Christopher Quinlan QC

Year of call: 1992 | Silk: 2011

"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. "
Chambers UK 2017

Christopher Christopher QC

Christopher is a criminal and regulatory law silk with extensive experience in sports law. He is a Recorder and highly-experienced chairman of numerous sport disciplinary bodies and member of disciplinary panels.


Christopher is an experienced trial advocate specialising in serious crime.  Christopher took silk in 2011. He has continued to prosecute and defend cases of the utmost gravity, including murder, manslaughter, and serious sexual allegations. He has also appeared in Criminal Cases Review Commission cases. 

Significant Cases

  • Defended woman charged with the murder of her abusive partner. Case now reported on admissibility of bad character s101(1)(d) and s101(1)(g)  R v Cox [2014] EWCA Crim 804; [2014] 5 Archbold Review 1, CA; Criminal Law Week Issue 21/2014.
  • Prosecuted to conviction a three-month multi-handed servitude trial, one of the first in the country.
  • Defended an internationally renowned artist charged with historic sexual allegations as part of the Operation Yewtree investigation. 
  • He prosecuted two-month trial involving two parents charged with killing their four-month old daughter.
  • Defended young man charged with the murder of an elderly woman in her own home.
  • Prosecuted for Natural Resources Wales two substantive environmental law cases.

Sports Law

Listed as the first “notable practitioner” in  Chambers & Partners 2014 ‘Sport – The Regions’, Christopher advises, appears before, and chairs disciplinary tribunals in a wide variety of sports, including football, rugby union, rugby league, horseracing and equestrian, motorsport, lawn tennis, boxing and golf.

In 2012 he added the London Olympics to the portfolio of international sporting tournaments with which he has been involved professionally. He is involved at domestic, European and International levels. His sports disciplinary practice has taken him throughout Europe and New Zealand, Australia and Argentina. To that can be added the Rugby World Cup, 6 Nations Autumn Internationals (Northern & Southern Hemispheres), Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups ('ERC'), English Premier league and (rugby) Premiership. He spent September and October of 2011 in New Zealand as an World Rugby Judicial Officer at the Rugby World Cup.

He is retained to sit on a number of sporting disciplinary and regulatory Panels. He has an international reputation as an expert in anti-doping regulations. In 2012 he was the only British lawyer appointed to the World Rugby Anti-Doping Panel.

He frequently lectures at sporting and anti-doping conferences.


Christopher has developed his regulatory junior practice in silk, with an expertise in Environmental Law. In 2012 and 2013 he prosecuted a number of high-profile cases for Natural Resources Wales (and its predecessor Environment Agency Wales). Those complex cases concerned the illegal depositing of millions of pounds of waste within and without the UK.




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 newborn baby. The defendant was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to probation.


Leadling Silk - 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 chairman.

Strengths: "He's very well organised and has a fantastic work ethic."

Recent work: Appointed as Judical Officer for the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final, and also advised on other matters through the tournament.

LEGAL 500 2016

Construction, Planning & Environment

Leading silks

‘Recommended for enviromental cases.’  


Leading silks

‘Deals with the most serious murders, sexual abuse cases and frauds.’



Leading Silk - Band 2

A strong presence on the Western Circuit who is widely praised for his caseload and his advocacy skills. He defends and prosecutes cases concerning serious sexual offences and manslaughter.

Strengths: "He is extremely charming, incredibly persusaive and immaculately prepared."

Recent work: Acted in R v Elliot Bodenham, a case concerning charges of sexual offences committed against a number of young girls.


Leadling Silk - Band 1

Recommended for his wide ranging expertise on doping, disciplinary and regulatory work in football, rugby and sailing.

Strengths: "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.

LEGAL 500 2015

Construction, Planning & Environment

Leading silks

‘An unstoppable presence in court.’

Christopher Quinlan QC recently prosecuted a company and a director for illegally exporting controlled waste from South Wales to Holland and Indonesia.


Leading silks

‘Meticulous in his preparation and good with clients in the most serious of cases’



Leading Silk - Band 2

A veteran trial advocate who prosecutes and defends in complex criminal cases. His caseload includes high-profile homicides and serious sexual offences.

