Who? Zillur Rahman, partner, Rahman Lowe Solicitors, London. 

Zillur Rahman

Why is he in the news? Represents Oxford University student Melika Gorgianeh, who received substantial damages and an apology from Baroness Jacqueline Foster, a Conservative peer, after being falsely accused on social media platform ‘X’ of antisemitism following an appearance on BBC show University Challenge.

Thoughts on the case: ‘The defamatory statements were made by a person in a position of power, authority and respect, and were therefore likely to carry far greater weight and impact than those made by less prominent figures. Baroness Foster holds a DBE, and as a life peer, she is literally a member of the ruling class of British society. The many people who read the post would therefore have believed that our client was antisemitic and guilty of criminally deploying Nazi propaganda. It is deeply disturbing to see a senior figure in UK politics attacking and weaponising antisemitism against a young female Muslim student in this way. Foster’s apology, and her payment of substantial damages, goes some way to healing the damage that she has caused to our client.’

Posting an apology on X, Foster accepted that the allegations were ‘completely false and unfounded’ and that she had made a ‘grave mistake in making those posts’.

Dealing with the media: ‘The media’s reaction has been great. It has been covered by all the major publications (BBC, Guardian, The Times, Independent, Al-Jazeera, among others). I am pleased that the reaction has been so positive, particularly as Melika had already suffered a great deal. She deserves credit for having shown immense courage in the face of such appalling attacks.’

Why become a lawyer? ‘My dad’s aspirations for me is what first lit the spark – he died when I was nine. Later in life, reading about charismatic figures such as Mandela, Gandhi, who were both lawyers, as well as Malcolm X, who desired to be a lawyer, cemented the idea.’

Career high: ‘The recent employment tribunal claim of David Miller v University of Bristol. This landmark claim established for the first time that anti-Zionism is a protected belief under the Equality Act 2010.’

Career low: ‘Seeing the abolition of recovering success fees in defamation claims as this has made it more difficult for ordinary people and those from less privileged backgrounds to pursue claims against large media corporations.’