Leading Silks

Kate Gallafent QC - Blackstone ChambersIncredibly approachable and down to earth; she is really well-organised and prepared, taking everything off the client’s shoulders.
Paul Harris QC - Monckton ChambersHead and shoulders the best sports lawyer at the Bar. A brave and effective strategist and a persuasive advocate.
Adam Lewis QC - Blackstone ChambersA leading light in the sports sector. He is an excellent advocate and one that always takes the time to know every detail of a case.
Nick De Marco QC - Blackstone ChambersHe has the best working knowledge of the football regulatory landscape of the barristers at the Bar and has built a good practice for himself in that space.
Graeme McPherson QC - 4 New SquareHe has vast experience and understanding in horse racing and is also extremely hands-on.
Ian Mill QC - Blackstone ChambersThe finest sports advocate; he is absolutely magisterial in court.
Jane Mulcahy QC - Blackstone ChambersJane is technically and tactically brilliant; she is incredibly bright and can engage with all the details in a complex case, while still being able to see the big picture and focus on the key issues.
Jim Sturman QC - 2 Bedford RowAside from his razor-sharp intellect and advocacy, he is incredibly client friendly, commercial and pragmatic. He understands the football world.
Paul Gilroy QC - Littleton ChambersThe leading name in acting for individuals in football whether they are managers, executives, backroom staff or players.
Nina Goolamali QC - 39 Essex ChambersNina is a powerhouse in sports law. She knows both the law and the market inside out. A brilliant team leader and a formidable opponent.
Andrew Hunter QC - Blackstone ChambersA no-nonsense silk with an excellent experience in the sports industry and a tenacity to identify key issues at an early stage.
Mark Phillips QC - South SquareI have never seen a barrister who is so dedicated to his work. He kneels into files and knows them inside-out.
David Reade QC - Littleton ChambersHe has unrivalled knowledge of the football world and regulations, and is a superb advocate.
Christopher Coltart QC - 2 Hare CourtDogged, determined, on top of detail, committed and hard working.
Paul Goulding QC - Blackstone ChambersOne of the top barristers for employment-related disputes in the sports sector.
Sean Jones QC - 11KBWFirst choice in relation to the intersection of employment and sport.
Thomas de la Mare QC - Blackstone ChambersThe go-to silk for competition and Brexit issues impacting the sports sector.
Mark Milliken-Smith QC - 2 Bedford RowHe has an exceptional grasp of procedure and put parties at ease whilst clearly communicating his logic and his decisions.
Daniel Saoul QC - 4 New SquareA formidable force as an opponent, but an absolute delight to work with. His advice is sharp, to the point and concise.

2020 Silks

Richard Liddell QC - 4 New SquareHe understands the football law industry very well and is good with clients including footballers, clubs and agents.
John Mehrzad QC - Littleton ChambersGets right to the heart of the problem very quickly. Due to his work as an arbitrator, he knows the rules and procedure in relation to football arbitration inside out.
James Segan QC - Blackstone ChambersA future star of the Bar. Incredibly hard-working and user-friendly.

2021 Silks

George Spalton QC - 4 New SquareHe is not only technically excellent but is also commercially focused and has an in-depth knowledge of sport sector.

