Sport - London (Bar)
Blackstone Chambers is the pre-eminent set in the sports law sector in terms of both size and the expertise it can offer. Its extremely impressive array of barristers consistently handle some of the biggest cases around, and represent major sports governing bodies, sports teams, broadcasters and individuals. Whilst the set advises on sports disputes across all areas of law with great distinction, it is particularly strong in areas where sport crosses over with public law, EU/competition, commercial law, human rights and employment law. One client said: "They are my first choice for sport. I trust them. You need people who know how to take the right approach and people who will work and meet deadlines, and I know Blackstone barristers will do that." Another client added: "Blackstone is extremely client-focused, commercial and user-friendly."
Client service: "The clerking team is excellent, very approachable and willing to help." "Client service at Blackstone is genuinely second to none."
Adam Lewis QC
An undoubted star at the Bar for sports law. He is particularly well known for his expertise in sports law cases involving aspects of competition, administrative and public law. He is regularly instructed by sports governing bodies, amongst other high-profile clients.
Expertise: "Adam Lewis is first-class and has a fierce intellect." "He would always be my first choice for sports disputes. He is extremely bright, approachable and easy to work with. He always gets the right answer and understands the commercial objectives of clients."
Recent work: He acted for the Welsh Rugby Union in its successful defence of Pontypool’s High Court challenge to the decision that other clubs rather than Pontypool itself should play in the premier division the following season.
Ian Mill QC
A heavyweight at the Bar, who is regularly involved in a diverse range of sports cases. He is often directly instructed by sports governing bodies, and handles disciplinary issues, employment cases, IP conflicts and commercial disputes.
Expertise: "He is a very aggressive advocate, which is what you need, and he is very knowledgeable." "He doesn't lose sight of the fact that presenting the client in the best possible light is the most important thing in a case."
Recent work: He has been acting for the England & Wales Cricket Board in its successful prosecution of Pakistani spinner Danesh Kaneria over allegations of involvement in spot fixing.
David Pannick QC
Enjoys a strong reputation, especially for complex and high-stakes cases. He is instructed on a broad range of sporting matters, including those with EU/competition, administrative and public law, employment and human rights aspects.
Expertise: "He is a superb advocate and a man with a first-class intellect. His clear and persuasive style is ideally suited to sports law tribunals."
Recent work: He acted for the British Olympic Association in the Court of Arbitration for Sport concerning its rule that any athlete previously found to have breached doping control would not be selected to represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games.
Michael Beloff QC
Extremely highly regarded across a wide range of sports disputes. He has been particularly active representing athletes over their non-selection for the Olympic Games.
Expertise: "He is still at the top of his game, and thinks and reacts very quickly. Submissions are put in a succinct but forceful way without being demeaning, and he makes his points simply and persuasively." "He is an excellent thinker, who is good on the more esoteric points."
Recent work: He successfully represented Leeds United FC against West Yorkshire Police in a highly publicised case concerning the policing of land owned by the football club.
Andrew Hunter QC
A highly respected member of the Bar, who brings his experience in commercial disputes and commercial arbitration to bear in the sports area.
Expertise: "He is so succinct, and so frighteningly bright." "He has a phenomenal command of the law, which he seems able to draw on at a moment's notice, and he is excellent with clients. He's able to express himself reassuringly, compellingly and in plain English."
Recent work: He represented Mohammed Bin Hammam in his successful appeal to the CAS in July 2012 against a lifetime ban for alleged corruption.
Paul Goulding QC
Has been particularly active in employment cases and frequently acts on disputes between football clubs, agents and players.
Expertise: "He has gravitas in spades. He manages to command a huge amount of respect, and he is knowledgeable and in command."
Andrew Green QC
Has a strong general commercial practice and regularly advises on contract disputes and disciplinary matters.
Expertise: "He is exceptionally bright and analytical, whilst also extremely user-friendly. An impressive operator, he is a joy to work with, and he's incredibly responsive. On contract matters he is direct; he'll call a spade a spade and give it to us straight."
