Nicholas Cotter

Nicholas Cotter

Call 1999

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Sports Law

Mr Cotter regularly appears before sports regulation / disciplinary hearings and provides advice on rules, compliance and the consequences of infringements.

Mr Cotter has a significant background in malfeasance, bribery and fraud and is well placed to deal with these matters arising from corruption and criminality in sport.

He has a particular specialisation in anti-doping law both Defending and Prosecuting;

Recent notable recent cases:-


Instructed Counsel for a professional regional rugby player who fell foul from the use of banned supplement. UKAD conceded that some evidence existed which supported lack of doping education and no intentional use and the panel in turn were convinced of the merit of early return permission to training despite the imposition of a disqualification period.


Instructed Counsel for UKAD in a case that resulted in the first UK life time ban for a member of the “support team” for an athlete and impacted on the issue of who could be included within the definition of support personnel (namely an athletes parent).


Represented a professional flat racing Jockey before a full disciplinary panel accused by the BHA of the offences of sample tampering and bringing the sport into disrepute. The issue resolved around the use of illicit substances and the athletes attempt to use /acquire another individuals sample to mask the primary offence.


Providing advice to a basketball player charged with a drug tampering offence namely that the athlete tried to pass off another athletes name when providing a sample. The case reached the tribunal and the athlete was given a significant reduced sentence in light of his mitigation and early advice.


Representing a cyclist who had refused to provide a sample when requested after competition. The athlete was advised early in the matter and the key issues argued before the tribunal were primarily “compelling justification” and “no significant fault” for failing to provide a sample. The  tribunal recorded a finding of no significant fault in favour of the cyclist and a much reduced ban. Mr Cotter also subsequently advised on the implications of disqualification upon prize money.


Representing a young boxer who had taken a sports supplement. The supplement contained a substance banned during competition and the existence of the substance within the supplement was not known to the athlete. The athlete in his first instance tribunal was found to have had “no significant fault” when he ingested the substance. The athlete had further argued that he did not intend to “enhance his sports performance” with the supplement.

This argument failed before the Tribunal and was the subject of significant legal debate (Foggo / Oliveria cases) internationally. The athletes original ban was reduced by 50% by the original panel however UKAD did not appeal this but on the basis that they believed that the Oliveria approach should have been followed rather than Foggo in reaching a decision.

This placed the Athlete in jeopardy of having his period of disqualification increased in the de novo hearing if the panel continued to follow the Foggo approach but rejected his mitigation. The NADP chaired by Mr Peter Leaver QC disagreed with the suggestion that the Oliveria approach should have been followed and indicated that they did not agree with the reduction in the period of disqualification originally imposed by the First Instance Tribunal.

However the Appeal Panel was persuaded not to alter the original sanction reduction afforded to the athlete.


August 4 2014:

Nicholas Cotter successfully acts on behalf of UKAD more

October 1 2012:

3PB is delighted to announce that Nicholas Cotter has joined Chambers. more

... more news

Academic Qualifications

  • Diploma in Law (Bristol) CPE
  • BA (Hons) History
  • Public Access Qualified

Professional Bodies

  • Association of Commonwealth Criminal Lawyers
  • British Association for Sport and Law (BASL)
  • Grade 4 Prosecutor
  • Member of the South Eastern Circuit
  • Proceeds of Crime Lawyers' Association
  • Rape Panel
  • Serious Crime Panel
  • Serious Fraud Panel
  • The Criminal Bar Association
  • The Health and Safety Lawyers Association
  • The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn