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John Mehrzad
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JOHN MEHRZAD

John Mehrzad specialises in employment, sports and commercial law. He is "recognised for his sporting and employment practice that sees him representing senior executives and notable sporting figures in complex issues requiring in-depth industry knowledge. Appears frequently in the High Court and Court of Appeal on business and financial matters in the employment space" (Chambers & Partners, 2017). John was formerly Vice President of a corporate advisory and investment fund and uses his experience in banking/funds, shareholder and partnership disputes. John regularly makes interim applications in his practice areas.

John is one of only three juniors at the Bar of England & Wales who is ranked by Chambers & Partners in both employment and sports law. Recent legal directory comments include:

"Highly rated by peers and solicitors and is referred to as 'an uber-responsive and always very comprehensive'." (Who’s Who Legal: UK Bar 2017)

"Very responsive, efficient and excellent with the law. He's also very strategic and tactical in the way he does things and is a very clear advocate; he's able to explain the law and break down complex issues." (Chambers & Partners, 2017 - employment)

"John Mehrzad is excellent as he's practical, authoritative, confident and very responsive." "He's probably the go-to junior on agents work." (Chambers & Partners, 2017 - sport)

“Very commercial, succinct and straight-talking, as well as being personable and genuine.” (Legal 500, 2016 - sport)

He "runs a very impressive practice which covers commercial, employment and sports law” who "is said to create a great relationship with his clients and his knowledge is really first-rate.” (Who’s Who Legal: UK Bar 2016)

"He has a real eye for detail and is always prepared to advise in-depth at short notice." "He is very good at partnership and director disputes." (Chambers & Partners, 2016 - employment)

"He is an extremely impressive junior counsel. He takes time and great care to really understand the client’s business. He's also very accessible during case preparation." (Chambers & Partners, 2016 - sport)

Further legal directory testimonies are found on John's downloadable CV. He has also received numerous awards and appointments in recognition of his professionalism and expertise across all his areas of practice. For details see the Awards and Appointments tabs below.

John is experienced before the Court of Appeal, High Court, Employment Appeal Tribunal, Court of Arbitration for Sport, FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and Player Status Committee, Premier League Adjudication and Appeal Panels, FA Arbitration Panels, Premier League Managers’ Arbitration Tribunal and RFU Disciplinary and Appeal Panels. He also maintains an Employment Tribunal practice across the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland.

John is a FA Rule K Arbitrator, an independent chairman on the FA Chairman's Anti-Discrimination Panel, is on Sport Resolutions' pro bono panel and was commissioned by UK Sport and British Cycling to be the only legally qualified member of the independent review panel into the World Class Programme in British Cycling.

 

    Employment Law

John appears in multi-day Full Hearings, Preliminary Hearings as well as before the EAT and the Court of Appeal, representing both claimants and respondents in cases involving all aspects of employment law, including unfair dismissal; breach of contract/unauthorised deduction of wages; all forms of discrimination; "whistleblowing”; TUPE; and jurisdictional issues/practice and procedure. He has a particular expertise in City-related disputes with past cases involving Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions or funds.

Recent EAT cases include: 

  • Carreras v. United First Partners Research UKEAT/0266/15/RN (HHJ Eady QC): Proper approach to identification of a PCP, the reason for resignation and the procedure for reply submissions. Due before Court of Appeal in 2017. 
  • British Transport Police v. Hill & Ors. UKEAT/0445/15/BA (Singh J.): Amendment of Public Interest Disclosure Claim.
  • Game Retail Ltd. v. Laws UKEAT/0188/14/DA (HHJ Eady QC): Social media misconduct.
  • Charlesworth v. Amey Plc & Ors. UKEATPA/0326/13/MC (HHJ Peter Clarke): Tripartite employment status.
  • Tavistock School & Ors. v. Richards & Ors. UKEAT/0244/13/SM (HHJ Peter Clarke): Timing of assessment of redundancy dismissal and construction of employment contract.
  • Stuart v. London City Airport Ltd. UKEATPA/1651/11/MAA (Cox. J.): Whether misconduct investigation into alleged criminal act requires heightened level of scrutiny.
  • Blazevic v. Hayashibara International Inc. & Ors. UKEATPA/0738/11/CEA (Langstaff J, President): Whether a strike out and costs order should have been made.
  • Odukwe v. Partners of Hoare Lea Consulting Engineers UKEAT/0547/10/SM (Underhill J., President): Statutory dispute resolution procedures and time limits.
  • Bullimore v. Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors & Ors. [2011] IRLR 18 (Underhill J., President): Advice on whether a reference can amount to an act of victimisation.
  • Parsons v. Burworth Estates (a firm) UKEAT/0547/08/MAA (Underhill J., President): Statutory grievance procedures.

