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Sport jurisdiction

The term of “sport jurisdiction” subsumes three different types of procedure, which are initially independent of each other:

  • intra-federation jurisdiction, in which the bodies belonging to a federation pass judgment on a dispute falling under sports law on the basis of the federation’s code of conduct and code of judicial procedure (if any)
  • state jurisdiction, in which the civil courts pass judgment on the basis of the German Civil Code (BGB) (or of other laws) and the federations’ codes of conduct, and last but not least
  • arbitration, which – as an equivalent substitute for state jurisdiction – passes final judgment on any given dispute falling under sports law

The German Court of Arbitration for Sport

By setting up an independent court of arbitration for sport domiciled at the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS) in Cologne, the NADA has complied with its foundation mission statement. The German Court of Arbitration for Sport started work on 1 January 2008. Firstly, it safeguards independence in legal proceedings for sports and anti-doping law, something that has been proclaimed as being of supreme value by many parties. And secondly, the German Court of Arbitration for Sport guarantees fair and standardized sanctioning. Specialized expertise is assured by an appropriate selection of arbitrators, who can draw upon extensive experience in sports legislation. The Court of Arbitration for Sport constitutes the national equivalent to the International Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). It can effectively lighten the federations’ workload in regard to handling the complex circumstances involved in doping issues and other disputes falling under sports law.

The Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS)

In addition to the option of lodging an appeal at an ordinary court of law, "genuine" arbitration assumes an ever-more-important role, for the reasons mentioned above. By setting up the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, an institution was created that in "bypassing" state jurisdiction is in a position to pass final judgment on disputes relating to sports issues. Not only has the foundation of the CAS led to a progressive renouncement of state jurisdiction, it was simultaneously the signal for the emergence of further courts of arbitration on a national level as well.

You will find further information on the CAS' remits, the rules of procedure and currently ongoing proceedings under http://www.tas-cas.org.

The Court of Arbitration for Sports

Intra-federation jurisdiction / Lodging an appeal at an ordinary court of law

Intra-federation jurisdiction usually represents the first stage of proceedings, where the athlete (or also a third party) must answer to a body of the federation for a violation of sporting rules, such as anti-doping rules. These federation bodies are often called (rather misleadingly) "courts of arbitration" but must usually not be regarded as a "genuine" court of arbitration within the meaning of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The code of judicial procedure of the sport federation concerned will usually also provide for the possibility of appealing against a ruling of this federation body at the next-higher "federation court". In contrast to the judgments and arbitration awards ruled upon by the other two sport jurisdictions, these rulings are not unappealable, since they can be contested at the very least at an ordinary court of law. 

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Delimitation of federation jurisdiction and arbitration

Lodging an appeal at an ordinary court