Gareth Graham

Year of Call: 2006
Email Address: gareth.graham@3pb.co.uk
Telephone: 0117 928 1520

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Sports law

Gareth is a barrister of 10 years’ post-qualification experience with a practice in:

  • Employment Law
  • Professional Discipline
  • Sports Law.

He is currently a Judicial Officer at:

  • World Rugby
  • Six Nations
  • European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR)
  • Rugby Europe/7’s and
  • the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

Gareth has also chaired disciplinary hearings for the Army Rugby Union, acted as a panel member on a disciplinary panel for British Gymnastics and carried out a confidential investigation on behalf of a British Olympic organisation.

In addition, he has been appointed to the Sport Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators.

Rugby

In 2014, Gareth was appointed to the RFU Judiciary and began sitting on disciplinary and appeal panels tasked with dealing with foul play and misconduct cases in the professional game. The following season (2015-16), Gareth was asked to chair such disciplinary panels. In 2016-17, he was appointed as a Judicial Officer at Rugby Europe/7’s, EPCR and Six Nations.

Christopher Quinlan QC (World Rugby Judicial Panel Chairman) co-opted Gareth as a Judicial Officer at World Rugby. He was allocated to the Fiji v Canada match in 2017, the NatWest 6 Nations 2018 and was selected as the Judicial Officer for the World Rugby Sevens Series at Twickenham in June 2018.

Gareth has chaired a large number of Disciplinary Panels. This includes the following hearings:

  • Cian Healy (Leinster Rugby, EPCR, 20 December 2017)
  • Juan Imhoff (Racing 92, EPCR, 20 December 2017)
  • Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, Aviva Premiership, 27 December 2017)
  • Charlie Ewells (Bath Rugby, Aviva Premiership, 1 November 2017)
  • Bryony Cleall (Saracens Women, RFUW Cup, 19 October 2017)
  • Freddie Burns (Bath Rugby, Aviva Premiership, 10 October 2017)

In the 2016/2017 season, he chaired hearings involving the following Players:

  • Bryce Heem (Worcester Warriors, Aviva Premiership, 27 March 2017)
  • John Afoa (Gloucester Rugby, Aviva Premiership, 7 March 2017)
  • Tusi Pisi (Bristol Rugby, Aviva Premiership, 3 January 2017)
  • Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs, Aviva Premiership, 21 September 2016)

The matters he has dealt with include:

  • The full gamut of acts of foul play, including match official abuse
  • Betting (including the recent RFU case of betting by a sports agent which resulted in a 22-month ban)
  • Anti-doping
  • Governing Body Endorsement visas
  • Relegation into lower leagues
  • Offences relating to age restrictions and ticket allocation infringements.

Other Sports

Gareth has also sat as a panel member for British Gymnastics in the case involving Louis Smith following allegations that he had acted in breach of British Gymnastics’ standard of conduct.

Last year, Gareth carried out a wide-ranging confidential investigation over a period of four months into allegations of abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination against a coach within a British Olympic organisation. In addition to various safeguarding issues, he also had to scrutinise selection policies against individuals’ performance.

General Practice

At the Bar, Gareth practices in employment law and professional discipline. He is ranked in Chambers and Partner and is listed as a leading junior in the Legal 500.

He has had conduct of a number of high profile cases, reported both in the legal community and national media, acting for a diverse range of clients including a European Embassy, global car manufacturers, a large number of NHS trusts and cases involving matters of national security. His practice is predominantly made up of discrimination and whistleblowing cases.

Gareth also sits on the panel for police misconduct hearings for Thames Valley Police. He is on the panel of approved counsel to the Welsh Government.

Interests

Gareth started playing sport at an early age. His greatest passions are in rugby and cricket. He played cricket for Hertfordshire, English Universities and University of Bristol 1st XV. He also played rugby for East Midlands and University of Bristol 1st XV.

After having to retire from cricket and rugby through injury, he still enjoys mountain biking, playing golf and taking part in charitable events. For example, he ran 45 miles on the beaches of Normandy on the anniversary of D-day for the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association and has rowed the English Channel from Dover to Calais to raise money for CLIC Sargent.

Recommendations

“engaging and candid.”

Honourable Mr Justice Langstaff, former President of the EAT,  reported case of Vodafone Ltd v Miss A Nicholson UKEAT/0605/12/SM.

Highly experienced in discrimination law and unfair dismissal. He is widely respected for his strategic approach to complex cases. He acts for local health boards in Wales and also regularly handles cases involving the airline industry. He has notable expertise in discrimination claims and whistle-blowing.
"He's very robust, very thorough and good with clients and witnesses." "He's very easy to work with and really responsive. He's a good team player and helps to deliver training to give us a team approach."
Recent work: Defended The Co-operative Group against three claims for race discrimination, victimisation, and disability discrimination. The respondent was successful and awarded almost £20,000 in costs.

Chambers UK 2019/Employment

Strengths: “He thinks strategically about his cases and can absorb large amounts of information."

Chambers UK 2018/Employment

Strengths: "As well as being technically competent on legal issues, he is also able to demonstrate a good understanding of a client's business and its commercial drivers."'

Chambers UK 2017/Employment

'Has represented high-profile employers and employees in Tribunal cases nationwide, and also acted for students in university disciplinary hearings and employees in professional internal disciplinary issues.
Strengths: "He's well regarded, thorough and client-friendly." "He gets the points across quickly and he's good at cross-examination."'

Chambers UK 2016/Employment

'Experienced in a range of employment cases on behalf of clients from a variety of sectors, including recent success with governmental, engineering and automotive clients. Alongside his traditional employment practice, he regularly acts on internal professional disciplinary matters for clients such as rugby clubs and universities.
Expertise: "He is a reliable barrister who is willing to get stuck in."

Chambers UK 2015/Employment

'An excellent cross-examiner with a brilliant bedside manner with clients and witnesses."

Legal 500 2018/19/Employment/Leading juniors - Tier 1

‘He is very good at seeing the bigger picture in a case.’

Legal 500 2017 - Employment – Leading juniors

'He has a great cross-examination style and is very effective.'

Legal 500 2016 - Employment – Leading juniors

'He has an incisive and forensic approach to legal arguments, and is an excellent advocate'

Legal 500 2015 -  Employment – Leading juniors

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Academic qualifications

  • University of Bristol – LLB (Hons)

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • University of the West of England - BVC

Professional bodies

  • Employment Law Association (ELA)
  • Employment Law Bar Association (ELBA)

Direct Access

Gareth Graham is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

More Information

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