    Sports Law

John is Head of Littleton’s Sports Law Group, which he formed in 2012. He was awarded Sports Law Barrister of the Year in 2015 and 2016. He is an independent Anti-Discrimination Panel Chairman for the FA. He is regularly appointed as an FA Rule K Arbitrator and is panellist for Sports Resolutions, the leading independent domestic sports appeals, arbitration and mediation body. He was a selected advocate to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games as well as the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games for ad hoc sittings of CAS. He also represents parties in all sporting jurisdictions both nationally and abroad, including the FA, Premier League, RFU, UEFA, FIFA and CAS. He is currently a Director of the British Association of Sport and Law and an Executive Board member of LawInSport.com.

  • CAS case on termination for just cause, liquidated damages and compensation mitigation principles, and sporting sanctions (leading Ashley Cukier).
  • FA Arbitration on jurisdiction of Rule K where a representation contact is signed and alleged breach occurs overseas.
  • Sidibe v. CSKA Sofia FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber claim for non-payment of wages and bonuses.
  • RFU v. Fenton-Wells reduced RFU disciplinary sanction for making contact with the eye or eye area.
  • Panel Member of Independent Review into Culture and Climate at British Cycling (commissioned by UK Sport, British Cycling and administered by Sport Resolutions).
  • Non-selection appeal, resulting in the athlete being re-selected by governing body to pre-Rio 2016 World Championships (via Sport Resolutions and the British Athletes Commission).
  • FA Arbitration about non-payments by player under representation contract. 
  • Bristol Rugby v. Borthwick v RFU Injunction application to prevent RFU poaching club’s coach (led by David Reade QC).
  • FA Arbitration on whether Rule K applies to a representation contract between a player agent and an overseas player.
  • CAS case on non-payments to a football agent by Middle Eastern club following player transfer.
  • UK Anti-Doping v. Bilton Mitigation and sanction for doping offence under overlapping 2009 and 2015 WADA Codes.
  • FA Arbitration on when a replay should be ordered if club fields an ineligible player.
  • Advice on liquidated damages clause in Premier League manager's contract.
  • FA Arbitration on breach of representation agreement and fiduciary duties.
  • FIFA & CAS cases on agent's commission, jurisdiction clauses, non-payments to player, "just cause" and compensation.
  • FA Appeal about interpretation of FA Rules and Regulations concerning relegation.
  • Classification and non-selection appeals by Paralympic champion and to Sochi Winter Games respectively (via Sports Resolutions).
  • Take-over of Leeds United.
  • Advice on George North's contract with Northampton Saints (led by Damian Brown QC).
  • High Court claim over FA Cup Final tickets (led by Andrew Clarke QC).
  • Premier League Managers Arbitration about termination payment (led by Damian Brown QC).
  • Jones v. Cardiff City Claim for unpaid salary and bonuses (led by Damian Brown QC).
  • Cross-border image rights dispute (led by David Reade QC).
  • Allardyce v. Blackburn Rovers & Kean Defamation action by Sam Allardyce. 
  • Slough v. Milton Keynes RUFC; RFU v. Bristol RFC RFU disciplinaries into race and biting allegations respectively.

 

    Commercial Law

John makes interim applications, final appearances and attends mediations on the following commercial issues: shareholder disputes including unfair prejudice petitions or derivative actions; partnership disputes within LLP and Partnership Act contexts; bonus/commission claims; restrictive covenants; fiduciary duties; confidential information; penalty or liquidated damages clauses/claw-backs; agency agreements; freezing or search orders.

Notable cases include:

