AREAS OF EXPERTISE:
Steven specialises in commercial, employment, and sports law.
Steven is recognised as ‘one of the top sports law juniors in the UK’ (Legal 500). He is frequently retained to deal with issues of significant importance, advising various participants including professional athletes, teams, governing bodies, agents, and players’ associations on contractual, commercial, and regulatory matters.
Away from the sports sector, Steven’s practice is directed towards business protection. He is regularly instructed to deal with issues arising from employment contracts, breach of confidence, partnerships, restrictive covenants, and shareholder rights/obligations, both in the UK and internationally. He has a particular interest in cross-jurisdiction contracts and conflict of laws issues.
Steven has a wealth of experience in arbitration, representing commercial and sporting clients before a vast array of domestic and international arbitral tribunals, as well as dealing with challenges before the Courts. Steven also accepts appointments to sit as a sole arbitrator or as a member of a panel (including as chair). He has been admitted as a Member of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and appointed to the Sport Resolution Arbitration Panel.
Year of Call: 2006
Steven is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and offers his services as an arbitrator. He has a wealth of experience in dealing with arbitrations in a commercial, employment, and sporting context. This includes both sitting as a sole arbitrator or as a member of a panel.
Steven has particular experience in arbitrations that involve contractual and employment issues in a sporting context, as well as challenges to the decisions of governing bodies. Steven has been appointed to the Sport Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators and, in recent years, has chaired disciplinary/appeal panels for British Gymnastics, British Cycling and England Boxing.
Steven’s work involves him representing clients before a vast array of arbitral tribunals, as well as dealing with challenges before the Courts. These include cases convened under the rules of the LCIA, the FA, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Steven is regularly instructed by banks and other companies operating within the financial services sphere to assist in disputes involving issues of guarantees, mortgages, cheques, mistaken payments, negligent advice, undue influence and restitutionary claims. He also has considerable experience in dealing with disputes arising from consumer credit and leasing agreements.
Steven has also been involved in a number of cases that have involved whistleblowing allegations of market manipulation and insider trading.
Examples of recent cases include:
Steven’s practice is directed towards business protection. He has particular experience of dealing with issues arising from employment contracts, breach of confidence, partnerships, restrictive covenants, and shareholder rights/obligations. He is regularly instructed by both national and international companies including banks, airlines, construction companies, car manufacturers and those within the financial services industry. Steven also represents directors, company secretaries, office holders and shareholders, as well as individuals in disputes with corporate bodies and other individuals.
A summary of recent work can be found below:
Directors’ Contracts & Duties
Steven represents directors and companies in matters relating to bonuses; breach of fiduciary duties; claw-backs; misuse of confidential information; removal; and restrictive covenants. Due to Steven’s strong employment law background, he is also regularly instructed to represent both companies and individuals in contractual negotiations.
Examples of recent work include:
Steven has considerable experience in dealing with cases involving the enforcement of restrictive covenants. He is often instructed to seek/resist injunctions and damages in both the High Court, as well as being instructed to provide advice during mediation.
Media & Entertainment
Steven also has niche expertise in the media and entertainment sector, regularly instructed by TV personalities and talent agencies to deal with commercial issues arising from appearance contracts, music and endorsement deals, and management agreements.
Steven regularly advises individuals and companies on the rights, roles and duties of shareholders. This includes both contentious and non-contentious issues such as share sale agreements, minority shareholder’s rights and unfair prejudice petitions.
Examples of recent work include:
Partnerships & LLPs
Steven has considerable experience in advising on the establishment and dissolution of partnerships and LLPs. He is often instructed to advise partners on their legal obligations and, when necessary, to assist them in disputes arising from said partnerships. Steven is also one of a limited number of practitioners who has experience of representing partners and LLP members in claims alleging discrimination against the partnership.
Sale of Goods/Supply of Goods and Services
Steven is regularly instructed by both Claimants and Defendants in actions involving the sale of goods and/or the supply of goods and services. These cases range from the sale of horses, to disputes relating to the supply and carriage of large quantities of steel to Asia; many of which are in the High Court. He also has experience in assisting in the recovery of possessions that have been the subject of conversion.
Directors’ Contracts & Duties
Steven’s employment practice is directed toward business protection, with him dealing with employment related issues in the High/County Court, as well as those with an international element. These include:
Some examples of his work in different areas can be found below.
High Court/County Court/International
Contracts and Exit Agreements
INTERNATIONAL & OFFSHIRE
Steven is regularly instructed to deal with cases across his practice areas that have an international element to them. These include disputes determined by international arbitral tribunals, and cases in which jurisdiction and conflicts of laws issues arise.
Recent work includes:
Steven is recognised as ‘one of the top sports law juniors in the UK’ (Legal 500), dealing with contractual and commercial disputes in this sector, as well as disciplinary and regulatory issues. He is noted as having ‘best knowledge of on-field disciplinary work and [as] a go-to in this area’ (Chambers UK) and for his ‘niche experience of handling employment disputes within the professional sports world’ (Legal 500). He regularly appears on his own against QCs or leading a multi-disciplinary team in complex disputes.
Steven is regularly instructed by players, clubs, agents, governing bodies, players’ unions, fans and sponsors across a wide variety of sports including football, rugby union and league, boxing, tennis and golf. He has advised at all levels of sport and has acted for and against many high-profile participants and organisations including matters involving: the FA; the RFU; UK Sport; the Premier League; Manchester United FC; Manchester City FC; Chelsea FC; Liverpool FC; the LTA; Rotherham Titans RFC; Bradford Bulls RLFC; Toronto Wolfpack RLFC; Chester Racecourse; Archery GB; the PFA; the RLPA; the FSF; and many others. He has also been instructed by high profile companies who wish to enter into commercial rights/sponsorship agreements with such organisations.
