Nick is ranked as one of the leading barristers in Sports Law. He regularly acts for sports governing bodies, players, clubs, sponsors, broadcasters and agents. He is the ‘go to’ barrister in disputes in football in particular, whether commercial or regulatory. In addition to his busy sports practise, he practises in Commercial, Employment and Media law.  

Nick is recognised as a leading individual in the latest editions of both the leading legal directories, Chambers UK 2019 and Legal 500 2018, for his expertise in sport and employment law. 

Nick is authorised to accept instructions directly from lay clients through the Direct Public Access scheme. 

Nick is a director of the British Association for Sport and the Law (BASL).  

Experience

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Sport

Nick was ranked as the stand out junior in Sports Law before taking silk. Chambers and Partners (2017 describes him as) “An outstanding practitioner with a widely held reputation at the Bar for being the foremost expert on football regulatory matters.”

His sports’ practice covers a variety of commercial claims, disciplinary and doping hearings, claims concerning the interpretation of footballers’ and agents’ contracts and transfer fees, sports’ sponsorship cases, and employment related claims. He regularly advises on the interpretation of and possible challenges to sports bodies’ rules.

Nick regularly appears in national and international courts and specialist sports tribunals, including the CAS, FIFA and all of the UK sports tribunals. 

His clients include World Sailing, Sport England, the British Boxing Board of Control, the Rugby Football Union, the English Cricket Board, the Asian Football Confederation, Scottish Football Association and Saudi Football Federation and the Lawn Tennis Association; numerous football clubs including: Manchester United, Manchester City, Swansea City, Leicester City, AFC Bournemouth, West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Hull City, Middlesbrough, Watford, Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Fulham, Cardiff City, Reading, Derby County, Queens Park Rangers, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, Ipswich Town, Peterborough United, Burton Albion, Dalian Aerbin FC (China), Deportivo Maldonado (Uruguay), Global FC (Philippines), Techiman City (Ghana); a number of Rugby clubs. He has acted for various top flight professional football players including: Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Jamie Vardy, Jake Livermore, Joey Barton, Jay Rodriguez, Jonás Gutierrez, Kiko Femenía,  N'Golo Kante, Aymeric Laporte, Ryan Fredericks, Jimmy Bullard, Andy Cole, Gabriel Heinze, Andre Arshavin, Adrian Mutu, John Obi Mikel, and Peter Odemwingie. He acts for Stellar, USM, WMG and all the major UK football agencies. He acted for Italian sportswear manufacturer, Macron in its multi-million pound sponsorship dispute with Leeds United and regularly acts in sponsorship disputes across many sports. Nick has also been involved in various intellectual property disputes in sport including acting for the ECB and Sky Sport in the landmark 'Fanatix' litigation. He has acted in various disputes in motor racing including for drivers, investors and team principals and for the Lotus Renault and the Caterham Formula 1 teams.  

Nick was previously a Director of Queens Park Rangers FC (2007). He has a unique insight into the football industry including issues relating to football finance, commercial rights, sponsorship, employment law issues with players and managerial staff and regulation by the football governing bodies. 

Nick advises and acts for the Association of Football Agents and is an internationally acknowledged expert in the regulation of and commercial disputes involving agents and Intermediaries. In football, Nick has been involved in all of the leading football cases concerning Third Party Ownership, Financial Fair Play, betting, doping and Agents’ disputes. He also acts for a foreign buyers of English football clubs.

Nick has a wide experience of sports arbitration and sits as the Chair of the Judicial Panel of the British Wrestling Association and is a member of the RFU Disciplinary Panel. He has been appointed as an FA Rule K sole arbitrator in various disputes and has sat as a member of the disciplinary board of the Football Conference. He is a member of the County FA Anti-Discrimination Judicial Panel. Nick is a member of Sports Resolutions' independent Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators and is also a member of the specialist sports list of arbitrators at the Asian International Arbitration Centre.

Nick is a member of the Editorial Board of Law In Sport and writes and lectures regularly on sports law issues. He is co-Author of “Challenging Sports Governing Bodies” (Bloomsbury, 2016) and is the author and General Editor of "Football and the Law" (Bloomsbury, 2018) the first comprehensive guide to football law on the world. He helped set up and lectures on the Professional Certificate Programme for Sports Agents course at Loughborough University, and lectures on the post graduate sports courses at ISDE in Madrid and DMU in London. He founded and chairs the Law in Sport Mentoring Programme. He is also a director of the British Association for Sport and the Law (BASL). 

