Thorough and analytical. Christopher has a forensic approach and leaves no stone unturned.Legal 500 2023
Shortlisted for Sport Silk of the Year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2023
Christopher is a criminal, sports and regulatory law silk. He is an accomplished trial advocate and Crown Court Recorder. He is a highly experienced chairman of numerous sport disciplinary tribunals and a member of assorted disciplinary panels. Author of the ‘Quinlan Review, the Independent Review into events at Wrexham Tennis Centre, and Chairman of World Rugby’s Judicial Panel and the Football Association.
Christopher prosecutes and defends cases of the utmost gravity, including homicide and serious sexual allegations. Together with ongoing homicide practice, recent examples of his cases include:
Christopher is a very experienced silk with a substantial regulatory and disciplinary practice.
Christopher appears before and is a highly experienced chairman of numerous sport disciplinary bodies and panels. He has led a number of substantial reviews including the ‘Quinlan Review’ which restructured the British Horseracing Authority’s disciplinary procedure. He is the independent Chair of World Rugby’s Judicial Panel and also the Independent Chair of The Football Association’s Judicial Panel. In November 2020 he was appointed to lead British Gymnastics Independent Complaints Process to handle individual complaints made to British Gymnastics and to the British Athletics Commission. He will oversee the whole process. This follows publication in July 2020 of his safeguarding Review for UK Athletics and in January 2019 of his Safeguarding Review for the Lawn Tennis Association.
Christopher is an experienced sports law silk, as a tribunal chair and also an advocate. He advises, appears before, and chairs tribunals covering such areas as on-field foul play, off-field misconduct, anti-doping, safeguarding and selection appeals in a wide range of sports.
The ‘Quinlan Review’ was published in September 2016. Christopher was appointed to lead a review of the structure, composition and operation of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) Disciplinary Panel, Appeal Board and Licensing Committee following the Jim Best case. The resulting Quinlan Review made far-reaching recommendations in order to bring the process in line with current best practice. The Review received universal support in the industry. The BHA accepted all 24 recommendations.
In November 2016 Christopher was appointed World Rugby’s Judicial Panel Chairman (‘JPC’), after a worldwide selection process. It is the most senior judicial role within the sport. He is responsible, inter alia, for the worldwide appointment and management of World Rugby’s Judicial Committees and Judicial Officers, including Rugby World Cup (‘RWC’), for which he has served as judicial officer at the last three tournaments. He is primarily responsible for safeguarding the reputation of World Rugby through clear, consistent and fair decision making by disciplinary, appeal and other judicial panels which demonstrate the independence of World Rugby.
He led the judicial team at the RWC in Japan in 2019. He presided over the Disputes Committee which heard and resolved the infamous dispute involving Scotland Rugby’s threat to bring legal proceedings against World Rugby if their final pool stage match against Japan was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis. The Committee upheld World Rugby’s complaint of misconduct and fined Scotland £70,000.
In August 2019 he was appointed as the Football Association’s first independent Judicial Panel Chairman. Thereby he is the head of and responsible for the judicial panel from which regulatory commissions and appeal boards are selected to determine cases in connection with the both the professional and amateur game of association football played in England. Christopher appoints every commission convened to hear cases involving such matters as on-field foul play, misconduct including anti-doping and betting offences from the Premier League to the amateur game. He is also responsible for maintaining the panels from which such commissions are selected and for the training of judicial personnel, which includes former Master of the Rolls, a former High Court Judge and many Queen’s Counsel.
Led the Independent Review into events at Wrexham Tennis Centre which was published in January 2019. The Lawn Tennis Association (‘the LTA’) commissioned the review into events at Wrexham Tennis Centre following the conviction and subsequent imprisonment for sexual offences of their former Head Coach in July 2017. In summary, the report concluded that Wrexham Tennis Centre failed properly to address a number of historic complaints made about the behaviour of coaches at the Centre, including the former Head Coach. Tennis Wales and the LTA were both found to have failed properly to recognise the safeguarding concerns that should have been evident at the time and to have acted inadequately in failing to initiate proper proceedings against the Head Coach prior to his arrest in 2017.
In summer 2020 conducted an Independent Review for UK Athletics to evaluate its safeguarding policies and procedures. The Executive Summary and Recommendations were published in July 2020 and will be implemented in their entirety.
