The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that, following an open competition, it has appointed His Honour Brian Barker C.B.E. QC as its first Judicial Panel Chairman. He takes up his post in January 2017.
His Honour Brian Barker has had a distinguished career in the Judiciary, including serving as the Recorder of London – the senior Judge at the Old Bailey – and as a Judge of the Court of Appeal. He heard the second ‘Deepcut’ inquest into the death of Cheryl James. He currently holds a number of senior, part-time appointments, including Independent Reviewer of National Security in Northern Ireland, and Assistant Surveillance Commissioner.
The creation of the role of Judicial Panel Chairman was recommended by Christopher Quinlan QC in his review of the structure, composition and processes of the BHA’s Disciplinary Panel, Appeal Board and Licensing Committee, published on 29th September 2016. Mr Quinlan’s review concluded that the BHA’s quasi-judicial functions were fair and legally robust, but he recommended improvements to develop and evolve the BHA’s disciplinary system and to maintain confidence among the sport’s participants and the wider public.
His Honour Brian Barker becomes the first Chairman of the Judicial Panel of the BHA: the head of British racing’s new, independent judiciary, and responsible for the appointment, training and selection of all members of the BHA’s quasi-judicial panels. He will also chair Disciplinary Panels and Appeal Boards as the need arises. This senior appointment is an important step in the implementation of Christopher Quinlan QC’s recommendations, all accepted by the BHA Board.
His Honour Brian Barker will take up his new role on 9th January 2017 and will work with the current Disciplinary Panel Chairman, Lucinda Cavendish, and the Chairman of the Appeal Board, Bruce Blair QC, throughout the implementation process. One of his first responsibilities will be to recruit an expanded Licensing and Disciplinary Panel of no fewer than 22 members with a suitably diverse range of capabilities as recommended by Mr Quinlan.
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA said: “I am delighted that we attracted such strong interest for this key new role and that, as a result, we have able to appoint someone of Brian Barker’s standing, as one of the country’s foremost members of the Judiciary. We wish Mr Barker every success in his new role.”
His Honour Brian Barker C.B.E. QC said: “I am very pleased to take on this role as the head of the BHA’s independent judiciary, and privileged to be able to shape racing’s disciplinary process at this pivotal time. I look forward to engaging from the outset with all stakeholders to ensure that legal best practice matches racing’s finest standards. As a lifelong sports enthusiast I understand the importance of fairness and robustness. I aim to ensure the whole industry delivers what it does best: outstanding world-class sport on the racecourse.”