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The death of judicial review of sporting bodies in the commonwealth Caribbean

Abstract

Judicial review is the procedure by which municipal courts intervene in the affairs of public bodies to review the process by which they have arrived at decisions which adversely affect their constituents. In this connection, the decisions of public bodies may be challenged on the basis that they were arrived at in error of law, tainted by error of fact or bias, irrational, disproportionate or in breach of principles of natural justice. Although in some jurisdictions sporting bodies are amenable to judicial review, courts in England and Wales and, indeed, the Commonwealth Caribbean, have been largely consistent in finding that because of their private and largely contractual nature, their decisions are not susceptible to judicial review. This article argues that in light of the recent Court of Appeal decision of Trinidad and Tobago Football Association v FIFA, the death knell has effectively been sounded for the judicial review of sporting bodies, such that the view of Michael Beloff, Tim Kerr and Marie Demetriou in their 2012 book, Sports Law, that ‘it is not clear that the last word has been said on the subject’, has now been put to rest, at least in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Notwithstanding its recognition of the importance of the Court of Appeal’s decision in clarifying the scope of judicial review in sporting cases, this article nonetheless contends that FIFA’s sweeping Statutes, its increasingly frequent installation of Normalization Committees and its imposition of heavily punitive sanctions against allegedly recalcitrant constituent sporting federations represent legal imperialism and supranational exceptionalism.

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Notes

  1. O'Boyle and Bradbury (2013), Geeraert et al. (2014), p. 281 and Tacon and Walters (2016), p. 363.

  2. Wicker and Breuer (2014), p. 929.

  3. Chappelet (2016), p. 16, Morakinyo (2008), p. 454, Thing and Ottesen (2010), p. 223.

  4. Haynes and Marcus (2019).

  5. - ‘FIFA suspends Nigeria Football Federation on ‘government interference’ (The National 9 July 2014) https://www.thenational.ae/sport/fifa-suspend-nigeria-football-federation-on-government-interference-1.308876.

  6. www.fifa.com/governance/news/y=2015/m=10/news=suspension-of-the-kuwait-football-association-2717726.html

  7. - ‘Suspension – The Football Federation of Belize’ (FIFA, 17 June 2011) https://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/suspension-the-football-federation-belize-1454212#:~:text=Suspension%20of%20the%20Football%20Federation%20of%20Belize,-(FIFA.com)&text=The%20FIFA%20Emergency%20Committee%20decided,account%20of%20severe%20governmental%20interference.

  8. - ‘New Composition of Normalization Committee Confirmed’ (AFC Spotlight, 21 January 2021) https://www.the-afc.com/news/afcsection/new-composition-of-pff-normalisation-committee-confirmed

  9. - ‘FIFA Extends Mandate of Egyptian Normalization Committee’ (Goal.com, 28 January 2021) https://www.goal.com/en/news/fifa-extends-mandate-of-egyptian-normalisation-committee/wimlgmrzcnms19hlqm3vnv1uj.

  10. Ed Aarons, ‘FIFA appoints Normalization Committee for Haitian Football Association’ (The Guardian, 11 December 2020) https://www.msn.com/en-gb/sport/news/fifa-appoints-normalisation-committee-for-haitian-football-association/ar-BB1bRanR#:~:text=Fifa%20has%20appointed%20a%20normalisation,against%20female%20football%20players%2C%20including.

  11. - ‘Normalization Committee appoint Mohammed as General Secretary’ https://www.looptt.com/content/normalization-committee-appoint-mohammed-general-secretary (LoopTT, 17 January 2021).

  12. This refers to FIFA’s seeming extension of its legal authority into constituent members’ domestic affairs, representing a sort of power asymmetry between the weak and the strong.

  13. This refers to an attitude and practice whereby FIFA holds itself out as a model or leader in sporting good governance because of not only its statutes which serve as a pre-condition to membership, but also its unique ability to sanction members for non-compliance therewith.

  14. [1987] 1 All ER 564.

  15. Ibid 580.

  16. Anderson (2006), p. 173, Beloff (2009), p. 136.

  17. Boyes (2017), p. 363.

  18. Civil Appeal No.4235 of 2014.

  19. [2015] IESC 57 (25 June 2015).

  20. Ibid [37].

  21. [1998] 1 All E.R. 14.

