Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr Leanne O’Leary

A senior lecturer, graduate and a visiting fellow from Edge Hill University have all been appointed to sport’s highest international court.

Dr Leanne O’Leary, a senior lecturer in law; law graduate Gareth Farrelly who is now a solicitor; and visiting fellow Professor Vanja Smokvina have been chosen as arbitrators to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

All three who are connected to the University’s Centre for Sports Law Research will now help decide high profile sport disputes.

Dr O’Leary, a qualified solicitor, who lectures on alternative dispute resolution and has worked on cases including the Harold Shipman Inquiry, said:

“It is an incredible honour and a real privilege to be appointed as a CAS Arbitrator. I have practised sports law, chaired disciplinary proceedings in a number of sports and volunteer with the International Netball Federation.

“To hear that I was not only successful but that two of my colleagues from the Centre for Sports Law Research were also appointed at the same time is absolutely fantastic.”

Dr O’Leary, who recently became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, was appointed together with Gareth Farrelly and Vanja Smokvina following their nomination by FIFPRO, the World Football Players’ Union.

The former professional footballer is an Edge Hill graduate

Gareth Farrelly

Edge Hill graduate Gareth Farrelly, who studied Sports Law and is now a solicitor at Bermans and an FA Independent Football Panel Member, said:

“It is an incredible honour to be appointed to CAS. I had a case there in 2007 and always aspired to go back. I look forward to sitting with and learning from the best sports law arbitrators and lawyers in the world.”

Edge Hill University’s Centre for Sports Law Research (CSLR) carries out funded consultancy for public and private bodies on issues related to sport regulations and produces reports and advice for organisations including the European Parliament and the House of Lords.

Professor Richard Parrish, CSLR Director, said:

“This is truly remarkable for the Department of Law and Criminology and the CSLR. It might be a small centre, but it has a very large footprint within the sports law world.”

To find out more about the Department for Law and Criminology  and study options at Edge Hill please click here.