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John specialises in commercial, employment and sports law. He often acts in cases before the High Court, specialist tribunals or arbitration panels. John was formerly Vice President of a corporate advisory and investment fund and uses his practical experience in banking/funds, shareholder and partnership disputes. John regularly makes interim applications in all his practice areas.

John is the only junior at the Bar of England & Wales below 13-years' call ranked by Chambers and Partners in employment and sports law. Overall he is 1 of only 2 junior barristers ranked in those areas. Legal directory comments include:

  • Chambers and Partners 2014 finds John a popular choice to act as junior counsel, who is frequently engaged by a range of leading silks, and was recently led in a substantial breach of fiduciary duties case. It notes that "He's got the right balance between demonstrating his intellect and fitting in as part of a team when appropriate" and "He's exactly the sort of person you want for sensible responsive employment advice, and offers first-class legal analysis." (employment).

    It also highlights that John acts in disciplinary matters, commercial disputes and contractual cases between individuals and agents. His practice is focused on football and rugby, but he also undertakes motor racing and cricket cases, and emphasises that "He is commercial and responsive. He picks things up quickly and when time is of the essence he will do things very quickly indeed. He is very user-friendly." (sport).

  • Legal 500 2014 notes that "He really understands the legal framework of sport and sports regulation" (sport).

  • Chambers and Partners 2013 labels John as having "strong advocacy skills and a smooth and charming manner with clients" (employment) and as "developing a considerable profile in sports law" (sport).

  • Legal 500 2013 notes John for handling sports disciplinary cases and his "honed judgment" (media, entertainment and sport).

  • Chambers and Partners 2012 describes him as "an outstanding young Junior who pulls out all the stops to get results” (employment).

  • Legal 500 2012 recommends him for "commercial advice, prompt turnaround and client care" (media, entertainment and sport).

By way of professional recognition, John was chosen by the Bar Council, Law Society and British Association of Sport and Law as an advocate at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games; has also been appointed as advocate to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games; has been selected as FA arbitrator; is a panellist for Sport Resolutions, the sports appeals/arbitration service; is a panellist for the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and has acted as mediator. John is an elected member of Littleton's Management Committee and Head of its Sports Law Group.

John is experienced before the Court of Appeal, High Court, Employment Appeal Tribunal, Court of Arbitration for Sport, FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and Player Status Committee, FA Rule K Arbitrations and Appeals, Premier League Adjudication and Appeals, Premier League Managers' Arbitration Tribunal and RFU Disciplinary and Appeal Panels.  He maintains an Employment Tribunal practice across the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Notable cases are listed under practice areas below.


    Commercial Law

John makes interim applications, final appearances and attends mediations on the following commercial issues: shareholder disputes including unfair prejudice petitions or derivative actions; partnership disputes within LLP and Partnership Act contexts; bonus/commission claims; restrictive covenants; fiduciary duties; confidential information; penalty or liquidated damages clauses/claw-backs; agency agreements; freezing or search orders.

Notable cases include:

  • Green & Hillersden Estates Limited v. Heim (QBD) 2014 (Lewis J): Freezing/Delivery Up/Affidavit Order.

  • Equity Housing Group v. King (Ch.D.) 2014 (HHJ Hodge QC): Delivery up/deletion/preservation/affidavit injunction.

  • Silverson Machines Ltd v. Aplin & Ors (QBD) 2014 (Mitting J.): Freezing order injunction.

  • Seaco & Ors. v. Buss Capital & Ors (QBD) 2012: Conspiracy, confidential information, restrictive covenant, breach of contract, injunction claim. Led by Paul Goulding QC and Damian Brown QC (settled).

  • Rubicon LLP & Ors. v. Attias & Ors (Ch.D) 2012 (Sales J.): Conspiracy, confidential information, restrictive covenant, breach of contract/fiduciary duty claim involving 1.2bn in hedge funds redemptions. Led by Chris Quinn (settled).

  • Malik v. Golpeykar & Harrington (Ch.D) 2011 (HHJ Walden-Smith): Whether there was a partnership in law.

  • Humphreys v. Norilsk Nickel International (UK) Ltd [2010] IRLR 976; [2010] EWHC 1867 (QB) (HHJ Seymour QC): Contractual bonus claim.

