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James Earl

Work 020 3036 7300
Fladgate LLP

Work Department

Corporate/Sports Business Group


James Earl is a partner and head of the sports business group, part of the corporate department at Fladgate.

He is dual qualified, having been admitted both in Australia and in England and Wales and is regarded as one of the leading experts in the UK and international sports and entertainment sector.

James oversees delivery of all sports finance, major events and commercial rights work within the sports business group. With 14 years of experience, he has in-depth expertise of advising all stakeholders across the sports sector. Clients include national and international governing bodies, private and institutional funders and investors, teams and clubs, as well as rights holders, brands and agencies.

He also works extensively within related areas of the entertainment sector, particularly in relation to the staging and promotion of major events, tours and exhibitions.

James is exceptionally well-connected, and his pragmatic guidance is consistently sought by senior stakeholders across the international sports industry.

Recent notable work which he has led on includes acting as sole legal adviser to the delivery vehicles for the London 2017 World Athletics and ParaAthletic Championships.

James is a founding member of The Mullagh Group, an association of antipodeans working in sport in the UK, and is an advisory board member of Pioneers in Sport, an organisation targeting tomorrow’s leaders in the UK sports industry.


Trained at Kelly & Co, Adelaide, South Australia; qualified as a solicitor and barrister in the Supreme Court of South Australia in 2003; qualified as a solicitor in the High Court of Australia in 2005; and qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2008. Joined Fladgate as a partner in 2016, as a lateral hire from Pinsent Masons.


British Association for Sport and Law


Geelong Church of England Grammar School (Victorian Certificate of Education) (1996); University of Adelaide, Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) (2001), Bachelor of Law (Honours) (2003); Law Society of South Australia, Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (2003)

London: Corporate and commercial

Commercial contracts

Within: Commercial contracts

Fladgate LLP's 'first-class team' provides the full spectrum of commercial contracts advice to broadcasters, hotel owners and operators, universities and sports governing bodies (national and international), among a broad base of clients. Team head Eddie Powell combines commercial contracts expertise with knowledge about related intellectual property, technology and competition law issues; his varied work includes technology transactions (such as IT procurement, supply and development), manufacturing arrangements and licensing agreements. In a recent highlight, Powell and Alex Haffner (an addition from Dentons in 2017) acted for Glorious Brands Limited in the negotiation of an exclusive distribution agreement with US-based Astral Brands Inc for the distribution in the UK and Ireland of beauty products under the PUR brand. In addition, Haffner advised Mermaid Conferences & Events Limited on an agreement with White Light Limited (WLL) for WLL to provide audio-visual and other services to customers using the Mermaid Centre in central London. Also recommended are Alan Wetterhahn, James Earl, Jan Hoppe (a recent hire from Gordon Dadds LLP) and senior associate David Quinlan.

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London: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)


Within: Sport

Fladgate LLP's growing practice frequently handles athletics, boxing and cricket as well as football, and counts event management, commercial rights deals and corporate matters as particular strengths. Group head James Earl acted for London 2017 on corporate governance, funding agreements, insurance issues and regulatory matters relating to its delivery of the IAAF World Athletics and Para Athletic Championships. He also advised Sponserve on licensing agreements, including with the Premier League, regarding a new software solution to help clubs and governing bodies manage and deliver their sponsorship assets. In July 2017 the department welcomed competition expert Alex Haffner from Dentons; he brought with him clients such as the ECB, which he advised on selling broadcast rights in Africa to Econet.

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