27 July 2017
The senior partner of Fieldfisher has been dropped as the chair of the British Horseracing Authority's disciplinary panel after it was rocked by a scandal around his perceived conflicts of interest.

Matthew Lohn sat as a chair of the British Horseracing Authority's independent disciplinary panel for 11 years. However it emerged during trainer Jim Best's appeal against his guilty verdict that since 2013 Fieldfisher had been providing the BHA with paid legal advice. The revelation forced the BHA to quash Best's conviction. Seven more convictions overseen by Lohn were thrown into doubt because of the “potential appearance of bias”, four of which the BHA said have since been re-examined and "resolved".

The outcry over Lohn's involvement prompted the BHA to fast-track a review by Christopher Quinlan QC of its disciplinary procedures. Quinlan concluded in September 2016 that members should not be employed by the BHA and that the cosy arrangement whereby Lohn was appointed to the panel without open competition for the role was "opaque".

    It's neigh bother. 

Quinlan was not critical of Lohn himself and emphasised that consideration of the Best case was outside the scope of his review. Coincidentally, the two lawyers sit together as members of another body, the UK's National Anti-Doping Panel. Asked whether Quinlan's extra-curricular relationship with one of his review's subjects represented a potential conflict of interest, a BHA spokesman told RollOnFriday that Quinlan's report "was not a review of the Matthew Lohn case. There is no reason at all why there would be a conflict of interest".

The BHA's spokesman confirmed that Lohn had been dropped permanently late last year. When RollOnFriday asked when this major news was announced, he said, "to be honest I can’t recall exactly how we made it be known that Lohn wouldn’t be engaged. I don’t think we put it in a formal statement". Someone should tell Lohn. His Fieldfisher profile still states, "I also sit as a panel chair for the Horseracing Regulatory Authority".

There is some good news for Lohn. The Solicitors Regulation Authority confirmed to RollOnFrIday that it had "closed down" its investigation into the senior partner. An SRA spokesman said it had "looked at all issues involved" and "decided no disciplinary action was necessary".
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