Blackstone Chambers is acknowledged as the leading sports set at the Bar. The breadth of its barristers' sports law expertise enables it to represent clients from across all sporting arenas and in all areas of sports law. Its members are frequently instructed directly by governing bodies and sporting organisations to act on employment, disciplinary and doping disputes, as well as a wide range of commercial disputes. The set stands apart from its peers for sports work: no other set can match either the breadth of its expertise or the sheer number of its sports experts.
Client service: "The clerks at Blackstone know who to bring on to sports matters and know which barristers will play well with which clients." "They have a man or a woman for every job. You know if you go to the clerk and your first choice is taken, their second choice will still have the experience to meet your needs."
Adam Lewis QC
Enjoys a stellar reputation amongst both peers and clients for his expertise in sports matters. He has acted with distinction on anti-doping, match fixing and disciplinary proceedings, as well as on player transfer and agents disputes. He is frequently instructed directly by sports governing bodies on regulatory issues in football, rugby and athletics.
Strengths: "He is a true sports law specialist." "He's the standout – accessible, extremely nice to deal with and an all-round brilliant advocate." "When you have a case that requires you to pull out all the stops you simply have to select Adam Lewis QC."
Recent work: He successfully defended UEFA against three appeals brought by football clubs relating to match fixing.
Ian Mill QC
Has significant experience in acting on employment, anti-corruption, anti-doping and IP disputes as they relate to various sports, particularly tennis, cricket and football.
Strengths: "He has a robust manner that conveys an absolute confidence in what he's saying." "He has a good reputation in sports regulatory matters and is an outstanding character; he swiftly grasps issues, is very personable and has a detailed legal mind."
Recent work: He defended the FA Premier League against a claim brought by Leyton Orient in connection with the decision to allow West Ham to move into the Olympic Stadium.
David Pannick QC
Has a wide-ranging practice and a strong profile across a number of areas of law, including public law, EU law and employment. Sport is not the focal point of his practice, but his reputation is such that he is frequently on the teamsheet for any high-stakes sports disputes.
Strengths: "He is an extraordinary and impressive advocate."
Recent work: Represented the Horserace Betting Levy Board in a judicial review application brought by William Hill.
Michael Beloff QC
Has a wealth of experience in the sports sector, having acted on a wide range of regulatory matters in athletics, football and rugby. He is a member of the International Association of Athletic Federation's (IAAF) ethics commission and a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Strengths: "He is one of those advocates who can charm the birds from the trees. He's very bright, charming and elegant."
Recent work: He acted for a London Irish rugby player in a successful disciplinary appeal after the player had originally been found guilty of a tip tackle offence.
Andrew Hunter QC
Acts on a wide range of commercial matters as well as acting on player and agent disputes. He has recently acted on cases in football, cricket and taekwondo.
Strengths: "He's aggressive and persuasive in the way he puts his case forward."
Recent work: He acted for a Premier League football club in a dispute with an agent relating to fee and commission arrangements.
Andrew Green QC
Has significant experience in acting for sports governing bodies, in relation to both disciplinary matters and commercial disputes. He is particularly noted for his rugby union expertise.
Strengths: "He's very effective because he's a tough operator."
Recent work: He successfully acted for the RFU in its move to get ticketing website Viagogo to reveal the identity of ticket sellers for England rugby matches.
Robert Howe QC
Advises on commercial issues in sport, including sponsorship and media rights for both event organisers and clubs, as well as handling kit manufacturing disputes for clubs and manufacturers.
Strengths: "He's tremendous – clear, sensible and smart in his advice. He listens to you and is a credit to the profession."
Recent work: He acted for a Premier League club on a dispute following the termination of merchandising agreements.
Pushpinder Saini QC
Has worked with clients from the worlds of football, rugby and cricket on a wide range of matters, including media disputes, disciplinary matters, transfer disputes and integrity issues.
Strengths: "He's a class act; a very smooth and accomplished advocate."
Paul Goulding QC
Frequently instructed to act on football disputes involving managers, agents, clubs and players, and also sits on sports disciplinary panels.
Strengths: "He's a pleasure to work with - very hands-on and very accessible. On his feet he has a very gentle manner, which always wins favour from judges."
