• Overview

    Our premier sports group advises a wide range of clients across the sports sector. We are a full-service team, offering client support around the following:

    • Risk and liability
    • Insurance coverage
    • Regulatory issues
    • Child protection issues
    • Governance and disputes affecting sport’s National Governing Bodies (NGBs), organisations, clubs, competitors, officials, spectators and insurers (from coverage to resolution)

    This multi-disciplinary, national team brings a wide range of skills and expertise allied with pragmatism and commercial acumen, underpinned by a passion for all sports - from Cumbrian rugby, football in Dartford through to participation at European Championship–level triathlon and motorsport.

    The group is a real front runner in advising on safeguarding issues. This includes policy formulation, advising on enquiries and investigations and dealing with data protection and human rights issues, as well as liaising with agencies including the police, social services and the NSPCC.

    We advise insurers, brokers and insureds (governing bodies, clubs and organisers of sport) on all aspects of liability, regulation and risk, having acted in a wide range of sports including motorsport, rugby, gymnastics, martial arts, equestrian activities, football, hockey and golf. A specialist sub-team is focused on the issue of coverage and advises on both domestic and international matters, with recent highlights including claims under a series of related policies for professional footballers in the UAE.

    We are true team players with a wealth of experience in advising on governance issues, particularly the challenges presented by the launch of "A Code for Sports Governance" from Sport England and UK Sport, where our guidance and advice ensures our clients are always ahead of the game.  Indeed, partners in the team are also Sport England-qualified coaches and club leaders and are able to bring first-hand practical experience of handling these issues themselves in an active sporting environment in addition to cogent legal insight.

    Notable cases

    Mock v Mullacott Equestrian Centre Ltd (2017)

    The strict liability provision imposed by section 2(2) of the Animals Act 1971 was avoided by demonstrating at trial on behalf of the defendant that the claimant had voluntarily accepted the risk within the hack she partook and suffered injury, such that the full statutory defence was engaged per section 5(2). The claimant's case was dismissed.

    Trustees of the Portsmouth Youth Activities Committee (A Charity) v Poppleton (2008)

    The claimant was seriously injured when he tried to jump from the top of the back wall to the buttress on the opposite wall at the defendant's indoor climbing centre. The claim was dismissed, the court finding there were inherent and obvious risks in the activity (he was undertaking of his own free will). The law did not require the defendant to prevent him from undertaking it, nor to train or supervise him while he did it.

    Kyson v Hemmings (D1) & Molnar (D2) QBD 2002 (HHJ Pryor QC)

    Claim arose out of accident in classic motorcycle race at Mallory Park, Gerards that saw the claimant sustain significant injury. The court found that it was more probable than not that the cause of the accident was the claimant taking the wrong line out of Gerards and coming into contact with the rumble strip as opposed to the allegations made against the respective defendants in terms of products supplied, the claim being dismissed in its entirety.

    News & insights

    Weightmans’ Scottish presence boosted with raft of new appointments

    The news comes as Weightmans marks five years in its West George Street office in Glasgow,


    The low road, the high road or the highway to hell?

    The inherent risks of a sporting event and competitor conduct remain crucial when establishing liability.

    Bruce Ralston
    Bruce Ralston Partner


    Communication breakdowns could leave sporting bodies with heavy penalties

    Technology can be used to enhance sporting performance and make competitions fairer, but there are also major legal risks. Bruce Ralston examines some…

    Bruce Ralston
    Bruce Ralston Partner

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