Christopher frequently speaks at disciplinary, anti-doping, safeguarding and sports law conferences. He leads training judicial panel members for World Rugby and the Football Association.
Christopher appears before and is a highly experienced chairman of numerous sport disciplinary bodies and panels. He has led a number of substantial reviews including the ‘Quinlan Review’ which restructured the British Horseracing Authority’s disciplinary procedure.
He is the independent Chair of World Rugby’s Judicial Panel and also the Independent Chair of The Football Association’s Judicial Panel. In November 2020 he was appointed to lead British Gymnastics Independent Complaints Process to handle individual complaints made to British Gymnastics and to the British Athletics Commission. He will oversee the whole process. This follows publication in July 2020 of his safeguarding Review for UK Athletics and in January 2019 of his Safeguarding Review for the Lawn Tennis Association.
R v AA (Bristol CC)
Christopher prosecuted grime artist known as Solo45, (part of the Boy Better Known collective) who was convicted of imprisoning, raping and sexually assaulting four women over a period of two years.
R v IP, EA & JC (Bristol CC)
Christopher prosecuted defendants who murdered a man in the nightclub a targeted revenge attack which had its origins in a gang feud.
R v SB & Or (Cardff CC)
Christopher represented one of two bothers, alleged to have murdered another in a drug feud.
R v JV & EA (Cardiff CC)
Christopher prosecuted a homicide case in which the defendants were, uncommonly, charged separately, one with murder and the other manslaughter in respect of the same victim.
R v NT (Truro CC)
Christopher represented an engineer charged with gross negligence manslaughter who was alleged to have designed and supervised the building of a barn extension which he knew to be lethally dangerous.
R v LP & MH (Merthyr Tydfil, CC)
Christopher prosecuted a mother and son who murdered their husband/step-father.
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Recorder of the Crown Court (2009)
Bencher, Inner Temple
Judicial Panel Chairman, World Rugby (2017 to date)
Judicial Panel Chairman, Football Association (2019)
International Association of Athletics Federation, Disciplinary Tribunal member
Sport Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators
Legal Member, National Anti-Doping Panel
Legal Member, National Child Safeguarding in Sport Panel
Specialist Panel Member, Football Association Judicial Panel
Deputy Chair, Appeal Board, Table Tennis England
British Association for Sport and Law
Bristol Medico-Legal Society
Criminal Bar Association
Wales & Chester Circuit
BHA chief executive Nick Rust said, “The changes we’re making mean that everyone connected with our sport will be able to have the utmost confidence in the impartiality and fairness of the BHA’s disciplinary panels. As well as providing his own expert, independent view, Christopher Quinlan’s report has given us the opportunity to address the concerns of our sport’s participants and stakeholders and to improve their confidence in what we do and how we do it.”
Welcoming the changes, Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: “We would like to thank Christopher Quinlan for producing such a detailed and thorough report…We therefore very much welcome the recommendations contained within it, designed as they are to address those and other concerns.”
In welcoming his appointment World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said:
“Christopher is greatly respected within the rugby and sports environments and brings to the position a great wealth of relevant experience at the highest level. These qualities, combined with his extensive rugby knowledge and empathy for the on-field environment, mean that Christopher is perfectly skilled to drive even greater consistency and rugby playing empathy within our disciplinary processes.”
LEGAL 500 2023
Sport: ‘A vastly knowledgeable and sagacious silk. His combination of razor-sharp wit and Judicial Panel Chair sports experience is unmatched.’
Crime: ‘Christopher is thorough and analytical, and a great communicator with lawyers and lay clients. He has a forensic approach and leaves no stone unturned.’
CHAMBERS UK 2022
Crime: Band 1
Sport: “He is particularly outstanding dealing with sport disciplinary hearings.”
LEGAL 500 2022
Crime (General and Fraud): Ranked: Tier 1
Sport: Leading Silk: Tier 1
“As Chair of World Rugby’s Judicial Panel, he has an excellent feel for how a sports panel operates and as an experienced criminal QC, is first-rate at dealing with evidence and cross-examination. I was particularly impressed with his handling of and interaction with clients.”
