Hearings and mediation

There are two main ways a dispute may be decided or resolved.

These are by:

  • Mediation - where the parties reach agreeement with assistance
  • Hearing - where the Tribunal hears and decides the case (also called adjudication)

Below are details about each process:

Mediation (parties reach agreement with assistance)

Most disputes referred to the Tribunal are resolved by the Tribunal making a decision after a hearing. However, the Tribunal can offer mediation assistance to parties who request and agree to it.

Mediation is a process by which an independent person helps parties explore whether they can reach agreement and settle their dispute.

The Tribunal has the power to order mediation to take place if it considers it appropriate. However, the Tribunal cannot order that a dispute must be resolved through mediation. For a dispute to be resolved through mediation, the parties have to agree on the outcome.

Mediation assistance may be provided by the Tribunal or an independent person. It is not available in anti-doping cases.

Hearing (The Tribunal hears and decides a matter)

Most cases are resolved by the Tribunal deciding the matter after conducting a hearing. Disputes that go through the Tribunal for resolution are known as ‘proceedings’.

In conducting hearings, the Tribunal has to establish the facts of the dispute and ensure each party involved has a fair hearing. Each party is given the opportunity to put its case and be present when the other party is stating its case. The Tribunal then makes a decision or ‘determination’ about the facts presented.

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 Tribunal will hear evidence that it considers appropriate and may take evidence under oath or affirmation. The proceedings are a form of inquiry, and the Tribunal may conduct its own research to gather additional information and evidence.

When hearing a dispute, the Tribunal is not bound by the dispute resolution procedures of the sport concerned, but it must apply the rules and policies of that sport in regard to the subject of the dispute. For example, when it is alleged that an athlete has committed an anti-doping violation, the Tribunal must follow the doping rules applying to that athlete’s sport.

The Tribunal takes a flexible approach to each case, taking into account the individual circumstances, needs and reasonable wishes of the parties.

The length of time it takes to resolve a dispute depends on the circumstances of the case, the timetable set by the Tribunal for parties to file documents, the time required for preparation by the Tribunal, and the availability of all parties to attend a hearing. The Tribunal will always endeavour to hear and decide cases in a timely manner. In appropriate circumstances, cases may be heard under urgency.