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Sports Jursidiction

Here we explain what is meant by the procedural channels of sports jurisdiction.

The term “sport jurisdiction” includes 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 (DIS-Sportschiedsgericht)

With the formation of an independent sports arbitration court, which is based at the German Arbitration Institute (DIS) in Berlin, NADA Germany has fulfilled its foundation mandate. The German Court of Arbitration for Sport began its work on January 1, 2008 and the arbitration proceedings are based on the DIS Sports Arbitration Rules (DIS-SportSchO), which have been in force since April 1, 2016 in a revised version. Firstly, the German Court of Arbitration for Sport ensures the independence demanded by many stakeholders in sports and doping law proceedings. Secondly, the German Court of Arbitration for Sport guarantees fair and uniform sanctions. Professional competence is ensured by an appropriate selection of arbitrators with extensive experience in sports law. The selection criteria are determined by the DIS Sport Arbitration Rules. The German Court of Arbitration for Sport can effectively relieve the federations in dealing with the complex issues in connection with anti-doping disputes and other disputes under sports law.

The Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS)

Like the German Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland was founded in 1983 to pass final judgement on disputes related to sports. The establishment of CAS not only led to a progressive renunciation of state jurisdiction, but was also the initial stimulus for the emergence of further courts of arbitration at the national level. You can find more information about the remits of CAS, the rules of procedure and current procedures at www.tas-cas.org.

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

Intra-federation jurisdiction usually represents a stage in the proceedings, in which the athlete (or also a third party) must answer to a body of the federation for a violation of regulations, 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". Unlike the verdicts in state courts and awards in arbitration, the federation’s decisions are never final, as they are at least subject to appeal in state jurisdiction.