General process for proceedings
The Tribunal will establish the facts of a dispute and provide each party with the opportunity to put its case and be present when the other party is stating its case.
The Tribunal will take into account the individual circumstances, needs and reasonable wishes of the parties.
The process involves five steps.
Step 1 - Application
An application form needs to be completed. (This form can be dowloaded from this website or contact the Registrar at the Tribunal’s offices).
There is an application form for each type of dispute. For example:
- Anti-Doping - Application alleging anti-doping rule violation - Form 1
- Anti-Doping - Application for provisional suspension - Form 6
- Anti-Doping - Application appealing decision to deny TUE - Form 10
- Appeal against a decision of an NSO or NZOC - Form 3
- Other sports-related dispute referred by agreement - Form 9
Step 2 - Advice of proceedings and filing of other documents
The Registrar acknowledges receipt of the application and informs the Tribunal Chairperson that an application has been received.
Generally, the Registrar will manage the communications between parties and the Tribunal.
Depending on the type of application, the parties may be required to file further documents. The Tribunal has specific forms for this purpose (see Specific types of proceedings). Each form contains information about the next steps to be taken and timeframes.
The Registrar is available to answer any questions that parties may have concerning the next steps in a proceeding.
Step 3 - Pre-hearing proceedings
The Chairperson will usually hold a pre-hearing discussion with all involved parties. This will usually be done through teleconferencing (by telephone).
Pre-hearing conferences are generally concerned with preliminary and/or procedural matters leading up to the hearing. The Chairperson can make any direction necessary for the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of the proceeding.
In some cases, the Tribunal may suggest that the parties refer a dispute – except for anti-doping proceedings – to an alternative form of resolution such as mediation. The Tribunal is able to offer mediation assistance itself in appropriate cases.
Step 4 - The hearing
The hearing is where a case is presented to the Tribunal. It follows the principles of ‘natural justice’, which means that all parties have a fair opportunity to understand the issues, to consider all the relevant material and to prepare and to present their evidence.
Hearings in anti-doping cases are confidential and not open to the public. Hearings in other types of disputes will also usually be in private unless the Tribunal decides that there are exceptional circumstances making a public hearing appropriate or the parties agree to a public hearing.
The Tribunal will consider any evidence that it thinks is relevant and may require evidence to be provided on oath or affirmation. The Tribunal has wide powers to inspect and examine documents, and can require witnesses to attend hearings and produce documents or other material for examination. The proceedings are a form of inquiry and the Tribunal may conduct its own research to gain additional information and evidence.
Each party may be accompanied by a lawyer or another person as a representative, although parties do not have to have representatives. The Tribunal will ensure that all parties will have the opportunity to fairly put their case whether or not they have a representative. Any representation will be at the cost of each party. If a party is under the age of 18, the Tribunal may appoint a representative.
The Tribunal has initiated a Legal Assistance Panel scheme where it keeps a list of contact details of experienced sports lawyers who are able to offer low cost or even free legal assistance.
The proceedings are conducted in English. If either party wishes to address the Tribunal in Maori, New Zealand Sign Language or another language, the Tribunal must be advised in advance so translation can be arranged.
After all submissions and evidence are presented (whether orally or in writing), the Tribunal will confer privately in order to make a decision.
Step 5 - The Tribunal decision
The Tribunal aims to make decisions that are not only fair and well reasoned, but also speedy and timely. Some cases, such as appeals against not being selected for a New Zealand team, will often require urgency. If appropriate, the Tribunal may make an oral decision at the end of the hearing.
In some cases, the Tribunal will need further time to consider the matter and will “reserve” its decision. This means it will let the parties know its decision at a later date.
The Tribunal always releases a written decision, which includes an explanation of the reasons for the decision, to all the parties.