Eric Barendt

Eric Barendt

BCL, M.A. (Oxon.)

Emeritus Professor of Media Law, Senior Teaching Fellow and Barrister, Gray’s Inn

Eric Barendt was Goodman Professor of Media Law at University College London between 1990 – 2010; it was the first chair in media law in the United Kingdom. Previously he had been teaching at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford from 1971. He has held Visiting Professorships at Rome (1991), Siena (1996), Paris II (1999), Melbourne (2003) and Auckland (2007). In addition to teaching at those universities, he has given lectures and seminars at the European University Institute in Fiesole, Hamburg, Siegen, Münster, Sydney, Canberra, and Dunedin. He was principal editor of the Yearbook of Copyright and Media Law (Oxford University Press) from 1995 to 2001/2, and will be an editor of a new Media and Communications Law Review to be published by Hart from 2009. He has given informal advice, and formal evidence, to the House of Commons Culture, Media, and Sport Committee on Privacy and Media Intrusion (2003), and he gave evidence to the Joint Committee of the House of Lords and House of Commons on the Draft Communications Bill (2002). He has given advice on freedom of expression issues to the government of Turkey, the European Community Cigarette Manufacturers, and the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission.



Eric Barendt’s principal research has been concerned with freedom of speech/expression and related constitutional and legal questions. These have generally had a comparative dimension, as shown in his books, Freedom of Speech, (2nd ed, 2005) and Broadcasting Law (1993). He has also written a book on constitutional law for the prestigious Clarendon Law series published by Oxford University Press (1998), which has also published his study of the empirical impact of libel law on the media, written with three other authors (1997).

He has taken a particular interest in the relationship of libel and privacy law to freedom of speech in both English and European Convention law.

Next year, Eric Barendt will be starting a study of the legal protection of academic freedom from a comparative perspective, which will lead to the publication of a monograph.

View Eric’s research profile on the UCL IRIS website




Freedom of Speech (2nd edn, Oxford University Press, 2005).
Media Law: Cases and Materials with Lesley Hitchens (Longman, 2000).
Introduction to Constitutional Law (OUP, 1998).
Libel and the Media: the chilling effect (OUP, 1997).
Broadcasting Law (OUP, 1993).

Book Chapters

‘Libel, Privacy and Freedom of Expression’ in The Judicial House of Lords: 1876-2009, ed. by Sir Louis Blom-Cooper and others (OUP, 2009).
‘The United States and Canada: State Action, Constitutional Rights, and Private Actors’ in Human Rights and the Private Sphere, ed. by J Fedtke and D Oliver (Routledge-Cavendish, 2007).
‘Free Speech and Religion: Secular and Religious Perspectives on Truth’ in Censorial Sensitivities: Free Speech and Religion in a Fundamentalist World, ed. by A Sajo (Eleven International Publishing, 2007).
‘Privacy and Freedom of Expression’ in New Dimensions in Privacy Law, ed. by A Kenyon and M Richardson (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Recent Articles

‘Freedom of Expression after the Human Rights Act 1998’, (2009) Indiana Law Journal, 84 (3), 851-866
‘Free Speech and Abortion’, (2003) Public Law, 580-591.
‘The Impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on the Law of Libel’, (2001/2) 6 Yearbook of Copyright and Media Law, 141-57.
‘Defamation and Fiction’, (1999) Law and Literature: Current Legal Issues, 2, 481-98.
‘What is the Point of Libel Law?’ (1999) 52 Current Legal Problems, 111-25.


Current Teaching

Jurisprudence & Legal Theory

Media Law, Libel and Privacy
Principles of Media Regulation (convenor)