Recent work: He was the chair of the Independent Regulatory Commission, hearing the case brought by the FA against Luis Suarez.
Jane Mulcahy QC
A highly regarded new silk with significant experience in acting on employment and disciplinary-related disputes for both football and rugby clubs, governing bodies and individuals.
Strengths: "She's very client-friendly, quick and successful in her approach to litigation, and very effective in front of a tribunal." "She knows the sporting world inside-out."
Recent work: She was appointed by the RFU to act on behalf of Slough RFC in a successful appeal against a decision that one of Slough's players was not racially abused.
Kate Gallafent QC
A well-respected new silk who has a wide range of experience in handling anti-doping and wider disciplinary matters in tennis, rugby and athletics. She is noted for her expertise in advising on child protection matters in a sports context.
Strengths: "It's no surprise she's taken silk. She's done a lot of tricky stuff and is quietly effective. She has a lovely way of presenting things."
Recent work: She defended the Lawn Tennis Association against three race discrimination claims.
Nick De Marco
Praised by peers for his knowledge of employment and regulatory matters, especially in connection to football. He has significant experience in handling disciplinary matters, contract disputes and discrimination cases.
Strengths: "As a junior, he stands out. He knows sport and is technically a good lawyer, very good in court and very enthusiastic."
Recent work: He represented the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in disciplinary proceedings against Essex Country Cricket Club players, which led ultimately to a lifetime ban for Danish Kaneria.
Well regarded for his expertise in handling sports cases with European law and competition angles. He is particularly noted for his expertise in football-related disputes, and has acted on transfer disputes and match-fixing allegations for both clubs and governing bodies.
Strengths: "He was thorough on the European law aspects, and pleasant to work with – calm, methodical and effective."
Recent work: He acted for FC Metalist on the club's appeal to UEFA following its expulsion from the Champions League following an investigation into match fixing.
Has advised on a number of football, rugby and athletics cases. He brings expertise in commercial, public and European law to bear on both sports broadcasting cases and disciplinary issues within sport.
Strengths: "He is a lovely advocate and has a winning way with submissions."
Recent work: He acted for the Premier League on obtaining a blocking order against UK ISPs in connection with illegal streaming of sports matches via the site FirstRow.
Has represented both sports clubs and individuals in boxing, football and rugby cases relating to public law and disciplinary matters.
Recent work: He acted for Leyton Orient Football Club in a judicial review challenge in connection with the future of the Olympic Stadium.
Represents clients from the football industry in connection with commercial and contractual disputes. He is also well regarded for his expertise relating to sports disciplinary issues, and in particular to anti-doping cases.
Strengths: "He takes an intellectual approach. He comes at sport from a black letter lawyer's perspective and his cerebral approach is evident."
Recent work: He acted for Leyton Orient in a challenge relating to the lease on the Olympic Stadium.
Has experience in handling rugby, football and boxing matters concerning anti-doping and contract disputes. He has a commercial law background and brings it to bear in the sports sector.
Strengths: "He is absolutely brilliant; he can make really complex areas of the law sound actually quite straightforward - on his feet he is really impressive."
Recent work: He defended the British Boxing Board of Control against claims of breach of statutory duty, breach of competition law and unlawful interference with economic interests.
2 Bedford Row's members continue to play a prominent role in the sports sector, most notably in football, but also in rugby, cricket and athletics, amongst many others. Commentators are quick to highlight the set's criminal expertise as core to its sports offering, and while a significant amount of its sports cases do concern representing sports organisations or individuals facing allegations of criminal wrong-doing, it does also provide considerable advice on sports governance issues.
Jim Sturman QC
Has significant experience of acting on behalf of players, clubs and agents on integrity issues, disciplinary matters, and player and agent disputes. He is principally noted for his expertise in football and rugby, although he has also acted on doping and corruption cases in boxing, motor sport and tennis.
Strengths: "His knowledge of the sports sector - especially football - is completely comprehensive. He is an extremely thorough and tenacious advocate."
Recent work: He was instructed by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club on England international Andros Townsend's charge of breaching the FA's betting regulations.
