Caoilfhionn Gallagher

barrister Doughty Street Chambers

Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC is an international human rights lawyer and expert in journalists’ safety and media freedom, practising as a barrister from Doughty Street Chambers, London. Over the past 20 years she has acted in many landmark human rights cases in the UK and internationally, before the European Court of Human Rights, international courts and UN bodies. She has acted for, and secured the freedom of, many arbitrarily detained journalists, cartoonists, peaceful protestors and human rights defenders around the world, including in Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Caoilfhionn has particular expertise in accountability for crimes against journalists. Her current cases in this field include leading the international legal teams for media owner Jimmy Lai, imprisoned in Hong Kong; for over 150 BBC News Persian journalists, targeted extraterritorially by Iran; for the bereaved family of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, assassinated in Malta in 2017; and leading (jointly with colleague Amal Clooney) the international legal team for Maria Ressa, the Nobel Peace Prize winning journalist in the Philippines. Caoilfhionn has given expert evidence on accountability for crimes against journalists and gender-based violence against women journalists to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Jineth Bedoya v. Colombia), to Parliamentary inquiries in the UK, Australia and the Council of Europe, and to UNESCO (on targeting of women journalists online).

Caoilfhionn is also Ireland’s Special Rapporteur on Child Protection; sits part-time as a Coroner in England and Wales; and is on the UK Advisory Board of RSF (Reporters Without Borders). She was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2017 for her “outstanding commitment to enabling the Human Rights Act’s protections.”

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