Recent work: Acted for the RFU in an appeal by London Welsh against the RFU’s decision that London Welsh were not eligible to be promoted to the Premiership.
Robert Howe QC
Has been particularly active in representing governing bodies, clubs and companies in media rights, merchandising and sponsorship matters.
Expertise: "He is very understated but effective and gets on with the job. He does what is necessary and pitches the case in exactly the right way to the judge."
Recent work: He was instructed by a Premier League club in substantial dispute over the termination of merchandising arrangements.
Pushpinder Saini QC
Has a strong reputation for his work in the broadcasting and sports rights arena, and is instructed in regulatory, disciplinary and contract disputes as well. He has been particularly active in football and cricket cases.
Expertise: "He is very punchy, to-the-point and a straight talker." "I found him to be very robust, responsive and user-friendly."
Recent work: He acted for the Indian Premier League against Mohammed Asif in the first prosecution of a cricketer for taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Kate Gallafent QC
"A dynamic junior," who has regularly been involved in doping cases as well as other wider disciplinary proceedings. She has also advised sports bodies on child protection issues.
Expertise: "She combines sharp intellect with eloquence and expert knowledge of the subject area. Utterly charming, she is efficient and an absolute delight to work with."
Recent work: She appeared on behalf of the RFU against Jonathan Spelman in the prosecution of an anti-doping violation by a minor.
Jane Mulcahy QC
Has an extremely good reputation and is one of the standout new silks for sports matters at the Bar. She is regularly instructed on employment matters and has extensive experience in disciplinary matters as well as agents' disputes.
Expertise: "She is excellent, as she's a good advocate and a safe pair of hands."
Nick De Marco
An extremely able barrister with extensive experience, especially in football finance and third-party ownership cases. He also handles disciplinary procedures, doping cases and contact disputes.
Expertise: "Adopts unusual but highly attractive stances when handling his cases, and comes up with points the average counsel would struggle to think of." "He's both urbane and technically very good."
Recent work: He represented Joey Barton in the disciplinary proceedings brought against him by The FA for violent misconduct following his dismissal from the Manchester City v QPR game in May 2012.
Has acted in matters relating to a number of different sports, and enjoys a great reputation for handling cases that have distinct EU and competition law aspects.
Expertise: "He is bright, a great advocate and extremely user-friendly."
Recent work: He acted for Nike in relation to its advertising and marketing before and during the London 2012 Games, ensuring that it complied with the relevant restrictions.
A commercial law practitioner, who is well regarded for his ability to transfer this experience across to the sports sector. He has been instructed in boxing, rugby and football cases, to name but a few.
Expertise: "He is exceptionally bright, hard-working and an automatic choice if you need a junior on a legally challenging case."
Recent work: He represented boxing promoters Eddie and Barry Hearn and their company, Matchroom, in resisting a claim brought by Frank Warren and his company concerning the alleged poaching of a boxer, Tony Bellew.
Has been instructed by clients across a wide range of sports to handle doping cases, ticket touting, Olympic selection disputes and contract cases. He is also highly regarded for his work on disciplinary matters.
Expertise: "He has been fantastic to work with. His knowledge and his ability to pick up a case quickly and efficiently and understand the principles of it have been great."
Recent work: Acted for Russian weightlifter Dmitry Lapikov in an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a four-year anti-doping ban imposed by the International Weightlifting Federation.
Has particular expertise in the media and entertainment and commercial sectors, and brings this experience into his sports disputes. He is most noted for tackling football-related matters, but does handle other sports as well, including golf.
Expertise: "He is very gifted and very clever, and he gets right to the point. He is personable, approachable and easy to speak to."
Recent work: He has been acting as sole counsel advising a Premier League club in a dispute over a shirt sponsorship agreement.
