Brian Barker: first chairman of the BHA’s new independent judicial panel
By Keith Melrose 11:26AM 22 DEC 2016
BRIAN BARKER QC, a former senior judge, has been appointed as the first chairman of the BHA’s new independent judicial panel.
The creation of Barker’s new role 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 September 29. He will start his new role in January.
Quinlan was appointed to head the review into the BHA’s disciplinary system following the quashing of Jim Best’s original conviction. Best had been found guilty of non-trier charges by a panel chaired by Matthew Lohn, who it subsequently emerged had an undisclosed commercial relationship with the BHA, raising the appearance of bias.
Best was last week banned for six months by a BHA-appointed independent disciplinary panel following a rehearing of the original case.
Barker formerly served as the recorder of London, making him the senior judge at the Old Bailey, and as a judge of the Court of Appeal. He currently holds a number of senior, part-time appointments, including independent reviewer of national security in Northern Ireland, and assistant surveillance commissioner.
In his new position, Barker will be 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.
On the appointment, BHA chief executive Nick Rust 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.”
Barker added: “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.”