Blackstone Chambers stars line up for London Welsh appeal

Blackstone Chambers has a scrum of barristers involved in a crucial sporting appeal to the Rugby Football Union.

Second tier champions London Welsh has been denied promotion to the Premiership by the sports governing body because an independent audit ruled the club had failed to meet minimum standards, with issues over its home ground.

The Richmond-based rugby club has instructed Pinsent Masons partner and head of sport Trevor Watkins and associate litigator Andrew Herring in legal proceedings.

The firm’s team has turned to Blackstone Chambers silk Tom de la Mare QC and barrister Tom Richards to act for them at an appeal to an independent panel.

Newcastle Falcons, which would have been relegated at London Welsh’s expense, may yet be represented at the appeal as an interested party.

The case, which was supposed to have been heard this week, has been delayed until 28 June to allow Newcastle time to join the appeal.

Newcastle will remain in the Premiership, despite finishing bottom of the table, unless Welsh’s appeal is successful.

The RFU’s in-house lawyer Polly Handford has also instructed Blackstone, with Mark Vinall representing the organisation.

Indeed, Blackstone has a three-way split in the case, with Ian Mill QC on the independent panel that will ultimately decide both club’s fate for next season. Mill is sitting with Tim Ward QC of Monckton Chambers. 3 Hare Court’s James Dingemans QC is chairing the panel.

London Welsh sealed the Championship title in May.