Senior Lecturer

Open Access Champion

LLB (Hons), Dip LP, Solicitor, PhD
View my full research profile


Gillian Black is a Senior Lecturer in Law, with teaching and research interests in family law, particularly adult relationships, parent/child relationships, and heraldry.  She also researches contract law, and privacy and data protection.  Before joining Edinburgh Law School as a Lecturer in 2005, Gillian qualified as a solicitor with Shepherd & Wedderburn in Edinburgh, working in their Commercial Contracts division, and then spent 18 months as a teaching assistant in the School of Law at the University of Glasgow.  She completed her PhD on publicity rights in Scots law part-time between 2005-2009.

Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes

Family law; all fields of interest

Current Research Interests

Gillian’s work to date has focused on two strands:  personality rights, through privacy and publicity rights; and contract law.  Her publications include Publicity Rights and Image: Exploitation and Legal Control (Hart, 2011), arising from her PhD; the first Scots law title on Data Protection for the Stair Memorial Encyclopedia; and the latest edition of Woolman on Contract.  She is now building on this work in the field of relationships and family law, firstly through an exploration of privacy and personality within families, and secondly, the use of contracts to regulate aspects of family relationships, including pre-nuptial agreements and financial provision on separation.


Dr Gillian Black's Homepage at Edinburgh Law School

Publicity Rights (Research in a Nutshell)

Courses Taught

Comparative Family Law: Adult Relationship (LLM) (Course Organiser)

Contract (Honours) (Course Organiser)

Data Protection and Information Privacy (LLM)

Legal Issues in Adult Relationships (Honours) (Course Organiser)

PhD Supervisees

Daniel Torres Goncalves  'The role of law interpretation to the protection of Digital Identity Rights'

Catriona McMillan  'How adequate are the present regulations and regulatory structure as a means of dealing with legal and ethical issues that arise from the use of embryos for research and artificial reproduction?'

Leslie Stevens  'A contextual approach to the information governance of personal and sensitive personal data used for research.'

Books and Reports

Gillian Black, Woolman on Contract, (W. Green, 2014)

Gillian Black, David Cabrelli, Martin Hogg, Laura Macgregor, Contract Law Update, 2010-2012, (Trinity Law, 2012)
Abstract: This is the second edition of 'Contract Law Update', a text aimed at providing summaries and analysis of major contract cases from Scottish and English law. The cases discussed include coverage of: - Pre-contractual liability - Formation of contract - Incorporation of terms - Contractual interpretation - Implication of terms - Unfair terms - Remedies for breach of contract - Contract and unilateral promise - Contract and unjustified enrichment - The contract of agency The work will be of valuable assistance to both practitioners and law students.

Gillian Black, Publicity Rights and Image: Exploitation and Legal Control, (Hart Publishing, 2011)
Abstract: Academics and practitioners are currently divided on the issues involved in permitting and regulating the commercial exploitation of publicity. 'Publicity' is the practice of using an individual's name, image and reputation to promote products or to provide media coverage, often in gossip magazines and the tabloid press. This book provides a theoretical and multi-jurisdictional review of the nature of publicity practice and its appropriate legal regulation. This book includes a detailed exploration of the justifications advanced in favour of publicity rights and those that are advanced against. Removing the analysis from any one jurisdiction this book examines current academic and judicial perspectives on publicity rights in a range of jurisdictions, drawing out similarities and differences, and revealing a picture of current thinking and practice which is intellectually incoherent. By then clearly defining the practice of publicity and examining justifications for and against, the author is able to bring the nature and shape of the right of publicity into much sharper focus. This book includes a careful consideration of possible limits to any right of publicity, the potential for assigning publicity rights or transferring them post mortem, and whether defences can be offered. The author concludes by arguing for a publicity right which provides a degree of protection for the individual but which is significantly curtailed to recognise valid competing interests. This is a work which will be of interest to academics and practitioners working in the field of publicity, privacy and intellectual property.

