Gerald qualified as a solicitor in 1976 and in 1981 founded Steel & Shamash, which merged with Edwards Duthie in 2019. He heads up Edwards Duthie Shamash’s Parliamentary, Electoral and Media Law practice. Gerald has acted as solicitor to the Labour Party since 1990, and is widely regarded as one of the pre-eminent specialists on electoral law in the United Kingdom: Edwards Duthie Shamash is one of only four law firms nationwide ranked in the top tier for election law by the Legal 500. Gerald also represents politicians and other high profile clients in major media and privacy litigation.
Experience & Areas of Expertise
Gerald is a veteran practitioner in media disputes in the High Court, and has represented many politicians, celebrities, business leaders and other high profile clients as either claimants or defendants in the law of defamation (libel/slander). He also advises clients on privacy laws, including the common law torts of breach of confidence and misuse of private information.
Gerald has been heavily involved in the Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation following the phone-hacking scandal relating to the historic conduct of journalists at News Group Newspapers, and has acted for a number of high profile clients in that litigation including Alastair Campbell, Paul Gascoigne, Ted Beckham, Neil & Christine Hamilton and David Mills as well as Lord Jeffrey and Dame Mary Archer, securing substantial damages settlements. Gerald also successfully represented Alan Yentob and Paul Gascoigne in claims of Phone Hacking against the Mirror Group Newspapers securing over £250,000 in damages. He has also played a leading role in the strategic decision-making of the claimant group in the litigation.
Gerald acts for both claimants and defendants in defamation actions, and recent clients include Rt. Hon John Healey MP, Sarah Champion MP and Sir Kevin Barron MP, who Gerald represented in their successful defamation case against UKIP MEP Jane Collins.
Gerald has acted for a number of other politicians and high profile figures in relation to defamation media and privacy claims.
Gerald is recognised as one of the leading practitioners in the country in the very niche area of election law. He has extensive knowledge of all aspects of electoral law, including the regulation of candidates and the regime of corrupt and illegal practices under the Representation of the People Act 1983, and the regulation of registered parties under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
Gerald has been involved in a number of the leading electoral law cases including R v Fiona Jones (1999), Ahmed v Kennedy (2003), Knight v Nicholls (2004) and the Slough Election Petition. He also represented former minister Phil Woolas MP who was lost his Oldham and Saddleworth parliamentary seat following an election court challenge by the Lib Dem candidate Elwyn Watkins.
Gerald’s research was cited in the Law Commission’s 2020 Final Report on the reform of electoral law. He has led overseas delegations of the Law Society’s Human Rights working party and was involved in the establishment of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Gerald’s expertise has brought him into contact with many jurisdictions to lecture, train and advise, including Sweden, Malawi, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Cuba and Russia.
Parliamentary and Local Government Law
Gerald advised and represented members and officers of The Labour Party throughout the police investigation into “cash for honours” and election funding and throughout the police enquiry into the Parliamentary expenses scandal.
He advises both national and local politicians on standards in Parliament and local government, including the register of members’ interests and before the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. He has represented The Labour Party on Parliamentary and local government boundary reviews and at ministerial meetings and conferences.
Politically-sensitive Dispute Resolution
As solicitor to the Labour Party, Gerald acts for both the National Executive Committee and the National Constitutional Committee on disciplinary matters and giving general advice.
In addition to acting as the Labour Party’s solicitor, Gerald has been an active member of the party for over half a century, including eight years representing Labour as a local councillor, and serving as a parliamentary candidate in the 1979 general election, and is thoroughly familiar with all of the party’s internal mechanisms.
‘Gerald Shamash is renowned for his representation of political parties in electoral law matters.‘
‘He’s extremely experienced, knowledgeable and able to navigate the often blurred lines between the legal and political fields. He has excellent political judgement and a strategic legal mind.’
(Chambers and Partners)
‘Gerald Shamash is highly regarded for his work for the Labour Party, advising on legislative proposals, parliamentary rules and the reformation of election law, and is described as ‘peerless’, ‘a legend’, ‘one in a million’, and ‘the god of election law’.’
‘Gerald Shamash’s inside knowledge of clients and their needs is peerless. It gives him a sound tactical sense of where we are trying to go.’
‘Gerald Shamash is a leader in the field of understanding a political party’s legal needs.’
‘This is a dynamic team with unique insights into the inner workings of the Labour party and labyrinthine rules it works under. Top players at the top of their game. Gerald Shamash is a legend in his own lifetime.’
(The Legal 500)
- Trustee of the Hansard Society (2001-present)
- Vice–chair of the Society of Labour Lawyers
- Visiting Professor of Public and Constitutional Law at the University of Derby 2012 – 2015
- Chairman of the Manchester United Supporters Trust (2012- present)