  • K2 Partnership Solutions Ltd v. Nina Strauss & Or (QBD) 2010 (Tugenhat J.): Non-solicit/non-compete injunction

    Employment Law

John appears in multi-day Full Hearings, Preliminary Hearings as well as before the EAT and the Court of Appeal, representing both claimants and respondents in cases involving all aspects of employment law, including unfair dismissal; breach of contract/unauthorised deduction of wages; all forms of discrimination; "whistleblowing”; TUPE; and jurisdictional issues/practice and procedure. Recent EAT cases include:

  • Charlesworth v. Amey Plc & Ors. UKEATPA/0326/13/MC (HHJ Peter Clarke): Tripartite employment status.

  • Tavistock School & Ors. v. Richards & Ors. UKEAT/0244/13/SM (HHJ Peter Clarke): Timing of assessment of redundancy dismissal and construction of employment contract.

  • Stuart v. London City Airport Ltd. UKEATPA/1651/11/MAA (Cox. J.): Whether misconduct investigation into alleged criminal act requires heightened level of scrutiny.

  • Blazevic v. Hayashibara International Inc. & Ors. UKEATPA/0738/11/CEA (Langstaff J, President): Whether a strike out and costs order should have been made.

  • Odukwe v. Partners of Hoare Lea Consulting Engineers UKEAT/0547/10/SM (Underhill J., President): Statutory dispute resolution procedures and time limits.

  • Bullimore v. Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors & Ors. [2011] IRLR 18 (Underhill J., President): Advice on whether a reference can amount to an act of victimisation.

  • Parsons v. Burworth Estates (a firm) UKEAT/0547/08/MAA (Underhill J., President): Statutory grievance procedures

    Sports Law

John is Head of Littleton's Sports Law Group, writes for the World Sports Law Report and LawInSport.com (of which he is a member of the Executive Board) and is a former international and national rowing champion. Recent instructions include:

  • Advice on liquidated damages clause in Premier League manager's contract.

  • FA Arbitration on breach of representation agreement and fiduciary duties.

  • FIFA & CAS cases on agent's commission, jurisdiction clauses, non-payments to player, "just cause" and compensation.

  • FA Appeal about interpretation of FA Rules and Regulations concerning relegation.

  • Classification and non-selection appeals by Paralympic champion and to Sochi Winter Games respectively (via Sports Resolutions).

  • Take-over of Leeds United.

  • Advice on George North's contract with Northampton Saints (led by Damian Brown QC).

  • High Court claim over FA Cup Final tickets (led by Andrew Clarke QC).

  • Premier League Managers Arbitration about termination payment (led by Damian Brown QC).

  • Jones v. Cardiff City Claim for unpaid salary and bonuses (led by Damian Brown QC).

  • Cross-border image rights dispute (led by David Reade QC).

  • Allardyce v. Blackburn Rovers & Kean Defamation action by Sam Allardyce. 

  • Slough v. Milton Keynes RUFC; RFU v. Bristol RFC RFU disciplinaries into race and biting allegations respectively.

    Recent Talks

Player Contracts: Formation to Termination, Stephenson Harwood, 22 May 2014

  • Funding and Litigating Shareholder Disputes, Littleton Manchester Commercial Seminar, 1 October 2014
  • Football Agents Disputes, Fladgate, 18 September 2014
  • Unfair Prejudice, Fladgate, 18 March 2014
  • Athlete Selection Challenges, Harbotte & Lewis, 17 March 2014
  • Shareholder and Member Disputes, Doyle Clayton, 6 February 2014
  • TUPE/Administration, Stephenson Harwood, 22 January 2014
  • Football Contract Termination, Clarke Willmott, 21 January 2014
  • Interpreting Commercial and Employment Contracts, Burgess Salmon, 21 January 2014
  • Sporting Just Cause, Charles Russell Sports Group, 30 October 2013
  • Social Media at Work, MBL Webinar, 14 October 2013
  • The Right to Play, World Sports Law Report Player Contracts Conference, 11 July 2013
  • Restraint of Trade in Sport, Brabners and Pinsent Mason, 19 March 2013
  • Non-solicitation and non-dealing, Charles Russell Employment Group, 29 November 2012

Call:      2005