Christopher Quinlan QC

Year of call: 1992 | Silk: 2011

"He commands a lot of authority and is an established expert in the area. He's also not afraid to make unpopular decisions if they are the right ones." 
Chambers UK 2020

Christopher Christopher QC

Christopher is Head of the Guildhall’s Crime Team and also the Sports Team. He is a criminal, sports and regulatory law silk. He is an accomplished trial advocate and Crown Court Recorder.

Christopher appears before and is a highly experienced chairman of numerous sport disciplinary bodies and panels. Author of the 'Quinlan Review', the LTA’s Independent Review into events at Wrexham Tennis Centre, and he is the independent Chair of World Rugby's Judicial Panel and also the Independent Chair of The Football Association’s Judicial Panel. He is now firmly established as a leading member of the Sports Bar in England and Wales.

Crime

"A powerhouse advocate who has incredible attention to detail."
Chambers UK 2019

"He is careful, forthright and brilliant in court" and "He is very careful in his preparation and precise in his questioning."
Chambers UK 2018

  • Christopher is a criminal, sports and regulatory law silk. He is an accomplished and very experienced trial advocate and Crown Court Recorder. He 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:
  • Prosecuted two defendants who murdered a man in the nightclub in Bristol in a revenge attack which had its origins in a gang feud. A third defendant assisted them by taking the knives from the scene.  All three were convicted.
  • 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. The defendants attacked a young soldier in Brecon. One was a highly rated amateur boxer.
  • Prosecuted three defendants, a mother, her son and his girlfriend. The first two were charged with the murder of her husband and his step-father. They beat him to death in the matrimonial home after a bout of drinking. Thereafter, with the third defendant they lied about what happened. Out of those lying accounts to police, all three were charged with perverting the course of justice
  • Prosecuted to conviction one of the first slavery and servitude case brought in England and Wales. All five defendant were convicted after a three-month trial. Very substantial confiscation orders we made in consequence.
  • Instructed to represent defendant charged with gross negligence manslaughter. He was an engineer alleged to have designed and supervised the building of a barn extension which he knew to be lethally dangerous. Two other defendants charged with health and safety offences. Deceased was electrocuted when his ladder touched an overhead power cable. Case involved esoteric and complicated electricity and other health and safety regulations.
  • Represented an internationally renowned artist charged with historic sexual allegations as part of the 'Operation Yewtree' investigation.

Sports Law

"He is extraordinarily thorough, extraordinarily hard-working and his understanding of the issues is without parallel.”
Chambers UK 2019

"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."
Chambers UK 2018

He is a highly experienced chairman of and appears as an advocate before, 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 he is the independent Chair of World Rugby's Judicial Panel and also the Independent Chair of The Football Association’s Judicial Panel. He is now firmly established as a leading member of the Sports Bar in England and Wales.

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, 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.

The Independent Review into events at Wrexham Tennis Centre 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 

Christopher frequently speaks at disciplinary, anti-doping, safeguarding and sports law conferences. He leads World Rugby's training of former international rugby players, coaches and referees who sit as members of World Rugby's Disciplinary Committees. In 2018 he led training for The FA for lawyers and newly appointed chairs and panel members.

Environment

Christopher has developed his regulatory junior practice in silk, with an expertise in Environmental Law. He has prosecuted several 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.

Testimonials

Quinlan Review

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."

World Rugby

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.”

Recommendations


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."

CLERK CONTACT INFORMATION

For further information and enquiries please contact:

Crime: Lucy Northeast

Sport: Lucy Northeast

Regulatory & Discipline: Lucy Northeast

Appointments

  • Recorder of the Crown Court
  • Bencher, Inner Temple
  • Judicial Panel Chairman, World Rugby
  • Independent Judicial Panel Chair, Football Association
  • Member, World Rugby Anti-Doping Advisory Committee
  • 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
  • Deputy Chair, Appeal Board, Table Tennis England

Memberships

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

education

  • LLB Hons