People

Simon Merritt

Simon Merritt
Special Counsel
Corporate
Simon Merritt

Simon is a specialist sports lawyer with extensive experience in the sport, leisure and not-for-profit sectors. Simon advises a variety of the firm's sport and leisure clients, working closely with them to achieve positive outcomes. Simon lives and breathes sport and has a wealth of industry experience as a lawyer, administrator and athlete.

Experience

Simon advises clients exclusively within the sport, leisure and not-for-profit sectors. His practice includes national and state sports organisations, professional leagues and clubs, venues including thoroughbred racing clubs, event operators, government sport departments and charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Since 2014, he has assisted sports in navigating their regulatory and integrity environment, successfully negotiating commercial outcomes, improving their governance and risk management processes and arranging staff and athlete engagement.

He has deep experience in disciplinary tribunals, including the National Sports Tribunal, and has appeared several times at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Simon has ongoing involvement in integrity matters and has extensive knowledge of the National Integrity Framework administered by Sport Integrity Australia.

Simon's industry expertise was acknowledged through winning the Sports and Entertainment category at the 2019 Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards and in the 2020 Australasian Lawyer Rising Stars list. He is a national champion dinghy sailor, and as an athlete was previously a member of the Victorian Institute of Sport sailing team.

Career highlights

Simon's experience includes:

  • acting for the purchaser of NBL and WNBL clubs
  • advising a national sport organisation on its broadcast and docuseries agreements with Amazon Prime, its first foray into Australian sports broadcasting
  • acting for the administrators of a national sport organisation in a voluntary administration, including subsequent deed of company arrangement
  • advising on the establishment of AusCycling, including the merger of 18 separate national and state/territory cycling organisations into a single national sport organisation
  • acting in several high-profile anti-doping matters involving world champions and Olympic finalists
  • advising a Melbourne racing club on its exclusive, multi-year pourage rights agreement and several naming rights sponsorship agreements with global brands
  • preparing national child safety frameworks for two national sport organisations
  • drafting a whole-of-sport sponsorship agreement between a major international airline and a sporting body
  • providing strategic advice to the Australian government sport authority about the future evolution of a multi-disciplinary sport
  • advising a Melbourne racing club on its strategic acquisition of two gaming and bistro venues
  • reviewing the content of a Victorian government department's working with children check website for statutory compliance
  • successfully defending a Rio Olympics selection appeal on behalf of a national sport before the Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • successfully defending an equine anti-doping sanction in the Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • undertaking secondments replacing the Director - Legal & Procurement at Destination NSW, the General Counsel at the Victoria Racing Club and acting as on-site solicitor at The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust

Insights by Simon