  • WRG v Sawyer & Ors (QBD) 2017: Springboard relief, conspiracy, confidential information, restrictive covenant, breach of contract injunction, damages claim.
  • British Transport Police Authority v. Hill & Ors (QBD) 2017: Confidential information delivery up/deletion and restraint on the use of materials in concurrent proceedings injunctions.
  • Kintetsu v. Jeffery & Ors. (QBD) 2016: Conspiracy, confidential information, restrictive covenant, breach of contract, injunction, damages claim. (Led by Gavin Mansfield QC). 
  • Smith v. Huertas [2015] All ER (D) 221 (Dec) (Cooke J.): Jurisdiction of Commercial Court to enforce a judgment by French courts. (Led by Charles Samek QC).
  • Elcom Funding Solutions Ltd. & Ors. v. Crossflow Payment Solutions Trading Ltd. (QBD) 2015 (Sweeney J.): Delivery up/deletion and affidavit injunction. 
  • HMA (Holdings) Ltd. & Ors. v. IDL Plastics Ltd. & Ors (QBD) 2015 (Supperstone J. & HHJ Gore QC): Jurisdiction of High Court to injunct party in New Zealand.
  • Ideal Industries Ltd. v. Harrison (QBD) 2015: Non competition injunction. (Led by Gavin Mansfield QC).
  • Hamell Communications Ltd. v. Edmunds (QBD) 2015 (Edis J. & Patterson J.): Confidential information injunction.
  • Mostell Ltd & Or. v. Camilleri & Costello & J Sykes & Sons (Manchester) Ltd (QBD) 2015 (Dingemans J.): Non-competition/non-solicitation/non-deal/delivery up/deletion of confidential information/affidavit injunction.
  • Randstad Ltd. v. Bridge & Bridge Education & Training Ltd. (QBD) 2015 (Green J.): Non-solicitation/non-deal/delivery up/deletion of confidential information/affidavit injunction.
  • Berry Recruitment Ltd. v. Hall & Career Caterer Ltd. (QBD) 2015 (Dove J.): Non-competition/non-solicitation/non-deal/deliver up/deletion of confidential information injunction. 
  • Green & Hillersden Estates Ltd. v. Heim (QBD) 2014 (Lewis J.): Delivery up/freezing order injunction.
  • Equity Housing Group v. King (Ch.D.) 2014 (HHJ Hodge QC): Delivery up/deletion/preservation/affidavit injunction.
  • Silverson Machines Ltd v. Aplin & Ors. (QBD) 2014 (Mitting J.): Freezing order injunction.
  • Seaco & Ors. v. Buss Capital & Ors. (QBD) 2012: Conspiracy, confidential information, restrictive covenant, breach of contract, injunction claim. Led by Paul Goulding QC and Damian Brown QC.
  • Rubicon LLP & Ors. v. Attias & Ors. (Ch.D) 2012 (Sales J.): Conspiracy, confidential information, restrictive covenant, breach of contract/fiduciary duty claim involving 1.2bn in hedge funds redemptions. Led by Chris Quinn.
  • Malik v. Golpeykar & Harrington (Ch.D) 2011 (HHJ Walden-Smith): Whether there was a partnership in law.
  • Humphreys v. Norilsk Nickel International (UK) Ltd. [2010] IRLR 976; [2010] EWHC 1867 (QB) (HHJ Seymour QC): Contractual bonus claim.
  • K2 Partnership Solutions Ltd v. Nina Strauss & Or. (QBD) 2010 (Tugenhat J.): Non-solicit/non-compete injunction.

    Arbitration and Mediation

John is experienced in arbitration (both as arbitrator and Counsel) in the sports law and commercial law sphere. In terms of sports law, he has been appointed an FA Rule K Arbitrator on several occasions on a sole basis as well as on a panel, determining contractual disputes usually involving money claims. He has also represented numerous clients (players, agents, clubs) as Counsel (usually on an unled basis and frequently against QCs) in FA arbitrations and also before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In terms of commercial law, prior to pupillage, John worked in the international arbitration department at Gide Loyrette Nouel, Paris, on very high-value arbitrations typically before the ICC.

John has also been appointed mediator and represented clients in mediations usually involving cross-over commercial law and employment law issues, often concerning shareholder’s, employee’s and director’s rights.

    Awards

  • Sports Law Barrister of the Year at Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards (2016).
  • Sports Law Barrister of the Year at the ACQ Legal Awards (2016).
  • Barrister of the Year - United Kingdom - in employment, commercial and sports law at Global 100 (2015).
  • Sports Law Barrister of the Year at the ACQ Global Awards (2015).
  • Corporate Advisory Barrister of the Year – London, UK in the Corporate LiveWire Global Awards (2015).  

    Appointments

  • Panel Member of Independent Review into Culture and Climate at British Cycling (commissioned by UK Sport, British Cycling and administered by Sport Resolutions) (2016 - 2017).
  • Board Director of the British Association of Sport and Law (2015 to date). 
  • Member of the FA Chairman's anti-discrimination panel of independent chairman, hearing football disciplinary cases concerning acts of discrimination (2014 to date).
  • Nominated as FA Rule K arbitrator on several occasions (2012 to date).
  • Member of pro bono advocates panel for Sports Resolutions, the independent domestic sports appeals/arbitration service (2012 to date).
  • Head of Littleton’s Sports Law Group (2012 to date).
  • Selected by the Law Society of Scotland, Faculty of Advocates and the Management Committee of Sport Resolution as advocate to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (2014).
  • Selected by the Bar Council, Law Society and British Association of Sport and Law as advocate to the London Olympics and Paralympic Games (2012).
  • Elected to management committee of Littleton (2012 - 2014).
  • Member of Equality and Human Rights Commission panel of barristers (2011 - 2015).
  • Inner Temple GDL Scholarships Panellist (2016 to date).

