Evidence from University of Westminster researchers for a consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) influenced legislative changes relating to the event zones, advertising and trading regulations for the London 2012 Olympics.

Man running and winning the race


The Government consulted on the advertising and trading regulations in March 2011, in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics. Mark James (University of Salford) and Guy Osborn (University of Westminster) responded to the consultation.

The researchers' key work was published in the Modern Law Review. This led on to a chapter in The London 2012 Olympics by Girginov, where they examined the inherent contradictions at the heart of the Olympics and the tension between commercial imperatives and broader cultural, policy and educational aspirations.

This foundation study has led to a number of subsequent research projects that have examined specific aspects of the legislative background and context of law relating to the Olympics. These have included the legal status of the Olympic Charter, an examination of the over-extension of intellectual property laws and an analysis of the advertising and trading regulations. The British Library also commissioned a research project on the Summer Olympics and Paralympics and the ticketing policies and regulations.

James and Osborn indicated that although the Olympic law of the host country is crucial for the success of the games, the assumptions and applications of the law can create tensions and controversies. Following their response to the consultation, the regulations were amended to reflect their concerns.

With future mega events on the horizon such as the Commonwealth Games, the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and the next edition of the Olympics in Rio in 2016 there is much scope to develop this research.

Current projects include further work with Mark James and interdisciplinary work with Dr Andrew Smith on the regulation and commercialisation of public space focusing upon impacts and legacies of Olympic brandscapes.


Mark James and Guy Osborn submit to scrutiny the dedicated Olympic legislation that has been passed by the British Parliament in 2006. However, as the authors demonstrate, the assumptions and application of law can also create tensions and controversies.

Handbook of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – Making the Games, Vassil Girginov, 2012