Gillian Black, Business Law in Scotland, (W.Green, 2011)

Gillian Black, Woolman on Contract, (W. Green, 2010)

Gillian Black, Josephine Bisacre, James P. Chalmers, Stuart Cross, Business Law in Scotland, (W. Green, 2008)


Gillian Black, Rachael Craufurd-Smith, Smita Kheria, Gerard Porter, 'Scotland the Brand – Marketing the Myth? ', (2015), Scottish Affairs, Vol 24, pp 47-77
Abstract: The paper considers the role of Scottish culture and history, real or imagined, in the commercialisation of iconic Scottish creations such as tartan and Scotch whisky. It notes that many of the forms of legal protection available to the producers of such products were developed to encourage individual innovation, not designed to address communal interests in the preservation of national or group identities and heritage. This may be one reason why, as is illustrated by the case of tartan, these rights offer patchy and incomplete protection to ‘authentic’ Scottish products. Over time, however, the UK has developed various forms of collective protection for cultural products such as Harris Tweed, the effectiveness of which is explored in this article. The final part of the paper considers the importance, in a globalising world, of European Union and international protection for valuable cultural ‘products’. But protection, whether at the national or international level, necessitates a difficult balance to be drawn between the interest in cultural innovation and development, on the one hand, and cultural preservation and the protection of the commercial interests of specific communities, on the other. The article concludes by exploring some of the practical and conceptual challenges associated with determining whether a product should be considered part of the cultural patrimony of the world or, rather, the property of a specific nation or cultural group.

Gillian Black, 'Error Reduced ', (2015), Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 19, pp 140-146

Gillian Black, 'When is a Parent not a Parent?: CS v KS and JS and the Question of Genetic Parentage or Social Parenting', (2015), Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 19, pp 263-268

Gillian Black, 'The Law Relating to Parent and Child in Scotland, by AB Wilkinson and Kenneth McK Norrie ', (2014), Scots Law Times, pp 97

Gillian Black, Leslie Stevens, 'Enhancing Data Protection and Data Processing in the Public Sector: The Critical Role of Proportionality and the Public Interest', (2013), SCRIPTed, Vol 10, pp 93-122
Abstract: Data protection in the public sector has suffered from a number of high profile breaches over the last decade, revealing a culture of weak compliance, especially in comparison with that in the private sector. This article examines certain factors which make public sector data processing distinct, and how the lack of clarity regarding the routes to legitimate processing may be exacerbating these problems. By closely examining the jurisprudence regarding Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998, which provides the legitimate bases for data processing, we reveal the current problems public sector data controllers face in determining whether their processing is “necessary” and therefore legitimate. We determine that the test of necessity is reliant on proportionality, requiring the interest in processing the personal data to be balanced against the data subjects’ data protection and privacy interests. This in turn requires a detailed consideration of the public interests at stake, in providing the public services and respecting the personal data involved. We conclude by providing a structured and coherent three-step test for data controllers to apply in reaching their decision. This test focuses on the critical issues in balancing the competing interests, enabling data controllers to take a principle-based decision as to whether or not their processing is indeed in the public interest, proportionate and necessary – and therefore ultimately legitimate. This three-step test offers greater clarity for data controllers, which in turn should enhance the rigour of their data processing, thereby strengthening the data protection culture and benefiting data controllers, data subjects, and the public at large.

Gillian Black, 'Privacy Considered and Jurisprudence Consolidated: Ferdinand v MGN Ltd', (2012), European Intellectual Property Review, Vol 34, pp 64-69

Gillian Black, 'Michael Furmston and G J Tolhurst, Contract Formation: Law and Practice ', (2011), Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 15, pp 507-09
Abstract: Book review.

Gillian Black, 'Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law. Ed by Geraint Howells, Iain Ramsay and Thomas Wilhelmsson with David Kraft Cheltenham ', (2011), Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 15, pp 509-10

Gillian Black, 'Exploiting Image: Making a Case for the Legal Regulation of Publicity Rights in the United Kingdom', (2011), European Intellectual Property Review, pp 413-18

Gillian Black, 'Formation of Contract: The Role of Contractual Intention and Email Disclaimers', (2011), Juridical Review, Vol 2011, pp 97-119

Gillian Black, 'Rights of Personality in Scots Law: A Comparative Perspective. Ed by Niall R Whitty and Reinhard Zimmermann ', (2010), Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 14, pp 541-43
Abstract: Book review.

