop on the Charter of Fundamental Rights in Helsinki.
  • 24 April 2015 Professor Robin Callender Smith contributed to Oxford Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism expert workshop on Google Spain, the Right to be Forgotten and its implication for the media.

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