Cases

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Commercial

Nick has a strong commercial practice having advised on and/or appeared in a wide range of commercial disputes including commercial fraud, worldwide freezing injunctions, injunctions for breach of confidentiality, search orders, contempt of court proceedings bankruptcy proceedings, partnerships, sale of goods and claims by city bankers for commission and bonuses. He has appeared in the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the County Courts. He has particular experience in both obtaining and resisting High Court injunctions. Nick’s sports work also has a heavily commercial focus, he regularly advises and acts in a varied manner of commercial and contractual arbitration disputes as well as High Court sponsorship and copyright claims.


Cases

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Employment

Nick is rated as one of the leading juniors at the Employment Bar. He has a wide and extensive employment law practice. 

He specialises in High Court work, regularly obtaining or resisting injunctions relating to confidential information and restrictive covenants.

Nick frequently appears in the Employment Appeals Tribunal and the High Court. 

Nick also wrote the section on Sports Cases in Goulding on Employee Competition (Second edition) and on Contempt of Court in the Third Ed. Nick assists unrepresented appellants before the EAT.

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Discrimination

Nick is a leading expert in all aspects of discrimination law and has acted for and against claimants in discrimination claims arising in the employment, sporting, commercial and public law fields. 

Nick is author of the Blackstone's Guide to the Employment Equality Regulations – a practical guide to the Sexual Orientation and Religion or Belief discrimination regulations (and the first book on the subjects), and co-wrote the chapter on discrimination in Lester, Pannick and Herberg on Human Rights.

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Media & Entertainment

Nick has advised and acted for a variety of clients including film makers, publishers and professional musicians in disputes concerning copyright claims, a radio station in a dispute with a DJ, claims for an account and contractual disputes between professional musicians over royalty payments and IP rights. He is regularly involved in disputes concerning media rights in the sports industry. 

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Arbitration

Nick has extensive experience of acting in a variety of commercial, contractual and regulatory arbitrations. He also sits as an Arbitrator having being appointed as the Chair of the Judicial Panel of the British Wrestling Association and in other various football arbitrations including sitting as a FA Rule K sole arbitrator and as a member of the RFU Disciplinary Panel. He has been appointed as a Judicial Chair of the Football Association County Anti-Discrimination Disciplinary Panels, and has sat as a member of a Football Conference Disciplinary Board. Nick is a member of Sports Resolutions' independent Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators and is also a member of the specialist sports list of arbitrators at the Asian International Arbitration Centre.

He has a special interest in arbitration and was involved in the leading case that established sports disciplinary proceedings can be arbitrations for the purposes of the Arbitration Act (Kaneria v ECB). He regularly advises and acts for sports’ governing bodies and individuals with respect to the validity and scope of arbitration clauses.

Cases

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Professional Discipline

Nick has a wide range of experience in regulatory work. He has been instructed by the General Medical Council in relation to the regulation of the medical professions (appearing often in the High Court and Employment Tribunals on behalf of the GMC) and has been instructed by various sporting regulatory bodies (such as the British Board of Boxing Control, the English Cricket Board, the Rugby Football Union, the Football Association and the Lawn Tennis Association) and by persons challenging the decisions of regulatory bodies. He often appears before sports’ regulatory bodies defending or prosecuting athletes.  He has also appeared before the Office of Fair Trading adjudicator, and advised other clients in other OFT cases.

Cases

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Achievements

Education

LLB (Lond), First Class, (Scholarship: Jules Thorn Scholar, Middle Temple)

Publications

  • Author of Lewis, Taylor, De Marco & Segan, Challenging Sports Governing Bodies (forthcoming, 2016).
  • Contributor, Goulding on Employee Competition (3rd ed., 2016) – responsible for the section on contempt of court.
  • Contributor, Lewis & Taylor, Sport: Law and Practice (3rd ed.) Co-authored chapter on the financial regulation of sport.
  • Contributor, Goulding on Employee Competition (2nd ed., 2011) – responsible for the section on Sports cases.
  • Contributor, Lester and Pannick Human Rights Law and Practice  3rd ed (2009)  and 2nd ed. (2004) – responsible for the chapter on Art 14 (Discrimination)
  • Author, Blackstone's Guide to the Employment Equality Regulations (2004) – a practical guide to the Sexual Orientation and Religion or Belief discrimination regulations
  • Former Editor of Sports Law Case Reports for the Journal of the British Association of Sports Law (BASL) (2006-2008)
  • Former General Editor, Administrative Court Digest (2002-2005)
  • Contributor to Legal Action magazine on UK Human Rights cases (2002-2005)
  • Editor of the Venice Commission Bulletin on Constitutional Case Law (2000 - 2001)
  • Contributor, European Human Rights Case Summaries, B. Mensah, Cavendish (2002)
  • Editor of the UCL Faculty of Laws Jurisprudence Review 2000
  • Nick is also editor of Blackstone Chambers’ Sports’ Law Bulletin online blog and a member of the editorial board of and regular contributor to Law in Sport.