Mark Milliken-Smith QC
Principally acts for individual sports clients against governing bodies in both cricket and rugby on regulatory and disciplinary matters. He has also acted on anti-doping matters in rugby, corruption issues in cricket, and a range of issues in boxing and football.
Strengths: "He's very persuasive – being a criminal lawyer really helps him in disciplinary cases because he's used to the cut and thrust of witness handling."
Recent work: He defended Mervyn Westfield against the ECB in connection to spot-fixing in a professional cricket match.
4 New Square's sports practice is anchored in its horse racing expertise, although the set is increasingly instructed to act for governing bodies, sports clubs and individuals in rugby, Formula 1 and boxing disputes. The set also acts for clients on regulatory matters, including anti-doping, corruption and disciplinary matters in tennis, rugby, football and horse racing.
Graeme McPherson QC
One of the leading experts on horse racing disputes, frequently instructed by governing bodies on regulatory issues. He also has significant experience in handling both contractual disputes and disciplinary matters for clients within Formula 1, football and boxing.
Strengths: "He's top-notch; his knowledge of the racing industry is fantastic."
Recent work: He acted for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on prosecuting the Godolphin stable's trainer for the misuse of anabolic steroids in the training of racehorses.
Frequently represents horse racing and rugby governing bodies in disciplinary and regulatory cases. He also has experience in handling commercial and doping cases in relation to football.
Strengths: "He's a talented performer in the courtroom."
Recent work: He successfully acted for the BHA in a disciplinary inquiry in connection to a trainer, Ian McInnes, who was banned for disregarding horse welfare.
Has a wide-ranging sports regulatory practice, and acts for both governing bodies and individual sportsmen and women. He has acted on selection disputes, doping cases, contract disputes and governance matters in sports such as Formula 1, rugby and ice skating.
Strengths: "He used to be a solicitor, so he understands how that side of things works. He's also got a keen interest in sport and is enthusiastic about getting involved in sports matters." "He's very businesslike, very commercial, very thorough and also very creative."
Recent work: He defended rugby league player David Cookson against breaches of anti-doping rules regarding the use of stimulants.
Charles Hollander QC of Brick Court Chambers
Has been instructed on disputes across a wide range of sports, including motor racing, football, boxing and athletics.
Strengths: "He is very incisive and has a good feel for the reality of a situation. He gives very clear advice with a clear aim and outcome."
Recent work: He was instructed on a Formula 1 management dispute between Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony and British driver Paul di Resta.
Caspar Glyn QC of Cloisters
Well regarded by peers for his employment expertise, especially in relation to football. He specialises in acting on regulatory and contractual disputes for managers, players and senior executives.
Strengths: "He is a lively and knowledgeable advocate, and brings a practical real-world view, which is important in sport."
Recent work: He acted for Cardiff City in connection with the dismissal of its manager, Malky Mackay.
Christopher Jeans QC of 11KBW
Has advised sports clubs, players, managers and agents on a wide range of employment contract matters.
Strengths: "He is one of the most senior and respected silks around, and brings that gravitas into the sports sector."
Recent work: He represented the former agent of a prominent international football player in relation to claims concerning both remuneration and restraint of trade.
Damian Brown QC of Littleton Chambers
Acts on behalf of clubs and individual players within football and rugby, handling employment disputes and wider regulatory and disciplinary matters.
Recent work: He acted in the David Jones v Cardiff City case concerning bonuses owed by the club to its former manager.
John Mehrzad of Littleton Chambers
Has been involved with employment disputes, contractual disputes and disciplinary proceedings in football and rugby, acting on behalf of players, managers and agents.
Strengths: "His diligence, advice, responsiveness and willingness to see the bigger picture are impressive."
Recent work: He acted for a football agent in an appeal concerning the non-payment of a commission following a transfer of a player from Sparta Prague to Genoa.
Nicholas Randall QC of Matrix Chambers
Handles a wide range of sports disciplinary cases, contractual disputes, and player and agent disputes. He has a strong reputation for his work in football, but is increasingly active across sports such as boxing, athletics and golf.
Strengths: "He has a tremendous calm about him. He is wholly unflappable and has a gentle charm about him. He has a down-to-earth, realistic approach that works well in the sports world."