  22. Ibid 19g.

  23. Nh International v Urban Development Corporation Civil Appeal No. 95 of 2005.

  24. Ibid [61].

  25. Council of Civil Service Unions and others v Minister for the Civil Service [1984]3 All ER 935 For a decision to be susceptible to judicial review the decision-maker must be empowered by public law (and not merely, as in arbitration, by agreement between private parties) to make decisions that, if validly made, will lead to administrative action or abstention from action by an authority endowed by law with executive powers, which have one or other of the consequences mentioned in the preceding paragraph. The ultimate source of the decision-making power is nearly always nowadays a statute or subordinate legislation made under the statute; but in the absence of any statute regulating the subject matter of the decision the source of the decision-making power may still be the common law itself, ie that part of the common law that is given by lawyers the label of 'the prerogative'.

  26. [1987] 1 All ER 564.

  27. Ibid 577.

  28. Ibid 564.

  29. Ibid.

  30. Ibid.

  31. Ibid 563.

  32. Ibid 565.

  33. Lewis (2002), p. 272.

  34. Civil Appeal 14 of 2014.

  35. Ibid 17 and 18 citing Clive Lewis, Judicial Remedies in Public Law (Sweet & Maxwell, 2004) 2-003 and 2-004.

  36. [1992] EWCA Civ 7 (04 December 1992) (BAILII)

  37. Ibid 11.

  38. Ibid 5.

  39. Ibid 12.

  40. Ibid 15.

  41. Ibid 16.

  42. For example, Heatley v. Tasmanian Racing and Gaming Commission [1977] 137 C.L.R. 487. See Ben Cisneros, Ben, ‘Challenging the Call: Should Sports Governing Bodies be subject to Judicial Review?’ (2020) 20(1) The International Sports Law Journal 18.

  43. [1992] EWCA Civ 7 (04 December 1992) (BAILII) 18.

  44. Ibid 18.

  45. (unreported, Queen's Bench Division, 31st July 1991).

  46. Ibid.

  47. LC 2008 HC 10.

  48. TT 1985 HC 64.

  49. Ibid 5.

  50. JM 2011 SC 56.

  51. Ibid [27].

  52. Civil Appeal No. 3 of 1999.

  53. Ibid [27].

  54. Ibid [29].

  55. [ECSC] CLAIM NO. SLUHCV 2006/0149.

  56. Ibid [58].

  57. Ibid [76].

  58. BB 1989 HC 28.

  59. Ibid 58.

  60. CV 2018-03080.

  61. Ibid [9].

  62. Ibid [15].

  63. Ibid [20].

  64. Ibid [21].

  65. Ibid [22].

  66. Claim No. CV2020-01208.

  67. Ibid [38].

  68. Ibid.

  69. Ibid [51].

  70. Ibid.

  71. Ibid [54].

  72. TTFA v FIFA Claim No. CV2020-01208.

  73. Ibid [37].

  74. Ibid [44].

  75. Barbados Cricket Association v Pierce Civil Appeal No. 3 of 1999 [27].

  76. R v Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, ex p. The Aga Khan [1992] EWCA Civ 7 (04 December 1992) (BAILII) 11.

  77. [1985] 1 LRC (Const) 359.

  78. Civil Appeal No. 14 of 2014.

  79. [ECSC] CLAIM NO. SLUHCV 2006/0149.

  80. TTFA v FIFA Claim No. CV2020-01208 [38].

  81. TTFA v FIFA Claim No. CV2020-01208 [54].

  82. [1983] 3 All E.R. 307, 308.

  83. R v East Berkshire Health Authority, ex p. Walsh [1984] EWCA Civ 6 (14 May 1984) (BAILII).

  84. Ibid 5.

  85. [1992] 2 ALL ER 249.

  86. Ibid [254].

  87. (Unreported, 31 July 1991).

  88. Ibid.

  89. R v Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club, ex p. The Aga Khan [1992] EWCA Civ 7 (04 December 1992) BAILII 16.

  90. [2015] IESC 57 (25 June 2015).

  91. Civil Appeal No. P225 of 2020.

  92. Ibid [28(iii)].

  93. Ibid [28(vi)].

  94. Ibid [37].

  95. Ibid [39].

  96. 1 Civil Court ATF (15 March 1993).

  97. Janet Boustany v George Pigott Co, Antigua and Barbuda [1993] UKPC 17.

  98. TTFA v FIFA CV2020-01208 [65].

  99. TTFA v FIFA Claim No. CV2020-01208 [52].

  100. Kayaoglu and Kayaoğlu (2010).

  101. Bradford and Posner (2011), p. 1.

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Haynes, J. The death of judicial review of sporting bodies in the commonwealth Caribbean. Int Sports Law J 22, 33–50 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40318-021-00196-w

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