Papers

  • The new FA Football Intermediaries Regulations and the disputes likely to arise  (26 March 2015)
  • 2012 Olympics – Legal challenges to selection - The Lawyer, 2 July 2012
  • Euro 2004 ticket case sets precedent for sporting events (World Sports Law Report, Vol 2, Issue 6, June 2004)
  • Interpreting Termination Clauses – paper co-written with Monica Carss-Frisk QC for talk given at the IRS “Employment Law in the High Court” conference in May 2004. The paper focussed on PILON clauses, whether a termination clause is a liquidated damages clause or a penalty clause, and the application of UCTA. 
  • The New Discrimination Regulations – Paper accompanying talk given to ELA voluntary sector conference on the race relations (amendment) act, sexual orientation and religion of belief discrimination regulations (January 2004).
  • Sexual Orientation and Religion or Belief discrimination - Defining the grounds (ELA Briefing, Vol. 11, No. 7, Jan/Feb 2004)
  • Identity crisis - what constitutes a public body in public law? Co-written with Tom de la Mare (The Lawyer, 11 November 2002, Vol. 16 issue 45)
  • Can human rights survive the ‘war on terrorism’? (The Lawyer, 30 September 2002, Vol. 16 issue 39) 
  • Marxism and Democracy - Apex and Abrogation (UCL Faculty of Laws Jurisprudence Review 2000 pp. 36-58)

Memberships

  • ICCA
  • COMBAR
  • ELA
  • British Association of Sports Lawyers

Selected earlier reported cases

Sport

  • Football Association v Reading FC (FA Regulatory Commisison and Appeal Board, 2015)
  • Knott v British Horseracing Association (BHA Appeal Panel, April 2015)
  • FIFA v West Ham United FC & Diafra Sakho (FIFA Football Disciplinary Committee (FDC) Proceedings, 4 February 2015)
  • Malkay Mackay v Cardiff City FC; Cardiff City FC v Iain Moody (Managers Arbitration Tribunal and High Court, May 2014)
  • Levack & Kleinman v FA (FA Appeal Panel, April 2014)
  • Phil Smith v The Football Association (2014, FA Regulatory Commisiosn and Appeal Board)
  • Salisbury Town FC v The Football Conference (FA Appeal Board, August 2014)
  • West Ham United v The FA (FA Rule K hearing, February 2014)
  • Yogesh Joshee v The Football Association (FA Agents Appeal Panel, January 2014)
  • Paul Edwards v UK Athletics and ors (High Court, 2014)
  • Ken Bates v Leeds United Football Club (2014, settled)
  • Barry Town United AFC v Football Association of Wales (High Court in Wales, August 2013)
  • British Horseracing Authority v Knott & Burke (May 2013).
  • Dave Jones v Cardiff City Football Club (High Court, April 2013 - settled)
  • The Football League v Watford Association Football Club & Bassini (March 2013) 
  • Kolles v Force India (2010- August 2013)
  • Portsmouth FC v Kanu (December 2012)
  • FA v Joey Barton (May 2012)
  • Andrey Arshavin (FA Rule K Arbitration 2012)
  • Jimmy Bullard v Hull City (August 2011-2012, Football League Arbitration) 
  • Birmingham City v Alex McLeish (June 2011, settled)
  • FA v QPR (FA Regulatory Commission, May 2011 – re third party ownership)
  • Marcel Seip v Blackpool Football Club (FAPL, May 2011)
  • Hasselbaink v Middlesbrough (May 2011)
  • Toulouse v West Ham United (High Court, May 2011)
  • Fulham v West Ham United (FAPL)
  • Fleetwood Town FC v The Football Conference (before the FA Appeal Board, 21 April 2010)
  • Bolton Wanderers v Nicolas Anelka (High Court 2009) 
  • Football Association v Charles Collymore (FA Disciplinary Commission, Autumn 2008 and Spring 2009)
  • Mark Connolly v Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (FAPL Disciplinary Commission, Summer 2009)
  • Birmingham & Solihull Rugby Club v First Division of Rugby (RFU Competition Appeals Board, 6 May 2008)
  • Nike v Tomas Rosicky (High Court (ChD) 9 August 2007)
  • Gabriel Heinze v Manchester United FC (Football Premier League Appeals Board, August 2007)
  • Fulham FC and Sheffield United FC v The Premier League (High Court, 13 July 2007)
  • Dartry Ltd v Narain Karthikiyan (High Court)
  • West Ham United FC v The Football Association (FA Appeal Committee, April 2006)
  • Rotherham United FC v Southend United FC (Football League, February 2006)
  • John Obi Mikel v Manchester United Football Club (FIFA Dispute Resolution Panel)
  • 3 Players v International Tennis Federation 
  • Ryder Cup Limited v Tickets2bThere.com (November 2005)
  • Epsom Downs Racecourse Limited v Horan (June 2005)
  • Adrian Mutu v Chelsea FC (January 2005)
  • Joe Royle v Manchester City Football Club (Court of Appeal, March 2005)
  • Enrique De Lucas Martinez v Chelsea FC (June 2005)
  • Andy Cole v The Football Association (14 October 2004)
  • Swindon FC v Neil Ruddock (December 2002)