Gillian Black, 'Publicity and Image Rights in Scots Law ', (2010), Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 14, pp 364-84

Gillian Black, 'JUSTIFYING PRIVATE LAW REMEDIES. Ed by Charles E F Rickett ', (2009), Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 13, pp 168-69

Gillian Black, 'OK! for Some: Douglas v Hello! in the House of Lords', (2007), Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 11, pp 402-07

Gillian Black, 'Beverley-Smith, Ohly and Lucas-Schloetter: Privacy, Property and Personality: Civil Law Perspectives on Commercial Appropriation', (2007), Modern Law Review, Vol 70, pp 167-70

Gillian Black, 'Editorial: Douglas v Hello! - An OK! Result ', (2007), SCRIPTed, Vol 4, pp 161-65

Gillian Black, 'WS Karoulias SA v The Drambuie Liqueur Company Ltd - Analysis ', (2006), Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 10, pp 132-40

Gillian Black, Thomas Petz, Vincent Sagaert, Kim Ostergaard, Christina Tvarno, Andreas Tamasaukas, Walter Cairns, Juha Vesala, Valerie Pironon, Matthias Hunert, Eugenia Dacoronia, Marie Ni Shuilleabhain, Raffaele Caterina, Michael Milo, Paul Mota Pinto, Miquel Martin-Casals, Jordi Ribot Igualada, Albert Ruda Gonzalez, 'Recent Case Law/Arrêts récents/Aktuelle Gerichtsentscheidungen ', (2006), European Review of Private Law, pp 239-81
Abstract: Scottish case reports.

Gillian Black, 'Producers and Consumers in E-Commerce Law, by John Dickie ', (2006), International Journal of Law and Information Technology, Vol 14, pp 250-52

Gillian Black, 'A New Experience in Contract Damages?: Reflections on Experience Hendrix v PPX Enterprises Ltd', (2005), Juridical Review, pp 31

Gillian Black, 'The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005 ', (2005), Scots Law Times, pp 183

Gillian Black, 'Database Rights and Wrongs ', (2004), Scots Law Times, pp 147

Gillian Black, 'The Cult of Celebrity and Trade Marks: The Next Instalment', (2004), SCRIPTed, Vol 1, pp 230-240
Abstract: In response to the increasing use of registered trade marks by celebrities to protect their names from exploitation, the UK Trade Marks Registry has recently issued guidance on registration of "famous names". This article seeks to examine the implications of the guidance in light of the existing legislative framework forregistration of a personal name and recent judicial developments, together with examples of some famous names that have been granted registered protection.

Gillian Black, 'Data Protection Law in Light of Durant v Financial Services Authority ', (2004), Juridical Review, pp 295


Gillian Black, 'Exclusive Privilege Adam Smith, John Millar, and the Creation of a New Real Right?' in Ross G. Anderson, James Chalmers, John Macleod (ed.) Glasgow Tercentenary Essays (Avizandum Publishing 2014) 20-53

Gillian Black, 'Contract Formation and Non-Performance in Scots Law ' in Reiner Schulze, Fryderyk Zoll (ed.) The Law of Obligations in Europe (Sellier 2013) 245

Gillian Black, 'Recent Developments in Publicity Rights in the UK Where Now for Celebrities?' in Hugh H. Hansen (ed.) Intellectual Property Law and Practice (Hart Publishing 2010)

Gillian Black, 'Data Protection ' in The Laws of Scotland (The Law Society of Scotland/LexisNexis 2010)

Gillian Black, 'Office of Fair Trading v MB Designs (Scotland) Limited and Others ' in Geraint Howells, Annette Nordhausen, Deborah Parry, Christian Twigg-Flesner (ed.) The Yearbook of Consumer Law 2007 (Ashgate Publishing Ltd. 2007) 411-16
Abstract: A review of the judgment in this case, which was the first action of its kind in Scotland by the OFT for interim enforcement orders under the Enterprise Act 2002.

Conference Papers

Gillian Black, 'Superinjunctions: Scotching the Myths' 2011
Abstract: Presented at 'Scottish Privacy Forum', Stirling

Gillian Black, 'The Dignitarian Rationale for a Right of Publicity ' 2011

Gillian Black, 'Data Protection and Devolution ' 2011

Gillian Black, 'Formation of Contract: Consensus or Intention?' presented at The Role of Consent in Contract Law: Principles and Practice Edinburgh United Kingdom 2009