Craig Harris > Chambers of Oliver Blunt QC & Sally O'Neill QC > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of Oliver Blunt QC & Sally O'Neill QC
Furnival Chambers
32 FURNIVAL STREET
LONDON
EC4A 1JQ
England

Work Department

Sports law; Serious Crime; Confiscation & Asset Forfeiture; Licensing

Position

Call: 2006

Direct Access Qualified

Ranked as a leading junior by The Legal 500 in Sports law, Crime & Fraud:

‘He is very experienced – articulate and composed, with a good eye for detail.  A powerful advocate as much as he is technically able, he is excellent in cases with novel issues.  A persuasive advocate inside and outside the courtroom, with a sharp intellect to gain the best possible result.’

‘He has a superb eye for detail and grasps the issues in a case quickly, however substantial or complex the evidence.  An excellent tactician, appreciated for his thorough approach.  An impressive advocate and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Clearly very experienced and comfortable in sports disciplinary proceedings.  Always thinking laterally’.

Comes with ‘A high aptitude for dealing with thorny arguments.’

Career

EXPERTISE:

• Sports law
• Serious crime, including murder, fraud & organised crime
• Restraint, asset forfeiture and confiscation proceedings
• Disciplinary and regulatory tribunal proceedings
• Licensing committee hearings

Has extensive experience conducting the most serious, complex and high-profile cases at trial, before the Court of Appeal, UK Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights and numerous sports disciplinary tribunals.

Direct access services can be accessed by, or through intermediaries including companies/clubs, employers, agents, governing bodies and other organisations.

SPORTS LAW

  • Counsel to the League Managers Association, advising & representing managers in the Premier League and EFL.
  • Appointed to sit on the Sport Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators.
  • Sits as Chair of the England Boxing and FA National Anti-Discrimination disciplinary panels.
  • Listed on the Welsh Rugby Union’s list of disciplinary panel counsel.
  • High-profile cases include advising/acting for club Chief Executives, managers, players, staff, intermediaries & other Participants before FA tribunals, as well as acting for The FA itself: Including in The Football Association v Arsene Wenger – see the Commission’s decision here.
  • Has advised world sport governing bodies on internal and international integrity investigations.
  • Experienced in dealing with the full range of misconduct allegations, including safeguarding, discrimination and integrity/betting matters, both in and out of competition, as well as violations of the agents and intermediaries rules.
  • Significant recent cases include the successful defence of Jamie Jones before the World Snooker Association and acting for the former Club CEO in the seminal appeal of Hartlepool Utd v The FA concerning disguised intermediary payments.

Other high-profile clients have included Thomas Hitzlsperger (former German international and Premier League football star, ‘Der Hammer’), Derek ‘Del Boy’ Chirsora (World Heavyweight boxing title contender), Eric Hall (the flamboyant football and entertainment industry agent), Franz Drameh (DC Legends of Tomorrow actor) & Tempa T (UK grime artist).  Sports tribunal proceedings/clients remain confidential where not published. 

FINANCIAL CRIME & ASSET FORFEITURE

  • Retained in $billion international dividend-arbitrage proceedings (Dubai) related to the ‘cum-ex’ trading scandal.
  • Regularly instructed in multi-million-pound fraud matters.
  • Experienced in conducting all ancillary proceedings that arise out of fraud, money laundering and other dishonesty cases
  • Contested multi-million pound confiscation proceedings, forfeiture applications and applications for disqualification of directors.
  • Experienced in dealing with cash detention and forfeiture applications before the magistrates court, including having acted for the Defendant in Kent Police v Rusha:  Cash detention and forfeiture proceedings stemming from the infamous £50m Tonbridge Securitas depot heist.

OTHER SERIOUS CRIME & REGULATORY

  • Acted for Edwards in Harkins & Edwards v The UK before the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Represented the Appellant in the leading case concerning strict liability: R v Robinson-Pierre  – Crown’s application for leave to appeal successfully opposed at Supreme Court level.
  • Appeared in numerous high-profile murder, organised crime & people trafficking cases (see below).
  • Acted in multiple international drug trafficking cases: Including ‘The UK’s largest importation‘ and ‘Europe’s largest drugs conspiracy‘.
  • Appears at all levels of the justice system dealing with Trading Standards prosecutions, regulatory offences and associated matters, including acting for pilots before the Civil Aviation Authority, against whom Craig secured a successful outcome for a jet pilot who admitted flying 60+ worldwide passenger flights without the requisite licence rating.

CIVIL PROCEEDINGS

Has appeared before:

• Licensing Committee hearings
• Disciplinary tribunals
• The County Court
• The Coroner’s Court

Is available to conduct site visits and provide advice at all stages of the licensing process, from the application and renewal stage through to breach and revocation proceedings.

PUBLICATIONS & LECTURES

Regular speaker and lecturer at events concerning criminal law and sports disciplinary procedures.

Panel speaker at the LawInSport global Football Law Conference, 2020.  LawInSport has made a recording of this session free to view, given the import issue discussed, and you can view it here.

‘The English FA v Hartlepool United:  Are “deterrent sanctions” permissible?’ Football Legal International Journal, Issue #10, December 2018.

Acknowledged contributor to Young, Summers & Corker on Abuse of Process in Criminal Proceedings (Bloomsbury, 3rd ed.).

Policy Knowledge Event Lecture: A New Strategy to Tackle Dangerous Dogs – Assessing the Reforms to the Dangerous Dogs Act, May 2015.

Memberships

Middle Temple, 2006; Criminal Bar Association; South Eastern Circuit; LSE Alumni network

Education

London School of Economics & Political Science, Law LLB, 2005

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Crime

(Leading Juniors) Ranked: Tier 3

Craig HarrisFurnival ChambersAlive to various issues and always thinking laterally.

London Bar > Sport

(Leading Juniors) Ranked: Tier 3

Craig HarrisFurnival ChambersClearly very experienced and comfortable in sports disciplinary proceedings.