Anya Proops QC
Anya has a broad practice spanning privacy, media, human rights, public, sports and employment law. Anya is named as a Leading Silk in both directories for her work in the privacy, media and employment spheres. She is listed as a “Star Individual” in Chambers & Partners in recognition of her leading role the field of privacy litigation. Anya was also named in the Lawyer’s “Hot 100 Lawyers 2019”. The nature of Anya’s practice is such that she is equally at home conducting lengthy, witness-heavy hearings as she is arguing complex points of law before the appellate courts. Anya’s clients include individuals; corporations; media organisations; NGOs; statutory regulators and a wide array of public authorities. Anya has particular expertise acting for defendants in class actions, including both group actions and representative actions.
Privacy & Media
Anya is widely recognised as a leading privacy and media practitioner. The Lawyer lists Anya in its “Hot 100 Lawyers 2019”, recognizing her role ‘at the vanguard’ of cutting-edge privacy litigation. Anya was nominated as Defamation/Privacy Silk of the Year in the 2020 Chambers & Partners UK Bar Awards. Anya is recognised as a “Star Individual” for her work in the data privacy field in Chambers & Partners, which describes her as taking a leading role in many of the practice area’s most prominent cases, tackling critical disputes in relation to subjects including data breaches, subject access disclosure and the right to be forgotten’. The Legal 500 equally identifies Anya as a Tier 1 ‘Leading Silk’ for her work in the data privacy field. Anya co-founded 11KBW’s highly regarded information law blog: panopticonblog.com.
Large scale data cases/class actions – Anya has extensive experience of advising and acting for controllers (on both the regulatory and civil litigation sides) in cases involving large-scale personal data incidents/issues, often with an international element. She routinely leads cases for controllers in very large scale data privacy class actions, helping them to manage their global strategy, as well as assisting them with their dealings with regulators, including the ICO. Anya has a particular interest in online data processing, and she regularly advises and acts for large-scale online service providers, including social media platforms. By way of example, Anya’s recent work in this area includes:
- Weaver v British Airways (2021, ongoing) – Leading group action in the High Court; also acted for BA in connection with ICO threat to impose a monetary penalty of £183m
- Experian v ICO (2021, ongoing) – Appeal against wide-ranging enforcement notice issued against Experian in connection with its data services
- Ticketmaster v ICO  UKFTT 0083 (GRC) – Appeal against monetary penalty notice
- Marriott data incident – Acted for Marriott in connection with ICO threat to impose a monetary penalty of £100m
- Various Claimants v Morrison Supermarket Plc  UKSC 1 – Supreme Court – Acted for Morrisons in first data privacy group action
- Atkinson v Equifax (2020) – Representative action in the High Court
- Facebook v ICO (EA/2018/0256) – challenge to monetary penalty issued in respect of the Cambridge Analytica affair
- Vidal-Hall & Ors v Google EWCA Civ 311 (Court of Appeal – compensation for mere distress under the DPA; tracking of internet browsing habits)
Media/privacy – Beyond these large-scale data cases, Anya has extensive experience of dealing with a wide array of media/privacy cases including the following:
- Newman v Southampton City Council  EWCA Civ – Court of Appeal – journalistic access to documents in family law proceedings/Article 8 rights of the child
- Emily Oldknow v Labour Party  EWHC 1028 (QB) – Acted for the Labour Party in respect of a Norwich Pharmacal application brought in connection with the leak of an internal report on the Party’s handling of antisemitism
- Dillian Whyte v CBS Interactive Inc & Boxing Scene (2021, ongoing) – Acting for the publisher/defendant in the context of a privacy claim brought by a leading British boxer in respect of the publication of information concerning a drugs test; judgment on open justice/handling of confidential schedules awaited
- Neil Gerrard v ENRC & Diligence  EWHC 3241 (QB) – Acting for investigations firm defendant in connection with privacy/harassment claims brought by City lawyer in connection with surveillance activities
- NT1/NT2 v Google EWHC 799 – First ‘right to be forgotten case’ to come before the High Court
- B v General Medical Council EWCA 1497 (Court of Appeal – operation of the subject access regime in a mixed data case)
- Magyar Jeti v Hungary(ongoing) – (ECtHR – whether media organisations strictly liable for hyperlinking to unlawful third party content)
- Satakunnan Markkinapörssi Oy and Satamedia Oy v Finland(2018) 66 EHRR 8 (ECtHR – Article 8/Article 10 case on the disclosure of tax data)
- Dawson-Damer v Taylor Wessing EWCA Civ 74 (Court of Appeal – application of the subject access regime/operation of legal privilege exemption)
- Holyoake v Christian Candy EWHC 52 – (High Court – application of legal privilege exemption in subject access/surveillance case)
- Zaw Lin v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis EWHC 2484 – (High Court – whether two men facing the death penalty in connection with the murder of two British tourists in Thailand could use subject access rights to gain access to report held by the Met Police).
