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

Jason Haynes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33–50
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Sports Law Journal
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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