2 Bedford Row continues to enjoy an excellent reputation for its work in the sports sector, and regularly uses its expertise in criminal and fraud cases to act for leading sporting individuals and organisations accused of criminal wrong-doing. It also advises clients on aspects of various sports' rules and regulations.
Client service: "We like the way they operate. Everyone is aware of the issues the set deals with and they are very discreet. They are exceptionally professional."
Jim Sturman QC
Remains one of the most respected barristers in this area, and is a driving force at the set. He has extensive experience in both football and rugby cases, but is capable of handing all sorts of sports-related sports disputes. He has an extremely strong track record in acting on disciplinary cases, and, such is his reputation, he sits as the chairman of the RFU appeals panel. He is increasingly active in corruption and match-fixing cases, and has acted on numerous agents' disputes.
Expertise: "He brings his outside knowledge and experiences on the criminal side to bear on our cases." "He does exceptionally good work on paper, but he is also a top-drawer advocate." One solicitor commented: "He has better judgement than goal-line technology."
Recent work: He acted for Mohammed Bin Hammam in his successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his conviction on various breaches of the FIFA ethics code.
Mark Milliken-Smith QC
Particularly active on disciplinary, spot-fixing and gambling-related cases in cricket and rugby especially. He has also been regularly instructed on anti-doping cases and has acted for clients on boxing, football and equestrian cases. He routinely handles a good deal of direct access work.
Expertise: "I instruct him on a variety of matters and am comfortable using him on anything significant." "He is charmingly persuasive."
Recent work: He acted for a Championship footballer among nine individuals charged with serious breaches of the anti-corruption rules by the British Horseracing Authority.
4 New Square is increasingly well regarded for its sports work, most notably in the horse racing area, due in part to Graeme McPherson QC's expertise. The set has also demonstrated its diversity by handling disputes in rugby, football, motor racing, boxing and athletics.
Client service: "The set provides an excellent all-round client service and a fine clerking team."
Graeme McPherson QC
Has undoubted expertise and earns widespread praise for the work he does in horse racing cases. Of late he has also been noticeably active in athletics, especially on anti-doping issues.
Expertise: "He has a very personable manner – he is superb in front of a tribunal and is a really good advocate. He is also a sensible person to go to for advice."
Recent work: He was instructed by the British Horseracing Authority to oppose attempts by Richard Hughes, the 2012 champion jockey, to overturn a 50-day suspension imposed in India.
Regularly instructed on horse racing and athletics cases, and works for both the British Horseracing Authority and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). He is regularly involved in disciplinary, anti-doping and sponsorship cases.
Recent work: He acted for the IAAF in its appeal to Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland over the decision of the Doping Committee of the Hungarian National Anti-doping Organisation to exonerate Hungarian discus thrower Zoltán Kövágó from any sanction.
Has a strong reputation for his work in sports disciplinary cases and the anti-doping arena. He also has a strong commercial practice which complements the work he does in boxing, motor sport and football.
Expertise: "He gives authoritative, user-friendly and well-judged advice. Although busy, he is great at making himself available at short notice."
Recent work: He was instructed to represent Ashley Theophane, a professional boxer and British champion in the light-welterweight division, in a dispute with former agent Hennessy Promotions.
Charles Hollander QC of Brick Court Chambers
Has been instructed on a diverse range of cases relating to a number of sports, including motor racing, football, boxing, yachting and swimming. He has prominent commercial litigation and EU/competition expertise.
Recent work: He represented Frank Warren and other promoters in a dispute with the boxing regulator over authorisation for the Haye v Chisora fight.
Caspar Glyn QC of Cloisters
Has been particularly active in football cases, often acting on complex contractual disputes. He also transfers his renowned employment expertise to those matters in the sports sector that require it.
Expertise: "He is pugnacious. Suitably aggressive, he will fight his client's corner, and won't be cowed by names on the panel."
Recent work: He acted for Tottenham Hotspur FC on resisting Portsmouth FC’s claim to have £1 million repaid out of a novel agreement which was not dependent on the transfer of a player, but had been paid because a player had been transferred elsewhere.
