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Freerunning lawyers

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North East-based Muckle helps parkour gain recognition as a sport

Solicitors are used to jumping through legal hoops while being given the runaround by the other side, the government, and even the courts, but one North East-based law firm has helped its client turn obstacle evasion into a recognised sport.

Acting pro bono, sports lawyers John Devine and Anthony Coultas at Newcastle-based Muckle played a key role in helping shape the governance of a new governing body, Parkour UK, in advance of its application to have parkour/freerunning recognised as a sport.

Originating in France as l’art du déplacement in the 1980s, the sport is principally the non-competitive physical discipline of training to move ‘freely over and through any terrain using only the abilities of the body’, particularly through running, jumping, climbing, and quadrupedal movement.

The sport became famous thanks in part to a host of YouTube videos and blockbuster movies like Casino Royale, The Bourne Legacy, and Live Free or Die Hard. But now the parkour-packed action is being added to school curriculums, such as at Yarm Preparatory School.

Devine, a partner and head of sport at Muckle, which won Regional Team of the Year at the Solicitors Journal Awards 2016, said: ‘Parkour is a relatively new and growing discipline that is enjoyed by participants all over the world so it is fantastic to see it gain the recognition it deserves, which will hopefully encourage more people to take up the sport.

‘We were delighted to work with Parkour UK and play a role in helping to bring this fun and creative sport to the fore. We hope to continue our working relationship with Parkour UK in the future as the sport continues to go from strength to strength.’

The success of parkour contrasts with that of the popular card game bridge. In 2015 the English Bridge Union failed in its attempt to have the game recognised as a sport following a decision by the High Court.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Dove said: ‘”Sport and physical recreation” connotes and requires an essential element of physical activity.’ Parkour certainly has that in abundance, but have Muckle’s dynamic duo of Devine and Coultas considered taking up the sport?

Coultas told Solicitors Journal: ‘In my job, I can sometimes come up against a “brick wall” – so parkour is definitely a sport I would be willing to try under the supervision of a trained expert, of course!’

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