Sport in South East


Dentons sports team works in close collaboration with its London team to provide major names from the worlds of rugby, esports, formula 1 and fitness with advice on the full range of commercial agreements. Nick Harrison, promoted to partner in May 2021, leads the sports practice outside of London and works with Saracens RFC on numerous commerical issues. The group also has a disputes offering; spearheaded by James Fairbairn, it was bolstered by the November 2020 arrival of associate William George from Harneys.

Practice head(s):

Nick Harrison

Other key lawyers:

James Fairbairn; William George

Key clients

Silverstone Circuits Limited

Saracens Limited

Premier Team Promotions Limited

Esports Awards Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Silverstone Circuits Limited on the impact of Covid-19 on the hosting of the British Grand Prix in 2020.
  • Providing Saracens Limited with commercial legal advice and support.
  • Advising Esports Awards Limited on the provision of general Sports and Commercial legal advice and support.

Irwin Mitchell

Though able to advise various actors in the sector, Irwin Mitchell is best known for its work with individual sportspeople, whom it assists with medical negligence, serious injury and employment disputes. Gatwick- based Tom Barnard is one of the group’s key litigators, and co-leads the team alongside Hannah Clipston and tax adviser Michael Taylor, who operate from Southampton and Chichester respectively. In addition, the firm handles extensive non-contentious work which includes advising on commercial contracts, intellectual property and tax. Newly promoted partner Aurelia Butler-Ball in particular is recommended due to her work advising high-profile rugby players and cricketers on their media interests.

Practice head(s):

Hannah Clipston; Michael Taylor; Tom Barnard

Other key lawyers:

Aurelia Butler-Ball; Georgie Collins


‘They are all part of a large organisation but remain part of my extended team’

‘Attention to detail is excellent, great people and care about the client first and foremost’

‘Absolute quality, attitude, willingness to ensure the right outcome for client is fundamental in their thought process’

Key clients

Amy Tinkler

International Rugby Player

James Ellington


Giles Long / Lexicon Decoder Ltd

Sweaty Betty

Work highlights

  • Advised Amy Tinkler in relation to a complaint against British gymnastics.
  • Acting for an international rugby player following his retirement in relation to a claim under a policy of “career ending injury” insurance.
  • Advising James Ellington on a dispute following a motorbike accident.

Moore Law

Moore Law, a Brighton-based boutique focusing on the TMT sector, has become one of the market's leading firms in the field of selection disputes; consultant and practice head Mike Townley is the key practitioner in this regard. Having previously worked in-house for the International Paralympic Committee, Townley is ideally placed to represent a number of UK sporting federations and governing bodies in disputes with athletes, though he has also worked with individual sportspeople on claims of unfair dismissal. The group's commercial work is led by Tris Moore, and includes assisting sports equipment companies on commercial agreements.

Practice head(s):

Mike Townley

Other key lawyers:

Tris Moore


‘Specialist knowledge and experience’

‘Some good experience in dealing with sports talent and agents and a strong understanding of the sector. Great to have an insight into what clauses are reasonable and acceptable and where boundaries are being a little stretched. Excellent to have on board in the negotiation and has saved us from some potential mistakes.’

‘I’ve known and worked with Tris Moore over many years, more recently on issues surrounding sponsorship with sports talent but previously across many commercial issues. Tris has a more informal approach that I find refreshing but I especially appreciate the passion that he shows for each brief.’

Key clients

United Kingdom Ice Hockey

World Academy of Sport

Avaaz Foundation

Insignia Sport International

CAMS Tifosi

British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association

Welsh Triathlon Association

National Sporting Club

British Triathlon Federation

Technogym UK

Arundel Bikes

Callum Airey (Calfreezy)


Work highlights

  • Represented British Triathlon in an Olympic Games selection dispute before Sport Resolutions UK.
  • Advised British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association on a World Class Performance appeal before Sport Resolutions UK.
  • Advising World Academy of Sport on substantial Olympic and Paralympic Games training and education delivery contracts.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP, operating from Guildford, provides commercial, technology and IP advice to sports clubs, retailers and tech companies. Football is one of the areas in which the team has developed a niche; IP partner Tom Lingard, with the assistance of associate Tom Collins, advises Brighton & Hove Albion FC on brand protection matters, including undertaking widespread enforcement efforts to remove infringing content from online marketplaces and websites. Charles Maurice, promoted to partner in May 2020, is the key contact for commercial agreements including sponsorship issues.

Practice head(s):

Charles Maurice

Other key lawyers:

Tom Lingard; Tom Collins


‘Full-service shop. From drafting and executing our SPA, to working on term sheets, to managing the immigration and tax issues for US investors, S&B’s team has been sensational.’

‘The firm has great experience and expertise across the sports sector, in particular on IP and commercial work. They have a real in-depth knowledge and understanding of the sports industry and can apply this knowledge to resolve complex legal issues for clients in this field. I know that many of the individuals in the Sports Group have worked for an array of high-profile sports clients across many different sports and various practice areas, so they are very well placed to advise clients in this sector.’

‘Tom Lingard is invaluable as an external advisor.’

‘They have an excellent variety of expertise’

‘Charlie Maurice is outstanding. Very knowledgeable and personable and always fast to respond.’

‘As good as a city team, partner led; value for money.’

