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Richard Liddell

Sports Law

Rick has a strong sports practice and is highly regarded for offering expertise in the field of sports law and sports disciplinary law. 

Rick is recommended as a leading junior in Sport Law in Chambers & Partners’ Guide to the Legal Profession 2011.

Drawing on his experience, expertise and advocacy skills fostered in commercial litigation and professional disciplinary matters, Rick is to be found regularly appearing in sports disciplinary tribunals and investigative inquiries (for both the regulatory authority and participants) and is frequently instructed in high-profile matters in the sporting arena.

Rick is particularly pleased to be able to combine his legal work with his love of sport (both watching and playing).  He also enjoys collecting sports memorabilia and is an avid supporter of Sunderland AFC!

His cases include:

  • Advising the International Rugby Board (the world governing and law-making body for the game of Rugby Union) on a number of matters including the proposed introduction of a new Policy and an accompanying amendment to one of its Regulations.
  • Rick is regularly instructed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) to advise and to appear at Enquiries, disciplinary hearings and appeal hearings.  His varied and wide-ranging cases include:

       -   cases of corruption and financial impropriety;

       -   allegations of bringing horseracing into disrepute and other improper conduct;

       -   prohibited substance cases;

       -   non-triers;

       -   interference disputes;

       -   ownership disputes.

  • High-profile cases in which Rick represented the BHA include:

 -   BHA v Jeff Pearce, Geoff Huffer, Jerry O’Dwyer & others: Disciplinary enquiry concerning (i) the running of SABRE LIGHT (ii) the identity of the horse’s owner (iii) suspicious betting.  Rick was led by Graeme McPherson QC.

 -   BHA v Neil Leach & others: Disciplinary enquiry concerning (i) the provision of Inside Information by the travelling Head Lad of Nicky Richards (licensed trainer) to a Betfair punter (ii) the fraudulent practice of placing lay bets (on Betfair) against a number of horses using Inside Information.

 -   BHA v Phelans: Disciplinary enquiry concerning (lay) bets placed by the Phelans on a horse, which they owned, to lose.

 -   Appeared before both the Discplinary Panel and the Appeal Board in the MOSSMANN GORGE Inquiry – the Inquiry centred on the conduct of David Flood (trainer) and Hugh Taylor (assistant).  The gelding had been found to have been given an intravenous injection on racecourse premises contrary to the Rules of Racing.  The Panel’s decision (upheld on appeal) was that Mr Flood (with the assistance of Mr Taylor) had administered an injection of Bute, a prohibited substance, on the day of the race.

 -   Junior Counsel to Graeme McPherson QC before the Disciplinary Panel in Seamus Heffernan’s appeal against a 14-day ban for deliberately impeding LIBBRETIST (ridden by Frankie Dettori) in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

  • Instructed by the National Trainers Federation to represent one of its members, Alan Berry (trainer) who was at the centre of a high-profile Jockey Club corruption investigation concerning the running of HILLSIDE GIRL.  In light of the evidence that emerged at the Inquiry, the corruption charges against Mr Berry (that included conspiracy and connivance) were withdrawn.
  • Instructed by a jockey in respect of a proposed appeal against a decision by the BHA’s Chief Medical Officer that he is not fit to ride on medical grounds.
  • Recently asked to represent a BMX rider in an appeal to British Cycling (the governing body of cycling sport in the UK) concerning a ban imposed for abuse of an official.
  • Sports related commercial contract disputes: he acted in a High Court commercial contract dispute concerning the distribution of 2006 FIFA World Cup DVDs.  Rick was instructed by Bird & Bird Solicitors.
  • Instructed in professional liability and insurance cases with a sports element.  His cases include:

       -   acting for insurance brokers that were being sued by a former professional rugby union player;

       -   advising on insurance issues relating to a dispute involving a (UK sport) National Governing Body.

Rick is a member of the British Association for Sport and Law.