The Independence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport - EIAR - Volume 1 - Issue 1
Charles Poncet - former Member of the Swiss Parliament and a Partner in the Geneva law firm ZPG.
Originally from European International Arbitration Review (EIAR)
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) is established in Lausanne (Switzerland) and provides for the resolution of sports-related disputes through arbitration. The arbitral proceedings are conducted by arbitral tribunals (“Panels”) appointed in accordance with a set of rules known as the Code of Sport-related Arbitration and Mediation Rules (“the Code”). The CAS has an Ordinary Arbitration Division (“OAD”) and an Appeals Arbitration Division (“AAD”). As the names suggest, OAD cases are ordinary disputes referred to the CAS for arbitration pursuant to an arbitration clause or a subsequent agreement of the parties, as opposed to the AAD matters, which feature appeals against the decisions of sport federations and other sport related bodies when their statutes or regulations provide for an appeal to the CAS. The latter procedure was introduced in 1994. The CAS was also empowered to issue non-binding advisory opinions (“AOs”) at the request of the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) or the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) or other international sport federations. There have been 26 such opinions issued since its inception but numbers decreased significantly from 1995 as the Code set new and more restrictive conditions to seeking an AO. From 2012, the CAS will no longer issue such opinions.
Finally, the CAS also provides mediation services, which are outside the scope of this article and in any event, are less significant than its arbitration activities.
On 1 January 2011 the CAS had 181 cases pending. It issued 186 awards in 2011 and 365 new cases were registered. Since the establishment of the CAS in 1984 2,670 arbitration proceedings have been registered.1 The “peak” year was 2008 with 311 cases but the increase has been constant since 2000. That year the CAS had 75 new arbitration requests.