John Kelsey-Fry QC of Cloth Fair Chambers
He has been instructed on a wide variety of sporting cases, often in relation to fraud and criminal aspects. He is noted in particular for his experience in horse racing cases.
Expertise: "He is silver-tongued. It's great fun to be against him on a case."
Nicholas Randall QC of Devereux
A highly regarded new silk who regularly represents individuals and governing bodies, especially in football and cricket-related matters. He also has experience of the world of rugby.
Expertise: "He has great tactical ability. He has excellent cross-examination skills and an uncanny ability to predict the outcome of a case."
Recent work: He was instructed on behalf of the England & Wales Cricket Board to deal with the legal issues surrounding the dropping of Kevin Pietersen from the England Test team, and his subsequent re-integration into the England set-up.
Christopher Jeans QC of 11KBW
Has particular expertise in employment law and has successfully transferred this into the sports sector. He is well regarded especially for the work he does on football cases. In this respect he has handled a number of complex contract disputes.
Expertise: "He is an extremely successful barrister, who is strong and able, but has a human touch too."
Recent work: He represented the former agent of a prominent footballer on appeal to the Court of Appeal. The case concerned the partial rejection of the agent’s remuneration claim in the High Court.
Tim Kerr QC of 11KBW
Has a very strong reputation and is regularly chosen as an arbitrator. In addition to this he regularly chairs anti-doping and anti-corruption tribunals.
Expertise: "He is a bright, clever and able advocate." "He is charismatic and engagingly persuasive."
"Recent work: He was appointed as chairman of an independent anti-doping tribunal to decide a doping charge against a West Indian cricketer.
Paul Harris QC of Monckton Chambers
The leading silk in sports law at the set and a man who enjoys a strong reputation at the Bar. He is particularly active in football-related matters, but has been further instructed on high-profile cases connected to the rugby, boxing, motor sport and horse racing worlds. He is strong on the commercial and regulatory side, and particularly brings his expertise in competition law to bear when undertaking sports work.
Expertise: "He is very, very hard-working and well regarded, and has an effective style when it comes to clients." "He is a force of nature; he's very aggressive and goes for the jugular every time."
Recent work: He was jointly instructed by The FA, the Football League, the RFU, the Rugby Football League and the European Golf Tour against Ofcom over the terms upon which Sky Sports should be sold.
Fiona Banks of Monckton Chambers
Has represented governing bodies, clubs, and individual sportsmen and women across a variety of sports matters. She has also been regularly instructed to act on media rights cases for broadcasters.
Expertise: "She is a very able barrister." "She puts everything into context and clients really appreciate her."
Recent work: She represented Upul Tharanga against the International Cricket Council, and was successful in reducing the player's ban for a doping offence from two years to three months.
Mark Warby QC of 5RB
Has been particularly active in football and horse racing cases, often acting on regulatory matters. He is increasingly active in gambling-related corruption cases.
Expertise: "He's very pragmatic and good on paper. He will give exactly the right advice you need."
Recent work: He represented the British Horseracing Authority on the 'It's a Man's World' case, in which four individuals lost their appeal.
Jacob Dean of 5RB
A media and sports law specialist, who often represents sporting bodies and individuals in disciplinary and licensing matters.
Christopher Stoner QC of Serle Court
Well known for both advising on and litigating cases on the regulatory and disciplinary side. A large amount of his sports work is done in the football sphere, but he has extensive experience in swimming and disabled sport as well.
Expertise: "He is responsive and user-friendly, and is really just an extension of the team. He will normally know the answer to a question off the top of his head."
Recent work: He advised the Royal Yachting Association on the exclusion clauses used in all its standard forms for race, training and management.
Mark Phillips QC of South Square
Has been particularly active in football and Formula 1 cases. He has largely been instructed on regulatory issues, contract disputes and insolvency matters in particular.
