The Senior Partner of Fieldfisher is at the centre of a horseracing scandal after it emerged that he accepted payment for legal advice from racing's ruling body while he sat on its supposedly independent disciplinary panels.

Matthew Lohn has chaired the British Horseracing Authority's disciplinary panels for 11 years. Despite the obvious conflict of interest, since at least 2013 he has simultaneously been providing the BHA with paid-for legal advice. Defendants had no idea about his commercial relationship with their accuser until it emerged earlier this year during an appeal by a trainer, Jim Best, against his guilty verdict. The BHA has now been forced to quash the conviction, while the revelation of Lohn's arrangement has sent shockwaves through the racing world and is expected to result in a flood of appeals from defendants found guilty on his watch. They include Godolphin trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni, whom Lohn's panel banned from racing for eight years because he dosed his horses with steroids.

  Lohn odds

Anthony Boswood QC, who chaired the appeals board which has allowed Best to return to work, blasted Lohn's appointment to "a supposedly independent judicial inquiry".  Aghast that "unknown to the person accused, the regulatory body is itself a client of the chairman and his firm", he said the matter caused “very great concern".

It is highly embarrassing for Fieldfisher, whose Senior Partner specialises in regulatory law but apparently failed to appreciate the potential for accusations of bias. One of Lohn's other gigs is sitting on the panel of press regulator Ipso, but despite his integral role in a free and healthy media, Fieldfisher told RollOnFriday the firm "will not be providing any commentary. For all press queries please contact the British Horseracing Authority".

The BHA, which now handles Fieldfisher's press matters, said, “it is our intention to be fully open and transparent about the wider matters that have arisen during this case and which concern our handling of disciplinary cases and the structure and the composition of our disciplinary panels".
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Anonymous 20 May 16 08:15

How big is the conflict? How big is the cheque? How big is the fine? Crucial questions which all lawyers must ask before deciding whether to turn a blind eye to a conflict situation.

Anonymous 20 May 16 14:46

You don't turn a blind eye to a conflict situation. You declare it. How thin is the edge of the wedge?

Roll On Friday 20 May 16 20:53

I like the idea of law firms outsourcing their press matters.

'Hello, you have reached the press office of Allen & Overy; please be advised that all media matters for the firm are now dealt with by Krzysztof's Krazy Kraków Sausage Emporium...'

Better not jest anyway, Master might see this comment and send the remainder of Piper's friends to the great Polish glue factory in the sky :(