Commercial

  • Bank of Ireland v Jaffery (Chancery Division, 2012)
  • Lombard North Central Plc v Automobile World (UK) Ltd [2010] EWCA Civ 20
  • Lombard North Central v Automobile World (April 2008, Leeds County Court)
  • World Duty Free v Kirk & ors (December 2007, High Court)
  • Frankel v Feldman (2005 - Case No. HC05CO1000)
  • Benrache v Stiedl [2003] EWCA Civ 838 – judgment restricted

Employment

  • Foxtons v Hassell [2010] EWHC 2199 (QB) 
  • Humphreys v Quinn Glass (ET, October 2009)
  • Dr Igboaka v GMC (EAT June 2009)
  • Impellam v Long (High Court and Employment Tribunal 2009)
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission v BNP (July 2009)
  • Moran v Wakefield (Employment Tribunal 2008) 
  • Lighthouse Carrwood v Philip Luckett (High Court, November 2007)
  • Villars v Kwik Fit (High Court, April 2007)
  • Sahatchu v DPP (EAT March 2007)
  • Griffiths v Law Society (ET April 2007)
  • World Challenge Expeditions v Outlook and Anr (High Court, January 2007)
  • Wilkes v Experian (November 2006)
  • Roeser v Commerzbank AG (EAT/0552/05)
  • Randle v Mapics (UK) (EAT)
  • P Campbell v Ministry of Defence (ET)

Media & Entertainment

  • Empire Media productions v Calum Best (November 2007)
  • Rachmaninov v Sotheby’s

Professional Discipline

  • Dr Igboaka v GMC (EAT June 2009)
  • Football Association v Charles Collymore (FA Disciplinary Commission, Autumn 2008 and Spring 2009)
  • Azam v RFU (RFU Appeals Board, October 2009)
  • Mark Connolly v Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (FAPL Disciplinary Commission, Summer 2009)
  • Dr Alan Tutin v GMC (High Court February 2009)
  • Birmingham & Solihull Rugby Club v First Division of Rugby (RFU Competition Appeals Board, 6 May 2008)
  • RFU v Bristol Rugby Club (RFU Disciplinary panel, 8 August 2007)
  • George Galloway MP v The Labour Party (2003)

Other relevant experience

Nick took part on the Bar Council trade delegation to South Korea and China, and is particularly interested in developing his practice internationally.

Before going to the Bar, Nick worked as a film and video editor. He was also involved in politics and was elected as a trade union representative and student union president.

While at university he won a number of mooting competitions including the Blackstone/Herbert Smith/GTI national mooting competition (1998-1999) and the Inner Temple mooting competition (2000).

Nick is an acclaimed photographer, often travelling the world to take photos. He has published various books including “Cubans” available on Blurb.com. The international photography magazine, Leica Fotografia International, featured a 12-page profile of his work in June 2010 and he was recently interviewed by Lomography magazine (https://www.lomography.com/magazine/318551-community-amigo-nick-de-marco).  His work has been exhibited in central London.

Nick is a football fan and previous Director of QPR.

A lover of all things Italian, Nick spends much of his spare time in his house in southern Italy where he has a small vineyard and olive grove, making his own organic wine and olive oil.

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