In addition to dealing with commercial and regulatory matters, Steven is also regularly instructed in cases relating to discrimination in sport. He has experience in advising on the rights and obligations imposed on players, clubs and governing bodies by the Equality Act 2010 including appearing in a trial due to last 6 weeks where a participant claimed £120 million from a governing body.
Steven’s work also involves him representing participants before disciplinary and appeals panels, as well in court and at arbitration. This includes Rule K arbitrations, the EFL Player Related Dispute Commission, the British Boxing Board of Control Regulation 24 arbitration and before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In recent times, Steven has been appointed by British Gymnastics, British Cycling and England Boxing to hear disciplinary/appeals panels, and is a member of the Sport Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators.
Reflective of his experience and expertise in the sector, Steven has been appointed a Visiting Sports Law Fellow at the Centre for Sports Law Research at Edge Hill University and is regularly invited to lecture on sports law LLMs at a variety of universities.
A summary of his work in different areas can be found below:
Steven is regularly instructed by sports agents who seek his assistance in the drafting of agency agreements to adequately protect their interests. He also advises participants as to the legal implications of any agency agreement that they are planning to enter and represents both agents and participants in breach of contract/unpaid fee disputes. He has recently:
Anti-Doping & Mechanical Doping
Steven is instructed by governing bodies, clubs and participants to assist in relation to anti-doping matters. This includes investigations, internal disciplinary proceedings and hearings before the National Anti-Doping Panel.
Steven also has experience of dealing with mechanical/electronic doping in cycling, having represented a cyclist who was accused of manipulating data to improve his access enhanced eRacing equipment.
Recent cases include:
Disciplinary and other internal proceedings
As well as representing clubs and participants who were subject to disciplinary action before a wide plethora of governing bodies (including, the FA, the RFU, the RFL and the PGA, Steven has also sat as a disciplinary officer for British Gymnastics, British Cycling and England Boxing. He has represented participants seeking to overturn disciplinary sanctions through arbitral proceedings, and represented governing bodies before the Courts when resisting such challenges. Recent cases include:
Discrimination in Sport
Steven has a great deal of experience of cases involving discrimination in a sporting context. He represents participants at all levels, from those who are attending their first coaching session through to elite athletes who have suffered loss of funding or career damage because of discrimination. He also advises service providers (e.g. clubs, governing bodies, venues) as to their duties under the Equality Act 2010. Examples of his work include:
Player/Participants Contracts and Transfers
Agents, players and clubs regularly instruct Steven to consider issues surrounding employment/funding contracts. He also provides guidance on legal issues that arise during transfers and representation in breach of contract claims. Some of his recent cases include:
Sale and Purchase of Clubs/Sporting Venues
Given Steven’s commercial law background and sports sector experience, he is positioned to advise on issues relating to the sale and purchase of sports clubs and venues. His work has included drafting an agreement for use in a £100 million deal. Some of the work he has done includes:
Steven has a particular interest in sponsorship and image rights agreements. He has been instructed by numerous agents, clubs, participants and sponsors to assist with the negotiating and drafting of such agreements and advise and represent them when such agreements breakdown. Recent examples of his work in this area include:
Steven also offers his service as an arbitrator in sporting disputes. This includes both sitting as a sole arbitrator or as a member of a panel. Steven has particular experience in arbitrations that involve contractual and employment issues in a sporting context, as well as challenges to the decisions of governing bodies. He is a member of the Sport Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators.
Steven’s work also involves him representing participants before disciplinary and appeals panels, as well in court and at arbitration. This has included Rule K arbitration, the EFL Player Related Dispute Commission, the British Boxing Board of Control Regulation 24 arbitration and referrals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In recent years Steven has been appointed by British Gymnastics, British Cycling and England Boxing to sit on their disciplinary/appeals panels.
British Association for Sport and Law
The British Irish Commercial Bar Association
Visiting Sports Law Fellow at the Centre for Sports Law Research, Edge Hill University
England Boxing Disciplinary Panel Member
Sports Resolutions' Arbitration Panel Member
Employment Law Association
Employment Law Bar Association
British Gymnastics Disciplinary Appeal Panel Member
British Cycling Disciplinary Appeal Panel Chair
Sports Resolutions' Pro Bono Legal Services Panel
Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Cardiff Law School
Chambers UK 2021
“Thoroughly confident and liked by judges.”
“Technically very astute”
Legal 500 2021
“Steve is one of the top sports law juniors in the UK, with experience across a number of sports and expertise in commercial and regulatory disputes.”
"Steve is very knowledgeable of the sports sector, and extremely user friendly. He is contactable at all times, day or night and can put clients at ease in an instant in even the most stressful of cases."
"Consistently good and very reliable."
Chambers UK 2020
"Very clear and concise in his advice to clients. Extremely knowledgeable when it comes to rugby, in particular when dealing with regulatory matters." "He has the best knowledge of on-field disciplinary work and is a go-to in the area."
Legal 500 2019
“A very grounded barrister with a great intellect.”
“[Has] niche experience in handling employment disputes within the professional sports world.”
Legal 500 2017
“Very knowledgeable, thorough and technical.”
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Steven Flynn has been invited to speak at Law In Sport’s Football Law Conference in London 22 and 23 May 2019.
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