- Steinmetz v Global Witness–  (High Court – application of journalistic exemption in the Data Protection Act 1998)
Anya has a burgeoning sports law practice. Recent sports law cases in which she has been involved include the following:
Alexander Zverev v Ace (2020)
Anya recently acted for one of the world’s leading tennis players, Alexander Zverev, in connection with the restraint of trade claim he brought against his former agent, Ace. The case, which was widely reported in sporting circles, ended with Ace conceding the entire claim, together with its own multi-million pound counter-claim in December 2020, the day before the trial of the action. See also the judgment of Hochhauser J on the issue of whether Ace’s expert could be compelled to disclose documents/information concerning alleged ‘comparator’ contracts of other tennis players:  EWHC 3513 (Ch).
Dillian Whyte v CBS Interactive Inc & Boxing Scene (2021, ongoing)
The Claimant is a world-famous professional heavyweight boxer who has held a number of British and international heavyweight titles. He has brought a privacy claim against CBS and Boxing Scene in respect of the publication of information concerning a drugs test result. Anya acts for the defendants.
Project Red Card (2021, ongoing)
Anya is acting for one of the parties involved in this project, which concerns the legality of handling of statistical sports data.
Public & Human Rights
Anya is listed by both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 as a leading practitioner in the field of administrative and public law. She is routinely instructed in public law cases involving complex information rights issues, including Article 8 rights. However, she has also appeared in a wide array of more general public law cases.
Examples of her work in this field include:
- WXYZ v Secretary of State for Health & Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA 1034 (Court of Appeal JR challenge to patient data sharing scheme);
- Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v XYZ (Children) & Secretary of State for Health  1 WLR 2501 (Court of Appeal – application of Article 8 to police-held DNA data)
- R (Plantagenet Alliance) v Secretary of State for Justice & University of Leicester  3 All ER 261 (High Court – judicial review challenge to decision to reinter remains of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral).
Anya is an extremely experienced and highly regarded employment law practitioner. She is recognised as a leading practitioner in this area by both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. Chambers & Partners reports that Anya is ‘repeatedly singled out by respondents for her formidable presence in the employment tribunal, and for the meticulous approach she takes to her instructions’; comments include ‘She is deadly’, ‘Very, very thorough and extremely well prepared’ and a ‘pocket battleship who excels in difficult disputes. Anya’s employment practice covers all types of statutory claims as well as commercial employment disputes. She has appeared three times before the Privy Council in employment cases and is well known for her expertise in territorial jurisdiction (she appeared before the House of Lords in the leading case on territorial jurisdiction: Lawson v Serco).
Examples of Anya’s work in this field includes:
- Various Claimants v Morrisons (group litigation involving claims brought by thousands of Morrisons’ employees in connection with a mass data breach)
- Biber v HSBC (lengthy, high profile race and religious discrimination case for a bank)
- a highly politically-charged whistle-blowing case involving a central London authority
- a substantial high court employment dispute between an ex-CEO and his former employer
- a case involving complex discrimination and victimisation claims brought by a senior lawyer against a world-renowned professional association
Anya is recommended as a Leading Silk in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 in the following categories: Data Protection, Defamation/Privacy, Employment. She is listed as a Star Individual in the Data Protection section of Chambers & Partners, where she is described as taking ‘a leading role in many of the practice area’s most prominent cases, tackling critical disputes in relation to subjects including data breaches, subject access disclosure and the right to be forgotten’. Anya was also named in the Lawyer’s “Hot 100 Lawyers 2019“.
Comments from current and recent editions of the directories include:
“She is formidable in court and is a very commercially savvy barrister.”
“Frighteningly clever – you want her on your side in court”
“Her advocacy is extremely deft, skilful and admirable to watch.”
“Has a super-quick mind, gives clear and sensible advice, instils huge confidence in solicitors and lay clients, and is practical and pragmatic. She also grasps complicated factual circumstances very quickly, and is one of the most talented barristers I have had the pleasure to work with.”
“She’s incredibly bright, commercial and client-friendly; she has a prodigious brain and gets results for the client”
“She is an innovative thinker, who has extraordinary impact on a case”
“An exceptional and very talented new silk. Knocks the competition out of the park”
“A first-class all-rounder and excellent on her feet.”
“She is an excellent advocate who has a really calming influence on clients”
“Likely to play a significant role in shaping the future of this practice area [privacy/defamation].”
“Leading the charge in terms of groundbreaking data protection developments.”
“She is very easy to work with and gets on top of a factually complex case quickly.”
News, Articles & Publications
Anya is a co-founder of any contributor to 11KBW’s highly regarded information law blog: panopticonblog.com.
Contributor to Tolley’s Employment Handbook
University of Cambridge, MA (Cantab)
London School of Economics, PhD (political philosophy)
City University, CPE
Anya is an Inner Temple Scholar.
Anya was awarded the British International Studies Association PhD of the Year for her PhD.