PA Group, the parent company of the UK Press Association, has appointed Kelvin Barker to the newly created role of group head of legal.
Barker takes over the lead legal position from group general counsel Louise Cole, who left the news agency last year to take up an appointment as group general counsel for FTSE International.
He has been promoted to the position after spending the past five years as in-house counsel for Press Association Sport.
Barker originally joined the company from Olswang, where he was an associate.
He told The Lawyer: “This move means I head all legal activity across the group, including the Press Association, Press Association Sport and Press Association Images. This includes responsibility for the group’s contractual, regulatory, risk management and compliance matters.”
The news follows the revelation that Express Newspapers’ longstanding general counsel Stephen Bacon retired last Friday (6 May).
Bacon joined the group shortly after it launched the Daily Star in 1971 and has since established a high profile at the Inns of Court, having held senior positions in the Bar Council for more than a decade.
Bacon is set to join North London firm Hunt & Lisners as a consultant, while Nicole Patterson will succeed him as head of legal.
The changes come as newspaper lawyers await the outcome of Lord Neuberger’s examination of so-called super-injunctions. The Master of the Rolls set up a high-level committee to examine the debate over privacy in June last year.
According to sources close to the committee, Neuberger will reaffirm the judiciary’s jurisdiction to decide individual right to privacy under the Human Rights Act.
One well-placed source said: “There’ll be a call for more openness and proper stats, but that’s all. Injunctions – whether super, hyper or marred – are here to stay.”