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James Counsell QC and Ben Bradley compel Chelsea FC to clarify its Defence in Racial Abuse Proceedings

In a recent High Court application before Stacey J, James Counsell QC (leading Ben Bradley) obtained a Court Order compelling Chelsea FC to clarify its Defence in abuse proceedings.

Four Claimants aver that they were subjected to abhorrent racial abuse by two Chelsea FC team coaches, whilst playing for the club’s youth teams, and that such abuse is actionable as a matter of law. In the proceedings initially, Chelsea FC simply put the Claimants to proof that the abuse took place.

They subsequently served evidence from the 2 football coaches involved, which (1) denied that much of the abuse took place; but (2) where abuse did take place, they averred that it was acceptable by the standards of the day. Neither of these propositions appeared in the Defence.

The Claimants argued that it was wrong for the Defendant to advance a positive case through its witness evidence, which was not mirrored by the position adopted in its Defence. Stacey J agreed with this proposition, ordering the Defendant either to amend its Defence, or to provide a substantive response to a Part 18 request (which had asked the Defendant to respond to each and every allegation of abuse as set out in the Particulars of Claim).

The trial of this matter is listed to take place in Spring 2022.

Find out more

James Counsell QC and Ben Bradley are regularly instructed (often together) on large, novel and high profile abuse claims. They are currently instructed in a number of high-profile cases being brought against Premiership and other professional football clubs which are listed for trial later this year and in early 2022.

Further details of their respective practices can be obtained from their clerks, Graham Woods and Paul Barton.

News, Personal Injury 14 Jul, 2021


James Counsell QC

Call: 1984 Silk: 2017

Ben Bradley

Call: 2007

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