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JOHN MEHRZAD

 

John specialises in commercial, employment and sports law. He 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 experience in banking/funds, shareholder and partnership disputes. John regularly makes interim applications in his practice areas.

John was chosen by the Bar Council, Law Society and British Association of Sport and Law to be an advocate at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games; the Law Society of Scotland, Faculty of Advocates and the Management Committee of Sport Resolution to be an advocate at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games; has been nominated an FA arbitrator on several occasions; is a panellist for Sport Resolutions, the leading domestic sports appeals/arbitration service; is an FA Rule K ‘Fast-Track’ Arbitrator; is on the panel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and has acted as a mediator. John is also currently an elected member of Littleton’s Management Committee and is Head of its Sports Law Group.

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

  • Chambers and Partners 2015 remarks that John is "excellent at injunction work and recommended for his handling of restrictive covenant cases". It also mentions that "He has a really good manner with clients but is also tenacious. He punches above his weight." (employment) It also notes that John is involved in contractual disputes and disciplinary proceedings in football and rugby, acting on behalf of players, managers and agents. It is noted that "his diligence, advice, responsiveness and willingness to see the bigger picture are impressive." (sport)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)

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, Premier League Adjudication and Appeal Panels, FA Arbitration Panels, Premier League Managers’ Arbitration Tribunal and RFU Disciplinary and Appeal Panels. He also maintains an Employment Tribunal practice across the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

 

    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 Ltd. v. Heim (QBD) 2014 (Lewis J.): Delivery up/freezing order injunction.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • Game Retail Ltd. v. Laws UKEAT/0188/14/DA (HHJ Eady QC): Social media misconduct.
  • 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

  • "Equality and Discrimination Challenges in Sports”, Sports Resolutions seminar, 5 November 2014
  • 'The Magic of Player Contract Termination’ World Sports Law Report Player Contracts conference, 29-30 October 2014
  • Funding and Litigating Shareholder Disputes, Littleton Manchester Commercial Seminar, 1 October 2014
  • Football Agents Disputes, Fladgate, 18 September 2014
  • Player Contracts: Formation to Termination, Stephenson Harwood, 22 May 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
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