Leading Juniors

Fiona Banks - Monckton ChambersFiona is exceptionally bright, perceptive and able to both digest and explain complex matters very clearly.
Kendrah Potts - 4 New SquareA superstar; searingly intelligent, brilliant judgement, great client handling and a superb team player.
Lydia Banerjee - Littleton ChambersFirst and foremost, Lydia understands that sport is a people business and her advice is rooted in a real appreciation of that. She has a calm and measured authority and expertise, based on demonstrable experience.
Jonathan Bellamy - 39 Essex ChambersJonathan is a go-to counsel for sports regulatory work; he is unparalleled in this area.
Ravi Mehta - Blackstone ChambersExcellent to work with.
Tom Mountford - Blackstone ChambersHe has an excellent knowledge of sports and adds significant value to disputes.
Sam Neaman - Littleton ChambersSam is very personable, able to communicate very well to the client, but also very bright. He does not have the stuffiness of some London barristers.
Louis Weston - Outer Temple ChambersGreat advocate, superb at cross-examination. Completely top of his game.
Max Baines - Red Lion ChambersHe provides excellent advocacy and written advice, and is a pleasure to instruct.
Craig Harris - Furnival ChambersCraig is a brilliant all-rounder in sports law. He’s excellent at making deals happen, working collaboratively with all involved, but when the going gets tough he’s the person you want on your side to fight a case.
Andrew Smith - Matrix ChambersAndrew is extremely bright and has great attention to detail.
Katherine Apps - 39 Essex ChambersKatherine is one of the smartest barristers at the junior Bar. She has the brain the size of a planet. Unsurprisingly, she is fought over by silks who want her as their junior.
Theo Barclay - 4 New SquareExcellent oral and written submissions and hugely confident; he has appeared against and beaten several QCs already.
Stuart Benzie - 2 Temple GardensStuart brings incredible commercial nous and skill to every sports case. He is especially good at urgent, challenging injunctive work.
Tom Cleaver - Blackstone ChambersTom's brain works faster than everybody else's. He sees through complex problems to get to the heart of a point.
Edward Craven - Matrix ChambersHis assistance and contributions are always of highest quality, well-formulated and immediately usable.
Ashley Cukier - Littleton ChambersHe knows the football regulatory landscape well, which is invaluable when considering insolvency issues in that context given the extent of football-specific provisions in the area.
Luka Krsljanin - Blackstone ChambersLuka is particularly sought after for his expertise in football cases. He is able to assimilate evidence quickly and offer a sophisticated analysis.
Diarmuid Laffan - 4 New SquareDiarmuid's written work is very good, he prepares some very detailed written submissions which often disrupt the other side.
David Lowe - Blackstone ChambersHe has a very pleasant manner on top of being really bright and on top of the case.
Ifeanyi Odogwu - Matrix Chambers ‘His superb interpersonal skills are ideal for dealing with hotly contested cases, encouraging a logical and well-reasoned approach by all.
Yasin Patel - Church Court ChambersA quick-minded barrister who is at ease in whatever room he is in. Able to explain complex matters quickly and a solution finder.
Sebastian Purnell - DevereuxSebastian is very intelligent, well-versed in sports tax matters, and very approachable, taking time to share his expertise.
Tom Richards - Blackstone ChambersA very strong junior for sports regulatory matters and particularly strong on competition law.
Julian Santos - 5RBHe is exceptional at dealing with media and privacy issues arising in the context of sports litigation and arbitration, in particular sports disciplinary proceedings.
Shane Sibbel - Blackstone ChambersVery bright and incredibly hard working junior on the rise. Leaves no stone unturned and always goes the extra mile.

Rising Stars

William Harman - 4 New SquareStrengths include exceptional advocacy skills and in particular highly persuasive written work; he also has a remarkable ability to build rapport with the judge or tribunal.
Celia Rooney - Blackstone ChambersShe understands how to translate then deploy complex legal concepts in the sporting context. Clearly a junior to watch, she impresses in all areas.
Natasha Simonsen - Blackstone ChambersWorking with Natasha is a pleasure; she is efficient, quick and well-prepared.

Sport in London Bar

Blackstone Chambers

Widely considered as ‘leaders in the field’, Blackstone Chambersremains the go-to set for all sports law matters’ from governance and regulation through to employment, human rights and commercial exploitation matters. Nick De Marco QC is a specialist in sponsorship, competition, personal injury and financial fair play matters, among many others; he representing Newcastle United its ownership dispute with the Premier League, as well as advising several Premier League clubs on the "Project Restart" resumption of the 2019-20 season. Kate Gallafent QC and Celia Rooney successfully defending the FAW in a challenge to its decision to terminate the 2019-20 Cymru Premier brought by The New Saints, who were four points behind Connah's Quay Nomads with six games left in the title race when the season was ended. Away from football, Adam Lewis QC advised Premiership Rugby on its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Thomas de la Mare QC and Rooney represented Racing Point in the investigation in to the team's 2020 Formula One car, which featured brake ducts, among other parts, that replicated the previous year's championship-winning Mercedes W10.