CHAMBERS UK 2021
Crime: Noted for his ability to handle criminal matters of the utmost seriousness, including the defence of some particularly challenging cases of murder, manslaughter and sexual violence. He receives plaudits for both his prosecution and defence work.
Strengths: “A robust and fierce barrister.”
“He is very determined, extremely thorough and very authoritative.”
“He’s punchy and combative in his style, but is also a very careful and thorough practitioner.”
Recent work: Prosecuted a grime artist known as Solo45 who was alleged to have imprisoned, raped and sexually assaulted four separate women over a period of two years.
Sport: Band 1
Leading criminal silk with a wide-ranging sports practice who has recognised expertise in anti-doping matters. He is frequently called upon to sit as a tribunal chair. He has been particularly active in cases concerning rugby and horse racing, and his recent work has concerned safeguarding in sport, among other issues.
Strengths: “He is excellent for disciplinary matters and has a great insight into criminal issues.” “A very smart guy, very sound and sensible.”
Recent work: Presided over the Disputes Committee which heard and resolved the dispute involving Scotland Rugby’s threat to bring legal proceedings against World Rugby if its final pool stage match against Japan was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.
CHAMBERS UK 2020
Sport: “An absolutely outstanding advocate. His many years of criminal advocacy in the Crown Court have given him skills which are perfect for appearing in disciplinary, safeguarding and doping cases.”
Crime: An interviewee highlights his “dedication to detail and level of perseverance.”
CHAMBERS UK 2019
Sport: “He is extraordinarily thorough, extraordinarily hard-working and his understanding of the issues is without parallel.”
Crime: “A powerhouse advocate who has incredible attention to detail.”
LEGAL 500 2019
Regulatory, Health & Safety and Licensing: “He has a stellar sports regulatory practice.”
Crime: “A first-class silk.”
CHAMBERS UK 2018
Sport: “He is very astute with an extremely good knowledge of the law as it applies to sport, and he’s not afraid to make difficult decisions.”
Crime: “He is careful, forthright and brilliant in court” and “He is very careful in his preparation and precise in his questioning.”
CHAMBERS UK 2017
Sport: Leading Silk, Band 1 – “He’s very well organised and has a fantastic work ethic.”
Crime: Leading Silk – Noted for his ability to handle criminal matters of the utmost seriousness, including the defence of some particularly challenging cases of murder, manslaughter and sexual violence.
Recent work: Represented an individual charged with the murder of her new-born baby. The defendant was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to probation.
LEGAL 500 2017
Construction, Planning & Environment: “He has expertise in environmental matters.”
Crime: “A top-class performer.”
CHAMBERS UK 2016
Sport: Leading Silk – Band 1; “He is a formidable advocate who leaves no stone unturned in any case he deals with.”
Recent work: Instructed by the International Sailing Federation to advise on its response to the appeal by professional sailor Dirk de Ridder.
Crime: Leading Silk – “He is extremely charming, incredibly persuasive and immaculately prepared.”
Highly regarded for its longstanding expertise in handling a range of sports law matters on the Western circuit.
‘He is a vastly experienced criminal advocate who is also outstanding at representing clients at sports disciplinary tribunals. His considerable experience as a tribunal chair and part-time judge have given him a very sharp instinct into how to best advise a client facing disciplinary issues.’ Legal 500 – Leading Silk, Tier 1 – Sport
‘Christopher leaves no stone unturned in his preparation and presentation of cases. He thinks through every point and this enables him to present in a sensible and highly cogent manner. His legal submissions on paper and in court are second-to-none. His attention to detail is astonishing.’ Legal 500 – Leading Silk, Tier 1 – Crime
Christopher Quinlan KC, stands out as ‘one of the leading sports barristers in the UK‘.
‘Christopher is thorough and analytical, and a great communicator with lawyers and lay clients. He has a forensic approach and leaves no stone unturned.’ Legal 500 – Leading Silk, Tier 1 – Crime
‘A vastly knowledgeable and sagacious silk. His combination of razor-sharp wit and Judicial Panel Chair sports experience is unmatched.’ Legal 500 – Leading Silk, Tier 1 – Sport
“Highly recommended for his infectious enthusiasm, availability and ability to provide outstanding advice.”
Chambers & Partners
Sport: Law & Practice – Bloomsbury, March 2021