The Sports Tribunal was established in 2003 by the Board of Sport and Recreation New Zealand (formerly known as SPARC, now known as Sport New Zealand) under the name of the Sports Disputes Tribunal of New Zealand. The Tribunal was established as an independent body to hear and decide certain types of disputes for the sports sector.
This was following the 2001 report of the Sport, Fitness and Leisure Ministerial Task ForceGetting Set for an Active Nation, that recommended that a sports disputes tribunal be set up which will:
"have a primary focus on national sport to assist National Sport Organisations to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles; ensure quality and consistent decision making for athletes in New Zealand sport; add credibility to the operation of elite sport in New Zealand and provide for appeals to the Court of Arbitration of Sport".
The Tribunal has been continued under the name of the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand as a result of s 29 of the Sports Anti-Doping Act 2006 (the Act). This part of the Act came into force on 1 July 2007.
The Act sets out the sorts of disputes the Tribunal can hear and allows the Tribunal to determine its own practices and procedures for performing the Tribunal’s functions under the Act.