Lorna Skinner - Spear's Magazine

Lorna Skinner

Matrix Chambers

Lorna Skinner
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One of Matrix’s prime barristers, Lorna Skinner was close to choosing a career in criminal law but favoured the world of media instead. ‘I’m very glad I did! It’s an area that is constantly evolving to keep pace with time,’ she says. Skinner, who has represented both defendants and claimants from publishers, parliament and trade unions, says it is thrilling to solve the spectrum of cases she receives, from ‘unsurprising’ allegations of affairs and non-compliance to blackmail and the misuse of private data. What’s most satisfying is tackling ‘thorny’ legal issues, where she has ‘the time and space to sit down and become, for a few moments, a world expert on a very small topic’. Skinner believes there will be a boost in libel claims following the Court of Appeal decision in Lachaux v Independent Print and others, where a common law ruling defied parliament’s protection of free speech in the 2013 Defamation Act. The judgment showed that the ‘serious harm’ threshold is lower than expected. ‘Claimants have breathed a sigh of relief and a lot more defendants are rather more concerned,’ she observes. While libel is likely to thrive post-GDPR, the opposite has been observed with privacy injunctions, which have seen a noticeable decline. ‘It’s slightly surprising,’ she exclaims, considering the Supreme Court’s decision to keep the anonymity of the individuals in the landmark PJS case.