Group Claim against World Rugby & other governing bodies

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Group claim against World Rugby and various national rugby governing bodies in respect of traumatic brain injuries

Rylands is pursuing a claim on behalf of individuals with brain injuries who have played rugby union. We represent adult players of all levels, i.e. professional men and women, as well as amateur. If you have suffered brain injuries as a result of playing rugby, please complete the sign-up form to join the group claim.


Fill in our form if you think you have been affected and a member of our team will help you investigate your potential claim.


Case against World Rugby and various national governing bodies (the defendants)

Rylands’s investigations lead it to believe that the defendants have failed to protect the rugby playing community from concussive and sub-concussive injuries. Rylands sent a letter of claim to the defendants in December 2020 setting out 24 different allegations. The amount of loss will depend on the circumstances of your case and the legal arguments that we can advance on your behalf. In court cases, the loser is often required to pay the winner’s costs. In large cases, the amount of a potential costs order can make it difficult for individuals to pursue well-resourced companies for compensation. After-the-event insurance (“ATE”) is a type of insurance policy that protects individual claimants against the risk of having to pay the defendant’s costs should their case be unsuccessful. Given the size of the claim against the various rugby bodies, court proceedings cannot be started without having in place such a policy to protect individual claimants. Rylands has secured suitable ATE for its clients.

Rylands team

To progress these claims, Rylands has assembled a team including experts in neuro-science and senior and junior barristers from a leading set of chambers specialising in sports law and personal injury litigation. The team is led by Richard Boardman. Lead counsel is Susan Rodway QC.

Claim eligibility

We are only able to bring claims on behalf of those who have played rugby union in England and Wales and who have brain injuries as a result of playing the sport. Our testing will confirm the nature and extent of the injuries. It does not matter which level of the adult game you played at, nor whether you played in the male or female version of the game before or after the sport went professional (for men) in 1995.

Who should complete the form?

To be able to progress your case, court documents require us to identify the person who has suffered the brain injuries. Therefore, the sign-up form should be completed by the person(s) who suffered the injuries.  If you act as a representative for someone else (e.g. because the person with brain injuries cannot complete the form), then you will be able to bring the claim as the representative and the sign-up form will request the relevant information. After you have signed up, we will request the necessary supporting documents.

What will happen next?

To join the claim, you will need to complete a quick and straightforward sign-up form. One of our legal team will then follow-up with you to discuss next steps. Once you have signed up, you will receive regular updates on the progress of your case.

Contact the team

To make a claim, get in touch with our expert sports lawyers today.
  • Complete the online form to join the claim.
  • Call 0870 024 5007

Frequently Asked Questions

In this case, Rylands is representing a group of claimants who are seeking to obtain compensation from World Rugby and various rugby governing bodies as a result of their alleged failure to protect the adult rugby playing community from concussive and sub-concussive injuries.

Subconcussive hits are those that are below the concussion threshold: the brain is shaken, but not so violently that the damage to brain cells is severe enough to see through symptoms. Rugby players are particularly susceptible to such hits because they are involved in so many rucks, tackles, carries, mauls, scrums etc. A rugby player who has had a 10, 15 year career is likely to have suffered tens of thousands of such blows.

Yes. A brain is a brain; it doesn’t matter whether you’re an international player or you played for the Dog & Duck 3rd XI. We believe the defendants owe a duty of care to anybody that plays a formal game of rugby union.

Each person is different, but the same symptoms appear time and time again, whether that’s memory loss, shortness of temper, anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, an inability to concentrate, vertigo, incontinence, addiction to alcohol or drugs, and others.

There are two main reasons:

1) We want to help players in retirement by getting them a diagnosis plus financial support for their families; and

2) To help change the game and make it safer for current and future generations.

Where a large number of people have claims against the same defendant arising out of the same set of circumstances, the most cost effective way of bringing the claim is for the claimants to join forces and progress as a group under a Group Litigation Order (“GLO”). The GLO allows the claims to be heard together rather than on an individual basis making it far more efficient.

We believe the defendants owe a duty of care to anybody that has played a formal game of rugby union. We have over 20 allegations, including the failure to regulate contact in training; the failure to create adequate concussion protocols, and the decision to shorten the return to play (following a concussion) from three-weeks in 1980 to six days in 2011.

We are therefore proposing to issue proceedings against the defendants for their failure to care for the rugby playing community with regards to traumatic brain injuries.

The case we are presently bringing is against the defendants as the opinion of both Rylands and counsel, having considered the evidence, is that a case against the defendants has the best prospect of success and is the best chance of achieving compensation on your behalf.

It is too early to be able to give an accurate prediction of the timescale to conclude this matter to a satisfactory outcome. This is because the length of time depends on the defendants’ approach. If the defendants seek to settle the claim, then the case should conclude relatively quickly. If, however, it is necessary to progress the matter through trial, the case could take longer than two years.

We believe the game has insurance in place to pay out damages for any such injuries.

Start your claim below

John Doe


The communication from Rylands has been great since we joined the claim!


Fill in our form if you think you have been affected and a member of our team will help you investigate your potential claim.