    Articles and Publications

  • "The selection of athletes and the grounds for challenges”, World Sport Law Report, January 2016 (co-authored with Edward Wheen, Partner, Hewitson Moorhead LLP)
  • "Moral Damages for Terminating a Football Player’s Contract”, LawInSport.com, 20 August 2015
  •  "’Wild West’ or ‘Brave New World’: The new FIFA and FA Intermediaries Regulations”, LawInSport.com, 27 March 2015
  • "Match-Fixing, Betting and Corruption”, Sports Arbitration Handbook 2015-2016, Sport Resolution, March 2015
  • "New Guidance on How Clubs Should Treat Social Media Misconduct by Footballers”, LawInSport.com, 3 February 2015
  • "Ched Evans: Release, Retribution and Rehabilitation”, LawInSport.com, 28 November 2014
  • "Player Contracts: FIFA Regulations on Working With Intermediaries: analysis”, World Sports Law Report, November 2014
  • "Restraint of Trade in Player Contracts”, LawInSport.com, 3 September 2014
  • "Why Suarez’s CAS Appeal may succeed”, LawInSport.com, 8 August 2014
  • "Could Liverpool sack Suarez?”, LawInSport.com, 23 June 2014
  • "David Moyes’ Sacking and Legal Rights”, LawInSport.com, 22 April 2014
  • "State Intervention into Football”, LawInSport.com, 22 April 2014
  • "The Post-DJ Campbell World of Football Governance”, LawInSport.com, 11 December 2013
  • "Age and Disability issues in Playing Contracts”, World Sports Law Report, January 2013
  • "Fixed Term Contracts in Sport”, World Sports Law Report, November 2012
  • "A study of Eurosceptic Groups 1990-97”, The European Journal, August, September and October issues 2006
  • "A good pint by way of Dickens, Disney and the Dictionary”, The Times, Law section, 10 June 2006
  • "The Schuman Plan”, The European Journal, March/April 2006
  • "Let’s Raise a Glass to Old Traditions”, The Times, Law section, 11 October 2005
  • "A Supreme Court for the UK; A Flawed Necessity”, BPP Obiter, May 2004

    Talks

  • Interim Injunctions, Addleshaw Goddard, 18 January 2017
  • Hyperandrogenism, Sport Resolutions Seminar, 8 December 2016
  • Interim Injunctive Relief, Pennington Manches, 13 July 2016
  • Talent Selection - Are the best chosen?, Sport Resolutions Annual Conference, 5 May 2016 
  • Equalities and Discrimination in Sport, University of Gloucestershire Think Tank, 6 April 2016
  • Selection Challenges, Sport Resolutions Seminar, 11 February 2016
  • Fooball Mis-selling, Littleton Sports Law Seminar, 10 February 2016
  • Total Law: overlapping commercial, employment and sports law issues, Sheridans, 30 September 2015
  • Whistleblowing: dealing with troublemakers and protecting genuine whistleblowers, Simons Muirhead & Burton, 14 July 2015
  • Employment Law in Sport, Couchmans, 26 May 2015
  • Off-the-Field Misconduct by Players, IBC Sports Law Conference, 28 April 2015
  • New FIFA Intermediaries Regulations and Future Agents Disputes, Wasserman Media Group, 18 March 2015
  • Social Media Misconduct, Charles Russell Speechleys, 12 March 2015
  • Twitter misuse in the workplace, Doyle Clayton, 11 March 2015
  • Regulating Agents in Sport, LawInSport Conference, 26 February 2015
  • Social Media Misconduct, Lewis Silkin, 10 February 2015
  • Challenging Sports Bodies’ Decisions, MSc Management and Sport, Birkbeck, University of London, 14 January 2015 
  • Recent Developments in Restrictive Covenants, Clintons, 15 December 2014 
  • Equality and Discrimination Challenges in Sports, Sports Resolutions seminar, 5 November 2014
  • The Magic of Player Contract Termination, World Sports Law Report Player Contracts conference, 29-30 October 2014
  • Funding and Litigating Shareholder Disputes, Littleton Manchester Commercial Seminar, 1 October 2014
  • Football Agents Disputes, Fladgate, 18 September 2014
  • Player Contracts: Formation to Termination, Stephenson Harwood, 22 May 2014
  • Unfair Prejudice, Fladgate, 18 March 2014
  • Athlete Selection Challenges, Harbotte & Lewis, 17 March 2014
  • Shareholder and Member Disputes, Doyle Clayton, 6 February 2014
  • TUPE/Administration, Stephenson Harwood, 22 January 2014
  • Football Contract Termination, Clarke Willmott, 21 January 2014
  • Interpreting Commercial and Employment Contracts, Burgess Salmon, 21 January 2014
  • Sporting Just Cause, Charles Russell Sports Group, 30 October 2013
  • Social Media at Work, MBL Webinar, 14 October 2013
  • The Right to Play, World Sports Law Report Player Contracts Conference, 11 July 2013
  • Restraint of Trade in Sport, Brabners and Pinsent Mason, 19 March 2013
  • Non-solicitation and non-dealing, Charles Russell Employment Group, 29 November 2012
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