The protection of fundamental human rights in sport has increasingly been at the forefront of public consciousness over recent years. The response from the sport sector has been a number of measures that purport to bolster its own human rights credentials, with a number of key governing bodies taking steps to implement principles of international human rights law through soft regulation and institutional initiatives. With access to remedy representing a key pillar of human rights protections, however, the extent to which these measures can be enforced via third party adjudication is key to understanding the effectiveness of these developments. This article makes two key assertions. First, that the current system for adjudicating human rights complaints in sport lacks cohesion, effectiveness and credibility; it is consequently a ‘phantom regime’. Second, it will argue that the best means of addressing the accountability gap created by this phantom regime is through a closer alliance with principles of public international law—it will then proceed to examine the case for a specialist Court of Arbitration for Sport and Human Rights. In doing so, it will seek to emphasise the value of a functional adjudicatory system to the overall effectiveness of human rights protections in sport, and consider how best this objective might be achieved.
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At this point it should be acknowledged that the primary concern of this article is to assess the availability of adjudication in its broadest sense, and not the distinction between different types of adjudication. In particular, arbitration and judicial settlement—two forms of dispute settlement that fundamentally involve the same processes, albeit carried out by bodies that are constituted differently—shall be treated as substantively equivalent for these purposes.
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West, D. Revitalising a phantom regime: the adjudication of human rights complaints in sport. Int Sports Law J 19, 2–17 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40318-019-00147-6
- Human rights
- Access to remedy
- Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
- Judicial remedy
- International courts and tribunals
- Public international law
- United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs)