Biography

Core interests: Law and Artificial Intelligence, Social Media Regulation, Ethical Business Regulation, Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and sustainable development especially in technological contexts.

Dr Victoria McCloud sits in London as a judge, as a Queen's Bench Master in the High Court where she manages a wide range of High Court civil cases ranging from defamation to historic child abuse. She is passionate about equality and diversity and was responsible for the seminal case of McCloud and others vs The Ministry of Justice and the Lord Chancellor, establishing the rights of Judges as well as other public sector workers to equal treatment in pension provision irrespective of age, race and gender.  She actively promotes diversity at unversity and in the law, having previously served for many years on the Bar Council Equality and Diversity Committee and serves on the Law Faculty Athena SWAN committee in relation to the content of web materials relating to the Faculty. In August 2018 she presented the second Annual Belfast Pride Law lecture at Queen's University Belfast: Rainbow Lives, Monochrome Laws – Reflections on law and identitySee also an interview with her at this link.

She has always rather split her life between judicial and academic and writing work and has a high output in both fields. She was appointed in 2006 (part time) and then as a full time judge in 2010 having practised as a barrister for 15 years before that in general civil practice. She has experience of managing and hearing serious civil cases such as Historic Abuse cases, Mesothelioma-related death claims, severe personal injury work and others. Some of her judgments appear below. Her psychologically-informed ideas in relation to changing the procedural management of Historic Child Abuse cases have been described in the context of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) as being innovative. In 2018 Victoria was honoured (but very surprised) to be chosen by the 'First 100 Years' project to be one of the 100 role model women in the legal field spanning the first century since women were permitted to practise law in the UK, whose lives are preserved biographically at the British Library for future generations.

Research interests

Victoria is  currently working towards a second D.Phil, at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, and at Green Templeton College, on the socio-legal aspects of social media in the context of elections, applying an Actor-Network Theory approach to studying the ways in which messaging may affect how people identify on-line using symbols and 'digital totems'.

Victoria's first D.Phil. (1993) was funded by the Oxford University Christopher Welch Scholarship in Biological Sciences and was obtained by research in Experimental Psychology in human visual psychophysics, which focussed on the computational means by which the brain integrates sources of depth information received via the visual system. Her first degree was obtained in 1990 from Oxford University, in Experimental Psychology, including an undergraduate research project on human cell model neural networks.

Legal & Judicial

Victoria holds a postgraduate Diploma in Law from City University and qualified as a barrister in 1995. She practised as a barrister from 1995 until her judicial appointment in 2010. She was appointed as a deputy Costs Judge in 2006 & then as a Master of the Queen’s Bench Division in 2010, as the second female QB Master. In 2017 she was additionally re-appointed as a Deputy Costs Judge in which cacapity she served until 2020. In 2015 she recieved judicial training at the Hague Institute for Global Justice, on the Prosecution of Crimes Against Humanity, & War Crimes.

Surveillance, Intelligence, Privacy, Cyberwarfare and Security

She has a technolgical slant in much of what she does. Her books include 'The Surveillance & Intelligence Law Handbook' (OUP). See also ‘Suing in Cyberspace’ in ‘Publications’, and she has also acted as an expert witness to Parliament about the impact of surveillance on society, in 2007. She is  an Associate Member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) and a Member of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). She received Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) training on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in 2005.


 

University and professional involvement:
 
Law Faculty Athena SWAN website committee, Oxford.
Equal Treatment Bench Book committee, HM Judiciary.
One of the 100 Women (1919-2019) in the First 100 Years exhbit and archive.
Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society (BPS)
Chartered Psychologist of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PsSI)
International affiliate member of the American Psychological Association (APA).
 
Selected appearances, conferences and panels:
 
Forthcoming:
24 September 2020, Judicial speaker and panellist at the Costs Law Reports Annual Conference in London, on the subject of recent changes to court procedures in relation to 'costs budgeting
22 September 2020 Judicial Panel at the annual RelativityFest conference in Chicago (held online this year, 21-23 September) on the subject of developments in the law relating to electronic disclosure/discovery and international privacy law, presenting in particular a discussion of the CJEU decision in 'Schrems II' relating to the 'privacy shield provisions' the GDPR and relationships between EU and US law in those fields. She appeared together with Judge Xavier Rodriguez (US District Judge, Texas), Justice Tanya Kennedy, New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Judge William Matthewman, US Magistrate, Florida, and Judge Joy F Conti, 49th Commissioned Judge, Western District of Pennsylvania.
18 September 2020 presenting the Annual National Paralegal Awards in London in relation to the annual best Civil Litigation Paralegal.
Past:
14 May 2020, RelativityFest 2020 London: "e-Disclosure and the Pilot Scheme: Judicial, Practitioner, and Technology Perspectivestogether with Erica Albertson, Head of eDiscovery Solutions, Simmons & Simmons, Ed Crosse, Partner, Simmons & Simmons Kushal Gandhi, Partner, CMS and David Horrigan, Discovery Counsel & Legal Education Director, Relativity.
4 March 2020, The British Legal Technology Forum 2020 at Old Billingsgate, London. "Online Courts and the Transformation of Litigaton" moderated by Professor Richard Susskind OBE  President, Society for Computers & Law. Subjects covered included: Online courts & online dispute resolution, Online judging & decision-making, The impact on lawyers & law firms, Can AI replace  judges.
3 March 2020Celebrating 40 years of women at Christ Church: careers event for women - panellist, Christ Church, Oxford.
29 February 2020, Judge of the final of The LSE-Featherstone Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Moot - London School of Economics.
11 February 2020, "The Future of Legal Practice' lecture series: panel discussion on legal tech developments in the courts and in major law firms” panellist at King’s College London.
28 January 2020, "Gender Equality in the Legal Profession: Maintaining the momentum for change" - panel at King’s College London.
3 December 2019, “Judicial Diversity: Should LGBT+ representation matter?” panellist  at Gray’s Inn, London, together with the Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, and Deputy District Judge Dorothea Gartland, which was chaired by Her Honour Judge Judith Rowe QC.
6 November 2019,  "A Conversation with Master McCloud" in celebration of the 100th anniversary of legal changes which first allowed women to become lawyers in the UK, which included a live panel session in the City of London, and publication of a film interview.
 

Interview, podcast and other web material:

Queen's University Belfast Podcast Interview 2017
First 100 Years project, interview
Wikipedia entry
 

 


 

 

Selected publications:

Judicial Early Neutral Evaluation’ (2020) in Amicus Curiae, Series 2, Vol 1, No 3, 497-510.'Rainbow Lives, Monochrome Laws' (2018) Second Annual Queen's Belfast Pride Law Lecture.
'Suing in Cyberspace',  (2017) 36(1) CJQ 34-50.
'Court processes in Historic Child Sexual Abuse Claims: A view from the Bench - seminar at Barts and the London Hospital, academic session for psychiatrists, 1 November 2017
Author/editorial team of “Civil Procedure” (aka The White Book), (Sweet & Maxwell) (2000- present).
The Jackson ADR Handbook (2013 onwards), OUP, Editorial Board.
The Civil Procedure Handbook (OUP, annual editions between 2004-2012).
'Privacy Impact & the Social Aspects of Public Surveillance,' [2007] Evidence for the House of Lords Committee on the Constitution inquiry into the impact of surveillance and data collection (written and oral evidence). Adopted in the final report of that committee.
'Privacy Impact Assessment and Public Space Surveillance', Covert Policing Review [2007] Vol. 2 p4-17.
Contributor & General Editor, “Personal Injury Precedents & Pleadings” and “The Personal Injury Claims Manual” (Sweet & Maxwell, 2004-2006).
The Fast Track Practice (Sweet and Maxwell, 1999) (Sub Nom. Williams)
Civil and Criminal Procedure (Sweet and Maxwell, 1999) (Sub Nom. Williams)
 
Early work:
D.Phil (Oxon) (1993) “An experimental investigation of Depth Cue Interaction”
Depth Cue Interaction, in Invest. Ophth. Vis. Sci (1992) (Abstract). (Sub Nom. Williams).

Selected judgments (as judge):

In Re W, F, C and D (minors) (name changes disclosing gender reassignment and other matters), [2020] EWHC 279 (QB), Children's rights to privacy in relation to the publication of name changes after gender reassignment.

Telecom Centre (UK) Ltd v Thomas Sanderson Ltd [2020] EWHC 368 (QB) - Judgment on the principles and practice of Judicial Early Neutral Evaulation in Civil claims in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court.

Gannon and Warsama vs Sasha Wass QC, The Wass Inquiry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2018] EWHC 1461 (QB) claim in relation to the British Oversea Territory of St Helena “Wass” inquiry into alleged systematic child abuse. Issues which Victoria had to decide included in particular (1) the exact scope of the constitutional doctrine of Parliamentary Privilege under the Bill of Rights 1689, Article 9, and (2) the question whether a QC acting as the Tribunal head can be sued under the Human Rights Act 1998 as a limb of the State.

Dring vs Cape Asbestos [2017] EWHC 3154, first instance judgment holding that in principle the common law permits public access to court documents ant not solely those permitted expressly by court rules. Reversed by the Court of Appeal but affirmed on that point at Supreme Court level.

Ajayi v Abu and Abu [2017] EWHC 1946 (QB), judgment on liability for human trafficking and modern slavery/labour exploitation.

Woodburn v Thomas [2017] EWHC B16 (Costs), judgment as to best practice in drafting bills in cost budgeted cases.

Caretech Community Services Ltd v Oakden & Ors [2017] EWHC 1944 (QB), judgment on correct approach to issues as to validity of service of court claims.

Jones v Chichester Harbour Conservancy & Ors [2017] EWHC 2270 (QB), judgment on correct approach to issues as to validity of service of court claims.

Nadhim Zahawi MP v Press TV & Press TV Limited [2017] EWHC 695 (QB), claim against Iranian State media in respect of ‘fake news’ on the internet.

Michael Foster v Iain McNicol, (Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP applying) [2016] EWHC 1836 (QB), decision to permit the Leader of the Opposition to joined to be heard in argument over the interpretation of Labour Party election rules.

Malik v Donald Trump [2016] EWHC 2011 (QB), judgment in relation to right of a Muslim man to sue for defamation in respect of statements made by Mr Donald Trump in the course of the US election campaign 2016 about Muslims in London.

Yates v Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs [2014] EWHC 2311 (QB). High Court procedure for HMRC to disclose employment histories in asbestos claims.

Andrew Mitchell MP v Express Group Newspapers [2013] EWHC 2355 (QB) Principles of relief from sanctions, and costs budgeting in civil cases.

 

Research Interests

Regulation of Autonomous/Artificially Intelligent Technologies with the power to affect human welfare.

Impact of Court procedure on victims of historic child abuse.

Ethical Business Regulation.

Future of Humanity.

Research projects