Key clients

Brighton and Hove Albion FC

Crystal Palace FC

Jenahura Players Limited

Papa John’s

Pomodo Ltd

Drivex Business Solutions SL

Work highlights

  • Advised Premier League football team, Brighton & Hove Albion FC, on trade mark and brand protection matters.
  • Acted for a multinational technology and broadcast business across a range of commercial matters.
  • Advising a US-based sports investment and management organisation on the acquisition of a high profile UK-based professional football club.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP's sports group is 'committed to the local area', as the team works extensively with clients in the Sussex and Kent region to provide advice on commercial, employment, real estate and governance issues. Much of the work centres around grass-roots level sport; for example, the firm has provided longstanding support to charity Active Sussex in its efforts to increase participation in sport and physical activity at a local level. Bruce Hayter leads the team and regularly assists with the development of local sports grounds, while Alan Zeal helps local clubs structure their constitutions so as to operate more profitably.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Hayter

Other key lawyers:

Richard Cripps; Alan Zeal; Amy White


‘The firm has a great understanding of sport, dealing with organisations of all sizes. They are committed to the local area and are a leading force in helping sports help towards disabilities, working in cooperation with leading organisations like Albion in the Community, the Sussex Cricket Foundation and others

‘Bruce Hayter has been first rate with his knowledge and experience ’

Key clients

Crawley Town Community Foundation

The Russell Martin Foundation

Sussex County FA

Active Sussex

Ansty Village Centre Steering Committee Trust

Seaford Rugby Football Club

Sedlescombe Golf Club Management Ltd

Tom Hicks (Polar Explorer)

Work highlights

  • Advised Crawley Town Community  Foundation in connection with employment status, contractual terms, performance management and covid-19.
  • Advised The Russell Martin Foundation on the lease of new 3G training pitches in Hove.
  • Provided training to the board, volunteers and staff of Sussex County FA in connection with equality and diversity, discrimination and mental health in the workplace.

Royds Withy King

Based in Oxford, the lawyers at Royds Withy King 'know the world of bloodstock and horse-racing inside out', are able to assist with disciplinary, commercial, employment and governance matters. Andrew Chalk is perhaps the leading authority in the region on the British Horseracing Authority regulations and assists with bloodstock agreements, jockey retainer agreements and sponsorship contracts. The group also handles contentious issues; Richard Brooks, as part of a practice that spans the Oxford and London offices, represents horse owners and riders in disputes relating to racing accidents and equine purchases.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Chalk; Richard Brooks


‘Substantial experience in horseracing and accordingly expertise that few others can offer’

‘Andrew Chalk – excellent client management and focus on what really matters in a case’

‘Richard Brooks has carved out a niche practice dealing with race horse disciplinary and injury claims. His knowledge of the industry and laws relating to it are unsurpassed. He has an uncanny knack of seeing the best point early and a remarkable success rate. ’

‘The Sports team is cohesive and hard-working with wide experience of this field.’

‘Richard Brooks stands out for his outstanding knowledge and experience litigating accidents involving horses, particularly racing accidents.’

‘Richard Brooks is the foremost solicitor in the UK for Claimant’s in equestrian personal injury litigation. He is streets ahead of any other and has an excellent understanding of the Animals Act 1971 which is a tortuous piece of law to deal with.’

‘Know the world of bloodstock and horse-racing inside out ’

‘Andrew Chalk and Richard Brooks, lead partners, live and breath horse-racing.’

Key clients

Qatar Bloodstock Limited

The Professional Jockeys Association

Qatar Racing Limited

Retraining of Racehorses

Declan Carroll

Noel Williams

Oliver Sherwood

Racing to School

Work highlights

  • Advising the Board and the Executive of the Professional Jockeys Association on all issues that arise.
  • Advised racehorse trainer Declan Carroll following a breach of the Rules of Racing.
  • Advised and provided guidance to Racing to School on its obligations and responsibilities in respect of the data protection legislation.

Warners Solicitors

When it comes to country sports, Warners Solicitors is undoubtedly the strongest firm in the region. The group is able to provide a comprehensive service to the sectors key clients, including the Hunting Office and The Masters of Foxhounds Association. Practice head Michael McNally is a disputes specialist and one of the foremost experts in liability for animals under the complex Animals Act. Criminal and regulatory matters are handled by Tim Ryan; acting for all the hunts in the South East, Ryan's expertise spans animal welfare and public order offences as well as breaches of the Hunting Act.

Practice head(s):

Michael McNally

Other key lawyers:

Tim Ryan


‘Excellent knowledge and application of law in a complicated area’

‘Michael McNally stands out as a well versed expert on the subject area’

Key clients

The Hunting Office

The Masters of Fox hounds Association

JM Osborne and Co. Ltd

William Powell Ltd

GSC Grays

NFU panel

Work highlights

  • Regular advice given to The Masters of Foxhounds Association, the governing body for most hunts in Great Britain, on a variety of matters including (a) internal constitutional matters (b) disciplinary proceedings against hunt officials (c) employment matters relating to hunt staff. This advice is required over the telephone and in writing and involves drafting regulatory documents and attending meetings and disciplinary hearings.
  • Advice given to J M Osborne & Co Limited in relation to numerous legal issues but most importantly in relation to the employment of gamekeepers and other staff and high profile grouse moors, shooting estates and landed estates. It often involves difficult negotiations in which the owners of the grouse moors and estates are high profile and extremely wealthy individuals.
  • Advice to the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles on a variety of matters, including (a) internal constitutional matters (b) disciplinary proceedings against hunt officials and (c) employment matters involving hunt staff. This file involves ongoing advice on a variety of different matters throughout the course of the year and involves advising over the telephone and in writing, drafting documents and attending meetings and disciplinary hearings.