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Sports Law Essay Competition 2024


About Chambers and the Competition

Littleton Chambers leads in the field of sports law and regulation. Littleton recently won the Legal 500 2023 “Sports Set of the Year” award and it includes the Legal 500 2023 “Sports Junior of the Year” amongst its practitioners.

Barristers at Littleton often contribute to the legal discourse in sport by interacting with sports personalities and organisations through written work. The Sports Law Essay Competition provides budding lawyers with a unique opportunity to broadcast their ideas to the wider sporting community and, thereby, improve regulation and governance in sport.

Entrants to this year’s competition are tasked with addressing a growing phenomenon in European sport: the application of human rights and referrals to the ECtHR. The essay title, rules (including how to submit and marking criteria), and prizes are set out below. Competition entrants should note that arguments, themes and ideas which evidence original thought are highly prized, although it is unlikely that a wholly original theory can be developed within the short word-limit of the essay.

The deadline for submission is 9 am on Monday 25th March 2024

The Essay Title

“Sport participation is a privilege, not a right”. To what extent is the European Court of Human Rights’ interference with competition rules and sports regulations good for sports governance?



  1. The competition is open to all students registered at a UK university (including those reading for the LPC, SQE or the Bar), all students registered on the ICCA’s Bar Vocational Training Course, and trainee solicitors.
  2. Employees of Littleton Chambers are excluded from the competition.

The Essay

  1. Essays must be between 1,500 and 2,500 words including references.
  2. The contents of the essay should be in English and typed in a legible font, in font size 12, with 1.5 or double-lined spacing.
  3. No particular style manual (eg OSCOLA) is prescribed, but style, format and references should be clear and used consistently throughout the essay so as not to detract from the content.
  4. The essay must be the sole creation and work of the competition entrant and must not have been submitted to any other body, person or organisation for publishing or examination.
  5. The essay must not contain the author’s name, university, or law firm. These details should be included in the body of the email to which the essay is attached (see below).


  1. The deadline for submission and entry into the competition is 9 am on Monday 25th March 2024.
  2. All essays must be submitted via email as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file attachment. Submissions must be emailed to The body of the email should contain the entrant’s,
    1. Full name;
    2. Educational institution or firm; and
    3. Contact telephone number.
  1. Essays which do not meet the above requirements or are not submitted in the above manner shall not be considered and shall be removed from the competition.
  1. Entrants are also encouraged to complete and attach with their submission our diversity monitoring form which can be found here. Information contained in these forms is anonymous and will not affect the outcome of the competition or be used in the assessment of essays.


  1. Each essay shall be read and marked by two barristers from Littleton’s Sports Law Group.
  2. The marks will be award out of total of 50 and will be assigned in accordance with the following criteria:
    1. Up to 15 marks for original thought and ideas, i.e. to what extent does the essay touch upon or introduce new ideas, themes or arguments?
    2. Up to 15 marks for relevance, i.e. how well does the essay address the topic/title and issues in question?
    3. Up to 10 marks for structure, i.e. how persuasive and intelligible is the essay’s structure?
    4. Up to 10 marks for phrasing and grammar ie to what extent do words and phrases used enhance or detract from the arguments, themes and ideas in the essay?
  1. The essays with the top five highest average marks shall be considered by a panel of five barristers from Littleton’s Sports Law Group. The panel of five shall use the above marking criteria as a guide to selecting three winners from those five essays to receive the prizes.


  1. By submitting the essay, the entrant authorises Littleton Chambers (its members and staff) to use and publish the essay if and as it/they see/s fit.
  2. Further, the entrant authorises Littleton Chambers (its members and staff) to edit or modify the essay as it/they see/s fit prior use or publishing.

Prizes and Winners

  1. Prizes will be awarded to the entrants who authored the top three essays as follows:
    1. The first place prize is £750 and an Inspire Sports Law mini-pupillage at Littleton Chambers;
    2. The second place prize is £500; and
    3. The third place prize is £250.
  1. Winners will be contacted by email in the first instance and will be announced on Chambers’ website and social media channels.
  1. Whilst Littleton Chambers is grateful to all who participate in the competition, feedback will not be provided to those entrants who did not win.
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