Expertise: "He is an exceptionally hard-working silk."

Recent work: Instructed in the murder cases of R v Stephens & Vince, R v Cox and R v Boult, as well as the slavery trial of R v Connors.


Leading Silk - Band 1

Handles a number of sporting disciplinary matters concerning anti-doping misconduct cases. He is retained as an arbitrator on a number of sporting panels across various sports, including football and rugby.

Recent work: Has chaired disciplinary proceedings for the ERC and RFU.

LEGAL 500 2014

Construction, Planning & Environment

‘He has expertise in environmental law and handles a significant amount of prosecution work’

Christopher Quinlan QC recently defended artist Graham Ovenden in a case involving alleged historic sexual offences.


Leading silks ‘An experienced trial advocate who specialises in serious crimes, many of which are high profile’



Is highly recommended for his infectious enthusiasm, availability an ability to provide outstanding advice.

Expertise: "The time that he gave to the case was impressive and he was immediately able to highlight the relevant legal issues that we needed to concentrate upon. I have dealt with a number of serious cases over the years but have never found Queen's Counsel to be more approachable and readily on hand to give advice to both myself and to the client."

Recent work: He led for The Crown in the highly publicised Connors family case, which involved charges of holding persons in servitude and requiring them to perform compulsory labour.


Has extensive experience in sports disciplinary cases, most notably in rugby union, but also across a wide variety of sports, including football, tennis, boxing and golf. He also sits as chairman of a number of disciplinary and anti-doping panels.

LEGAL 500 2013

Christopher Quinlan QC ‘will fight a client’s corner’.



Christopher Quinlan QC continues to impress observers since taking silk in 2011. He acts for the prosecution and defence in serious criminal cases, including R v Pritchard, in which his work led to the successful conviction of a gang of armed robbers. He is "a powerful advocate," who is "a real presence in court."


Christopher Quinlan QC of Guildhall Chambers has been successful in translating the skills he has forged at the Criminal Bar over to the sports sector. He is "as thorough as you could wish for," yet "doesn't get lost in the detail, and keeps sight of the overall picture," say those that instruct him. A "powerful advocate, who has real presence in court," he is a "punchy" barrister with a phenomenal reputation for expertise in sports disciplinary proceedings. He has appeared in cases across a broad range of sports, including football, both codes of rugby, and equestrian sports. He was appointed as one of the International Rugby Board's judicial officers at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

LEGAL 500 2012

Christopher Quinlan QC is frequently instructed in high-profile murder cases.



Sports and criminal law barrister Christopher Quinlan QC recently gained silk and is described as "very sure footed" and a man with a "particular eye for detail."


Guildhall's sporting expert is new silk Christopher Quinlan QC. He also comes highly recommended for his expertise in rugby union, and is a judicial officer on both the International Rugby Board's and European Rugby Cup's disciplinary panels.

LEGAL 500 2011

Christopher Quinlan QC's practice comprises heavyweight criminal matters and sports disciplinary cases.



Others at the set who impress include Christopher Quinlan, who as acted as a leading junior in a number of serious matters. "In a pressing case, he is your man," declared one source.


Christopher Quinlan has developed a strong sports practice. He draws praise for his "user-friendly approach and fantastically well thought-out decisions."



Christopher Quinlan is "a very impressive advocate who is definitely going places." Sources appreciate his direct approach with clients.

LEGAL 500 2009

Christopher Quinlan is a very effective defender.



Christopher Quinlan is a "tenacious and forceful advocate whose defence case statements and legal arguments are thorough, well considered and persuasive."


For further information and enquiries please contact:

Crime: Lucy Northeast

Sport: Lucy Northeast

Regulatory & Discipline: Lucy Northeast


  • Recorder of the Crown Court
  • Bencher, Inner Temple
  • Member, World Rugby Anti-Doping Advisory Committee
  • 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
  • Judicial Officer, ERC
  • Judicial Officer, World Rugby
  • Anti-Doping Judicial Officer, World Rugby
  • Chairman & Judicial Officer, RFU


  • British Association for Sport & Law
  • Bristol Medico-Legal Society
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Wales & Chester Circuit
  • Western Circuit


  • LLB Hons