Testimonials

Set

‘Blackstone is the leading set for sports disputes and we use them almost exclusively on our matters. They have someone for every type of sporting dispute and I have not had anything other than a positive experience with everyone I have instructed.’

‘Blackstone Chambers is our go-to set for sports-related disputes. They have a number of barristers with expertise and experience in the sports sector and we find them excellent to work with.’

‘Blackstone Chambers are the gold standard for barristers in sport. They have some of the best lawyers in the sports industry, who are involved in most of the biggest cases.’

‘The set is top-drawer; it does not get any better than Blackstone. The sports offering is stellar across the board: from silks to junior juniors, and from sports regulatory/disciplinary to sports commercial/IP.’

‘Blackstone are the best set for sports work. The set has many barristers with a deep knowledge of the field and each has their own qualities depending on the case in question.’

Clerking

‘Highly responsive. Adam Sloane is always dependable and brilliant to work with.’

‘The clerking service is excellent. Adam Sloane in particular is first-rate and makes using Blackstone very easy.’

‘The clerks are the engine room of a well-oiled machine, cooperative and flexible; they are great to work with. ‘

‘The clerks are always helpful and on the ball.  The one used most of all is Lewis Walker who is always personable and good to deal with.’

‘Very helpful always. Adam Sloane and Gary Oliver always willing to go above and beyond.’

4 New Square

4 New Square is home to ‘a considerable number of first-rate sports barristers’ who cater to a client roster of governing bodies, clubs, agents and athlete associations. Members are adept in all-manner of relevant work including match-fixing, doping, disciplinary, commercial, governance and play-agent-club disputes, often advocating and arbitrating at the Court of Arbitration, among other domestic and international venues. Daniel Saoul QC represented boxing promoter Barry McGuigan (himself, a former featherweight world champion) in a dispute with undisputed light welterweight champion Josh Taylor, who he used to promote. Elsewhere, Graeme McPherson QC’s standing in the market is evident by the fact that he was one of only four silks appointed to the Premier League’s Judicial Panel while at junior-level, Kendrah Potts appeared in the high-profile case of The Football Association v Daniel Sturridge, successfully representing the former England international in his defence of charges brought under the governing body’s betting regulations. Potts was also triumphant in EFL v Birmingham City FC, a case which pertained to a second financial fair play charge brought against the club; a sanction of reprimand was the decided punishment and ultimately a favourable outcome over a proposed points deduction which would have seen the Club relegated to League One.

Testimonials

Set

‘The set is extremely good for sports work. They would definitely be among the first place I would go for counsel support.’

‘In terms of top-level expertise and depth, 4 New Square is among the top two sets in the market.’

‘They have a wide selection of high-quality counsel, both at QC level and junior level.’

‘4 New Square is a leading set with an excellent reputation. We only instruct specific counsel (for example Patrick Lawrence QC) but generally have a first-rate experience with them.’

‘4 New Square are my go-to set for sports-related work. A considerable number of their barristers in this area are first-rate.’

Clerking

‘Very responsive, sensible on retainers, easy to work with.’

‘Dennis Peck is a responsive and supportive clerk.’

‘Always helpful and responsive.’

‘I deal primarily with Andrew Call and Jack Boggans, both of whom are responsive and user friendly.’

‘Dennis Peck is a great clerk to deal with, is responsible, commercial and charming.’

Littleton Chambers

An ‘excellent team for sports’, Littleton Chambers places a high degree of emphasis on sporting investigations and reviews in addition to contentious financial, disciplinary and regulatory issues. Members are particularly active in terms of footballing matters, often appearing before FIFA, UEFA, FA, Premier League and EFL arbitrations, though are also adept in rugby, cricket, tennis, motorsport and Olympic sports. At silk level, Paul Gilroy QC recently provided representation in two high-profile EFL disputes, namely Richard Keogh v Derby County FC and Barnsley FC v Stoke City FC; the former concerned a claim of wrongful dismissal in respect of a footballer while the latter pertained to allegations of a breach of contract and confidentiality in respect of a player transfer. Also reputed for its ‘excellent juniors’, Lydia Banerjee and David Reade QC appeared in Varnish v British Cycling, a claim of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal centering around issues of if funded Olympic athletes are considered workers or employees of their relevant governing body.