Expertise: "He is excellent. I like him because his industry knowledge makes him very popular with the client. He gets straight to the point and doesn't get us bogged down in all of the technical aspects."
Recent work: He is acting on behalf of Rangers FC in its action against Collyer Bristow and former owner Craig Whyte.
Daniel Bayfield of South Square
Has experience in representing football clubs and individuals in disciplinary cases, and is very strong on insolvency and other finance-related cases to do with football, cricket and other sports.
Expertise: "He is a very clear thinker, who is legally very strong, and also energetic and robust. He's exactly the type of junior you want as he devotes time and energy to a case."
Recent work: He appeared for the Football League (with Mark Phillips QC) against HMRC arguing that the so-called 'Football Creditors Rule' and Insolvency Policy are necessary to protect the integrity of its competitions in circumstances where clubs are not only bound to compete with one another on the pitch, but also do business with one another in the context of transferring player registrations.
David Phillips QC of Wilberforce Chambers
Has a strong reputation for handling the regulatory aspects of football in particular, but also handles commercial, regulatory and employment matters relating to the sports world.
Nicholas Green QC of Brick Court Chambers
Instructed on sports cases which overlap with his EU/competition, regulatory and administrative law expertise.
Jonathan Crystal of Argent Chambers
Particularly active in sports matters, both advisory and contentious. He has much experience of acting for clubs, players and agents in contract and employment disputes, and also handles personal injury cases. He is notably active in football matters, but has handled boxing, rugby league and tennis cases.
Expertise: "His advocacy is excellent, especially his cross-examination. He has a real feel for sports work and his strategy is very sound."
Owain Draper of One Essex Court
He has experience in EU/competition law, and acts for sports bodies and participants in commercial and regulatory disputes.
Expertise: "He has a very sharp mind and brings a detailed understanding of the law to cases."
Recent work: He was led by Paul Harris QC and Philip Marshall QC in representing Sir Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre in proceedings arising out of the sale of Liverpool Football Club & Athletic Grounds.
Rupert Butler of 3 Hare Court
Has a strong commercial and media law background and is often instructed by national sporting governing bodies, individuals and agents in regulatory, disciplinary and commercial matters particularly. He is particularly strong on football and cricket cases.
John Mehrzad of Littleton Chambers
Acts in disciplinary matters, commercial disputes and contractual cases between individuals and agents. His practice is focused on football and rugby, but he also undertakes motor racing and cricket cases.
Expertise: "He is commercial and responsive. He picks things up quickly and when time is of the essence he will do things very quickly indeed. He is very user-friendly."
Recent work: He advised QPR on disciplining its captain, Joey Barton, after his red card and physical as well as verbal altercations with players of Manchester City and match officials.
Mark Afeeva of Matrix Chambers
Brings his employment expertise to bear primarily in football cases, where he represents players, agents and clubs in disputes and contract issues. He often receives work through direct access.
Recent work: He acted for a football agent in horse race fixing proceedings brought against him. The agent was alleged to have colluded with his client to bribe a jockey, who agreed to ensure that he would not win a horse race.
Ian Meakin of XXIV Old Buildings
Has notable experience of acting for Formula 1 manufacturers and drivers on contract disputes as well as sponsorship agreements and rules and regulations.
Recent work: He acted for Sébastien Bourdais against Torro Rosso in a case concerning the driver's contract.
Louis Weston of 3PB Barristers
A highly regarded junior, whose sports practice primarily centres on disputes in horse racing and greyhound racing. He is regularly instructed by the British Horseracing Authority on corruption, race fixing and riding offences.
Expertise: "He is incredibly bright and great to work with, and can turn his hand to anything."
Recent work: He was led by Mark Warby QC in the prosecution of 11 cases of conspiracy to fix horse racing.
Michael McParland of Quadrant Chambers
Has notable experience of representing sports regulatory bodies and sportsmen in employment and disciplinary matters. He mainly handles matters relating to football, rugby, cycling and yachting.