Call 1992 Silk 2011
Christopher Quinlan KC is Head of the Guildhall’s Sports team, as well as being a highly-respected Crime and Regulatory & Discipline Silk. He is an accomplished and very experienced 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 Independent Review into events at Wrexham Tennis Centre, he is also the independent Chair of World Rugby’s Judicial Panel and the Independent Chair of The Football Association’s Judicial Panel.
In 2020, he conducted a review to evaluate safeguarding provisions in UK Athletics. He is now firmly established as a leading member of the Sports Bar in England & Wales.
In December 2022, the English Football League appointed Christopher as chair of its new Club Financial Review Panel (CFRP). The new Panel is an independently appointed expert panel, including members with appropriate accountancy, legal and football expertise, selected following an extensive process undertaken by Sport Resolutions. The CFRP will oversee the League’s Regulations in relation to Club Financial Records, HMRC Reporting and the Financial Fair Play (FFP) Regulations (P&S in the Championship and SCMP in Leagues One and Two).
Christopher prosecutes and defends criminal cases of the utmost gravity, including homicide and serious sexual allegations.
Prosecuted two defendants who murdered a man in a 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 defendants were convicted after a three-month trial. Very substantial confiscation orders were made in consequence.
Christopher was instructed to represent a 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 were charged with health & safety offences. The 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.
Christopher is a highly experienced chairman of and also 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, he is also the independent Chair of World Rugby’s Judicial Panel and 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 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 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 2020, Christopher 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 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.
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 outside the UK.
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