Testimonials

Set

‘Littleton offers deep technical experience and value for money for top tier legal advice. My go-to set for sporting-related employment affairs.’

‘We have also accessed wider support from Littleton Chambers, particularly around selection and appeals procedures for sports teams and competitions. Again, we have experienced a diligent attention to detail and good response times.’

‘Littleton, as a set in the sport sector which has very good strength in-depth. In addition to more experienced operators, there are some very capable juniors coming through.’

‘The sports team at Littleton has the market sewn up with John Mehrzad and Paul Gilroy. They also have an excellent team of juniors.’

‘An excellent sports team which includes the brilliant John Mehrzad QC.’

Clerking

‘An excellent service by Ian Smethurst and the team.’

‘Excellent clerks. Always supportive in trying to put your interests and those of the client at the forefront at the same time as always advising on appropriate counsel for the job in hand. Extremely efficient and responsive and they offer more than normal clerk duties but can be regarded as part of the team throughout.’

‘The clerks at Littleton add the personal touch and feel part of the team.’

‘The clerking is highly responsive and willing to please. Jason Drakeford is great to work with.’

‘The clerking service at Littleton, led by Jason Drakeford, is client friendly, responsive and always willing to try and accommodate.’

39 Essex Chambers

39 Essex Chambers, hailed as a ‘full-service set, pushing hard and fast into the sports market', counts football, rugby, horse racing and motorsport among its foremost fields of expertise. Its caseload is notably broad, encompassing matters as varied as commercial contracts, image rights, stadium construction, anti-doping, fraud and corruption issues. A key point of differentiation is that set is home to a ‘number of distinguished sport arbitrators’ including the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Jonathan Bellamy continues to represent Anthony McGann, former manager of Michael Bisping, in a long-running dispute with the former UFC middleweight champion.

Testimonials

Set

‘One of the powerhouses of the Bar.’

‘It provides an excellent array of webinars & in terms of sport has strength in-depth.’

’39 Essex Chambers has significant experience in this area, including a number of distinguished sport arbitrators.’

’39 Essex is a full-service chambers, which is pushing hard and fast into the sports law market.’

‘A full range of commercial, negligence and public law experts. Useful specialisms for sporting disputes.’

Clerking

‘Excellent. Friendly. Responsive.’

‘My experience is that they are quick to respond and good to deal with.’

‘Ben Sundborg, Anthony King and Alistair Davidson are all very helpful.’

‘Clerks deeply committed to this area of work.  As a result, they are knowledgeable, flexible and able to meet clients’ needs.’

’39 Essex are very easy to deal with. I have a good relationship with Albie Barton in particular, who is a superlative and pro-active clerk.’

Monckton Chambers

Monckton Chambers is the set of Fiona Banks and Paul Harris QC, a duo ‘as good as anybody else at the sports Bar’. The set is principally renowned for matters which intersect sports and commercial EU regulations, namely competition, freedom of movement and cross-border trading laws. Harris QC recently achieved victory in the case of the extremely high-profile case of Manchester City v UEFA, successfully convincing the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn the club’s ban from European competition for matters concerning Financial Fair Play regulations. As for Banks, her recent workload includes regulation, contract, conspiracy, state aid and unfair prejudice-related disputes spread across a variety of clients from the football, motorsport and rugby.

Testimonials

Set

‘Strong on regulatory matters by reputation, which is warranted. Availability of counsel is very good and the clerks will give alternative junior options when and where appropriate.’

‘Fiona Banks and Paul Harris QC are a very good team and in terms of their sports practice/expertise, they are as good as anyone.’

Clerking

‘Very friendly, helpful and responsive.’

‘Gemma Rawlinson is very responsive.’

‘Very approachable.’