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Flamboyant or offensive? Race pundit McCririck’s age claim sees Reed Smith and Cavendish Legal in court

Reed Smith and Cavendish Legal Group have been facing each other in the Central London Employment Tribunal this past week as eccentric race pundit John McCririck (pictured) sues his former employers Channel 4 and IMG Media for age discrimination.

Seventy-three year-old McCririck was axed from Channel 4’s coverage last year, when Clare Balding and a new-look team took over.The case has hit the national headlines as cigar-wielding McCririck, known even outside of racing circles for his loud behaviour and deer stalker hat, has variously been described by witnesses for and against as the ‘face of racing’ to ‘unappealing and irritating’, with Channel 4 claiming he was dismissed because his style was not in keeping with the more serious journalism planned for 2013.

McCririck has instructed long-time advisor Stephen Beverley at Cavendish Legal Group, alongside Jennifer Eady QC at Old Square Chambers.

‘John was one of my first clients when I first began practising as a solicitor,’ said Beverley. ‘It’s a very difficult and challenging but important case. It will go on until Monday [7th October] at least.’

Reed Smith is representing Channel 4 and IMG Media Limited, with employment partner Graham Green leading the case alongside Thomas Linden QC at Matrix Chambers.

Reed Smith has advised Channel 4 on multiple matters including a 2009 joint venture with BBC Worldwide, and in 2011 the broadcast corporation’s head of legal for governance, regulatory and trading, Nick Swimer, moved across to the top 30 Global 100 firm’s media and technology group.

Reed Smith said in a statement: ‘Reed Smith confirms that employment partner Graham Green is acting for Channel 4 and IMG Media Limited in relation to John McCririck’s allegations of age discrimination. Reed Smith will be assisting Channel 4 and IMG Media in their vigorous defence of any claims brought by Mr McCririck.’