Arbitration CAS 2014/A/3487 Veronica Campbell-Brown v. Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) & International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), award of 10 April 2014 (operative part of 24 February 2014)
1. In order to justify imposing a regime of strict liability against athletes for breaches of anti-doping regulations, testing bodies should be held to an equivalent standard of strict compliance with mandatory international standards of testing. This is particularly important in view of the principal purpose of the WADA International Standards for Testing (IST), namely to ensure “the integrity, security and identity of the Sample”. The need for a balanced approach to a regime of strict liability, on the one hand, and strict compliance with international standards, on the other, contributes to that purpose.
2. Certain IST requirements are so fundamental to the just and effective operation of the doping control system that fairness demands that any departure should automatically invalidate any adverse analytical finding. In other words, certain IST departures will be treated as so serious that, by their very nature, they will be considered to undermine the fairness of the testing process to such an extent that it is impossible for a reviewing body to be comfortably satisfied that a doping violation has occurred.
3. The burden of proof shifts from the athlete onto the anti-doping organization when the athlete establishes facts from which a reviewing panel could rationally infer a possible causative link between the IST departure and the presence of a prohibited substance in the athlete’s sample. For these purposes, the suggested causative link must be more than merely hypothetical, but need not be likely, as long as it is plausible. This interpretation – which does not set the bar for a shift in the burden of proof to an unduly high threshold – strikes an appropriate balance between the rights of athletes to have their samples collected and tested in accordance with mandatory testing standards, and the legitimate interest in preventing athletes from escaping punishment for doping violations on the basis of inconsequential or minor technical infractions of the IST.