James Brown

School of Law

Research Student


Full contact details

James Brown
School of Law
Bartolomé House
Winter Street
S3 7ND

Before joining Sheffield in October 2019, I studied at both Keele University (2014-2017) and Nottingham Trent University (2017-2018), earning (respectively) both a First-Class Honours LLB Law degree and an LLM in Sports Law (Distinction).

My research interests include areas such as sports law, tort law and private law theory. I have published articles in both the International Sports Law Journal (relating to how the World Anti-Doping Agency should respond to the emerging issue of genetic doping) and the Entertainment and Sports Law Journal (looking at how sports equipment is created and regulated by the various stakeholders in sport). I am currently sitting on the PGR Steering Group for the Sheffield Institute of Corporate and Commercial Law (SICCL).

  • LLB Single Honours Law, Keele University (2014-2017)
  • LLM Sports Law, Nottingham Trent University (2017-2018)
Research interests

Leaving it all on the Field? Analysing the Appropriate Scope of Vicarious Liability for Athletes in the Sports Industry

Supervisors: Professor Tsachi Keren-Paz and Dr Andreas Ruhmkorf

A Brief Summary of the Thesis: In utilising a contextual-pluralist model of vicarious liability that aims to analyse and apply the various theoretical justifications for the doctrine, my research explores the appropriate scope of employer liability in the amateur and professional sports sector. It looks at whether amateur sports clubs can be vicariously liable for harmful acts committed by their players, and whether sports governing bodies can be liable for the actions of athletes in what might be described as ‘individualised’ sports (such as tennis, cycling and golf). Furthermore, and in assessing what functions are inherent in an athlete’s employment, it also examines to what extent sports employers might be vicariously liable for tortious acts committed on-the-field and off-the-field by employees that seem to occupy a somewhat special status as ‘role models’ in society.

Teaching activities

Undergraduate: Law of Obligations, Advanced Tort Law

Postgraduate: Global and Gender Justice in Private Law

Professional activities

I am currently sitting on the PGR Steering Group for the Sheffield Institute of Corporate and Commercial Law (SICCL).

Conference Papers:

  • 'The Theory of Vicarious Liability: A Contextual-Pluralist Solution?', Society of Legal Scholars' Annual Conference, Durham University, 1st September 2021.
  • 'The Vicarious Liability of Sports Governing Bodies and Competition Organisers: Lessons from the UK', Sports and Recreation Law Association Virtual Conference, 23rd February 2021.
  • 'The Turning Tides of Vicarious Liability: Sweeping Away Theoretical Considerations in the Wake of Barclays and Morrison?', University of Sheffield, 18th November 2020.


(1) University Postgraduate Research Committee Scholarship, Faculty of Social Sciences (2019)

(2) Lincoln’s Inn Neuberger Prize (2016): one of four winners of an award granted to students of proven academic excellence at non-Russell Group Universities.

The prize included free entry to Lincoln’s Inn, and the opportunity to shadow Lord Neuberger at the Supreme Court on two cases in November 2016.


  • Brown J (2021) Developing a Contextual-pluralist Model of Vicarious Liability. Tort Law Review, 28(2), 123-142.
  • Brown J (2020) The Creation and Regulation of Sports Equipment: Implications for the Future'. Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, 18(8), 1- 11. Available at: http://doi.org/10.16997/eslj.236.
  • Brown J (2019) Genetic doping: WADA we do about the future of 'cheating' in sport?. International Sports Law Journal, 19, 258-280. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40318-019-00141-y.