Recent work: He acted for Senegalese international and Newcastle United forward Papiss Cissé in connection with his refusal to wear the team sponsor's logo on his shirt.
Mark Afeeva of Matrix Chambers
Brings his expertise in employment, discrimination and media law to bear on sports matters. He acts for clubs, sportsmen and women and agents from a wide variety of sports.
Paul Harris QC of Monckton Chambers
A competition specialist who has worked with clients from a wide array of sports and is noted for his expertise on Formula 1, rugby and football cases.
Strengths: "He's an extremely good sports lawyer who provides pithy, commercial advice."
Recent work: He acted for the Mercedes-Benz GP team in connection with the Formula 1 'tyregate' affair concerning the illegal testing of tyres.
Fiona Banks of Monckton Chambers
Acts for governing bodies and federations on contractual and doping disputes. She also acts for players, agents and clubs on a wide range of contractual and disciplinary matters. She has worked in a range of sports, including rugby league, Formula 1, football and swimming.
Strengths: "She picked up doping issues very quickly and really understood the issues and background of a case." "She is really something - she's very bright and able to absorb huge quantities of information very quickly and pick out the salient points."
Recent work: She acted for a number of governing bodies in an appeal against Ofcom's decision to make Sky provide a regulated wholesale supply of Sky Sports 1 & 2 to other pay TV retailers.
Christopher Stoner QC of Serle Court
Advises individuals and sporting organisations on regulatory and disciplinary matters in football, swimming and athletics.
Mark Phillips QC of South Square
Represents sporting organisations, clubs and individuals in regulatory disputes. He is highly regarded by sources for his expertise in anti-doping cases.
Strengths: "He is a very good advocate in court; he's robust and bullish when you need him to be."
Recent work: He successfully acted for the Football League against HMRC in defending the introduction of insolvency policies and procedures to avoid excessive financial risk-taking by clubs.
Daniel Bayfield of South Square
Acts for governing bodies, individuals and clubs on disciplinary and contractual disputes in football, boxing and cricket. He also has experience of acting in relation to insolvency proceedings in football.
Strengths: "He's thoroughly reliable, highly intelligent, easy to get on with and a pleasure to work with."
Recent work: He defended Scottish boxer Ricky Burns against claims brought by leading boxing promoter Frank Warren in connection with alleged breaches of management and promotional agreements.
Owain Draper of One Essex Court
Acts for clients primarily on competition and commercial law matters, most notably in football.
Strengths: "He's sharp, personable and hard-working, and gets the right answers."
Jonathan Crystal of Goldsmith Chambers
Has a long history of acting on contract disputes and injury claims in football, and has also worked with notable clients within tennis, boxing and athletics.
Strengths: "His knowledge of the sports industry is invaluable."
Recent work: He successfully defended Barry Town United FC against the Football Association of Wales' decision to deny the team full membership to the league.
Rupert Butler of 3 Hare Court
Acts for individuals and governing bodies on regulatory and disciplinary matters as well as contractual disputes.
Recent work: He acted for former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson on a bid to reclaim £10 million which had been misappropriated by his former independent financial adviser.
Ian Meakin of XXIV Old Buildings
Acts on contentious and non-contentious contractual issues on behalf of motor racing clients.
Recent work: He acted on the contract dispute between racing driver Nick Heidfeld and the Lotus F1 team.
Louis Weston of 3PB Barristers
Has represented governing bodies from horse racing and greyhound racing in connection with corruption and disciplinary matters. He has also acted on corruption and doping matters in athletics, snooker, football and rugby.
Strengths: "He's a natural advocate; very skilful and unflappable." "Advice from Louis Weston is like receiving advice from Zeus - you know it's right and if it's not then a fork of lightning will come down and make it right."
Recent work: He prosecuted a corruption case for the BHA against jockey Eddie Ahern and four other individuals.
Jacob Dean of 5RB
Acts on regulatory and disciplinary matters in relation to horse racing, as well as acting for governing bodies. He has also acted for sportsmen and women and clubs on commercial, libel and privacy matters.
Recent work: He acted on the appeal of a harassment claim brought by a former director of Leeds United against a former chairman of the club.