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UK Bar: Sports 2017

We recognise 30 leading practitioners for their proficiency in sports law. All barristers featured excel in representing sporting individuals, teams, clubs, domestic and international sporting associations and regulatory bodies in disciplinary, contractual, regulatory and commercial disputes before the relevant authorities. Certain individuals will also have significant experience sitting on arbitral panels.

Most Highly Regarded
Jim Sturman QC 2 Bedford Row
Michael Beloff QC Blackstone Chambers
Adam Lewis QC Blackstone Chambers
Ian Mill QC Blackstone Chambers
Daniel Saoul 4 New Square
Nick De Marco Blackstone Chambers
John Mehrzad Littleton Chambers


BLACKSTONE CHAMBERS remains the leading sports law set with nine silks recommended in our research, including three of the four most highly regarded practitioners. The set covers a wealth of sports related commercial and regulatory matters, including state control, sports body governance and regulation, employment and disciplinary issues.
The “excellent” Adam Lewis QC earns widespread praise from sources with one describing him asprobably the leading silk, in terms of breadth of work and knowledge”. He is a particularly active practitioner, regularly seeing action in some of the UK’s highest-profile doping disputes.
Sources consider Michael Beloff QC “one of the most influential and respected practitioners in the field” and praise his “towering intellect”.
Ian Mill QC is a “force of nature” known for consistently providing “top-notch” services in tough disputes. He regularly acts as counsel, arbitrator and panel chairman.
According to sources, Kate Gallafent QC is becoming increasingly popular in the field, offering significant expertise in mediation and arbitration disputes.
David Pannick QC is a high-profile name in the field known for handling sensitive, football-related disputes.
Jane Mulcahy QC comes highly recommended for her practice focusing on crossover employment and football matters. She is considered a “definite inclusion” and is “very popular with clients” by market sources.
Brian Kennelly QC is praised for his active sports law practice and is “a go-to barrister for the regulators”. He regularly appears in disputes before football, rugby and CAS tribunals and also handles sports cases at EU level.
The “eminent” Charles Flint QC and Andrew Hunter QC (“fearfully bright and effective”) are also highlighted for their excellent work in this field.

Leading criminal law set 2 BEDFORD ROW impresses in this year’s research. The set’s barristers regularly appear before major regulatory bodies in a wide range of disputes including disciplinary issues. Given the criminal focus of the chambers, members of the set are regularly called upon to assist sporting professionals facing criminal proceedings. Two Queen’s Counsel are recommended.
Jim Sturman QC is singled out as “one of the top practitioners in football” thanks to his depth of knowledge and his extensive experience appearing before high-level arbitral panels.
Mark Milliken-Smith QC is also deemed fit for inclusion thanks to his considerable experience in rugby-related disciplinary proceedings.

4 NEW SQUARE’s Graeme McPherson QC is praised for his extremely active sports practice that sees him instructed in a range of high-profile disputes, particularly those involving horse racing.

At MONCKTON CHAMBERS, Paul Harris QC is considered “a leader at the sports Bar” thanks to his impressively broad practice and enviable list of clients. According to sources, he is “a very sharp practitioner” who clients love for his tenacity and robust style.

MATRIX CHAMBERS is home to Nicholas Randall QC who is known for his “absolutely first-rate practice” encompassing a broad range of employment, disciplinary and contractual disputes”. Peers are effusive in their praise of his “insight and knowledge in football-related disputes,” as well as his “excellent advocacy style”. He is also a popular arbitrator.

Richard Smith QC of GUILDHALL CHAMBERS is a highly rated sports silk who is retained as counsel by the England rugby team. One source maintains, “He is a top-notch, analytical lawyer who commands respect for his fair and straight-down-the-line manner.”


4 NEW SQUARE is home to three barristers singled out for their proficiency in sports law.
Daniel Saoul earns widespread praise for providing clients with "a fantastic combination of hard work, creative legal thinking and tenacious advocacy.”
Richard Liddell is regarded as the go-to advocate for world rugby. He regularly acts for athletes and governing bodies in doping disputes and has started to develop a practice in e-sports.
Jeffrey Benz is also highlighted for his considerable experience as a CAS arbitrator.

BLACKSTONE CHAMBERS is home to two outstanding juniors.
The “fantastic” Nick De Marco is commended for his expertise and significant experience handling disputes in football. Market commentators are repeatedly impressed with his work and one source in particular describes De Marco as “an extremely bright and hardworking junior”.
James Segan is considered “a bright and client-friendly practitioner” and regularly appears in disciplinary hearings and has experience acting for governing bodies.

At LITTLETON CHAMBERS, sports law group head John Mehrzad is highly rated by peers and solicitors and is referred to asuber-responsive and always very comprehensive”. An accomplished “up-and-comer”, Mehrzad was a panel member of the independent review into the culture and climate at British Cycling.

Louis Weston of 3PB BARRISTERS is an able and well-regarded junior with a broad practice covering snooker, horse and motor racing disputes. Notably, he is a key name in cases relating to match-fixing.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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