Landmark £4.5M+ win for Richard Hartley QC & Jonathan Boyle!

Richard A Hartley QC and Jonathan Boyle secure a landmark win of over £4,500,000 for former Manchester United player.

(See Press Release Below)

11th August 2008

Ben Collett: Judgment has implications for all levels of football

Former Manchester United youngster Ben Collett has been awarded record compensation for a UK sports case, 5 years after having his career prematurely ended by a negligent tackle.

And the silk, who represented former Manchester United starlet says that the implications of the case could reach all levels of the game — from Premier League to Sunday League.

Richard A. Hartley QC of Cobden House Chambers in Manchester represented Collett, who broke both bones in his right leg in a tackle by Middlesbrough's Gary Smith in May 2003.

Mr Hartley — who was part of the legal team which included solicitors Jan Levinson and Jo Dumphy from Beachcroft Solicitors and Jonathan Boyle from Cobden House — said that even though Collett had never played a full reserve game the weight of evidence from the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Gary Neville and Brian McClair clearly showed that Collett had been robbed of a potentially glittering career.

Richard Hartley said:

“This is a landmark judgment and, while a lot will be made of the figure involved, it would be churlish to lose site of what Ben Collett lost, for he clearly would have been a leading professional sportsman making the sort of money top stars enjoy. While this award of compensation may go some way to replacing he has lost — at least in a financial sense — it ought to be remembered that Ben Collett is a really nice young man who, from humble beginnings, had worked his socks off to try to make the most of his God-given talent.

“He was tipped for great things by all those who had played with him and all those who had coached him — including Sir Alex Ferguson. He was at one of the world’s biggest football clubs, with every prospect of turning dream for professional glory into reality. Then he suffered a double fracture of the lower leg. It was a dreadful moment that his father witnessed from the stands.

“The ramifications are wide ranging and will have an impact on football in this country at all levels. Clubs at both amateur and professional standing will need to examine carefully their third party insurance liability cover as cases like this will inevitably became more commonplace.

“Individual professionals — even many Premier League stars — have cover which is inadequate, particularly in the light of today’s judgment.

“In practical terms we deal with an awful lot of these cases where amateur players lose their earnings because of events that happen on a Sunday morning — but why should they put up with it?”

About Richard Hartley QC:

Mr Hartley is head of the Personal Injury Department at Cobden House Chambers and has a wealth of experience in sports cases, working with both amateur sportsmen and professionals. The “Legal 500” has recommended Richard for his effectiveness two years in a row. is a specialist in sports injuries has acted for a number of footballers, both amateur and professional in recent years, including:

  • Chris Casper the former Manchester United player who was injured when playing for Reading by a tackle finished his career. His case eventually settled just before trial for a sum which was confidential but was later reported as being 7 figures.
  • Michael Appleton another former Manchester United, Preston and West Brom player, whose career was finished after a negligent operation by a surgeon. He received more than £1.5 million, in what was said to have been the largest sports award case in this country.

Cobden House Chambers has a thriving and growing Personal Injury Department and is one of the fastest growing in Manchester.

Article from "The Lawyer" provides further information:

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