RULES FOR CLUB AND LEAGUE HEARINGS
RULES OF NATURAL JUSTICE
The rules of natural justice are the minimum standards of fair decision-making imposed on persons or bodies acting in a judicial capacity. The standard of proof shall be on the balance of probabilities rather than the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt.
The rules of natural justice consist of the following elements:
(i) The right to a fair hearing.
(ii) The rule against bias.
The right to a fair hearing
The right to a fair hearing requires that an individual shall not be penalised by a decision affecting his rights or legitimate expectations unless he has been given prior notice of the case against him and a fair opportunity to answer the case against him and to produce his own case.
(a) Prior notice of the hearing
The accused person should be given adequate notice of the allegations against him and of the procedure to be followed so that he may be in an position to make representations on his own behalf, to appear at the hearing, to prepare his own case and to answer the case against him. The time and location of the hearing must also be properly notified to the reported person.
(b) Opportunity to be heard
The reported person has a right to attend the hearing and be allowed to present his case. If the Disciplinary Panel is satisfied that the reported person has been given adequate notice of the alleged breach and of the time and location of the hearing, they may allow the hearing to proceed if the reported person fails to attend. However, it may not be justifiable to proceed if the time or location fixed for the hearing is such that the person cannot reasonably be expected to attend.
The rule against bias
A person adjudicating on a dispute must have no pecuniary or proprietary interest in the outcome of the proceedings and must not reasonably be suspected, or show a real likelihood, of bias. The rule against bias also provides that a party should not normally be judged by his accuser.
CONDUCT OF A HEARING
H1 A Hearing is not a court of law and the decision of the Chairman of the Hearing on its procedure shall be final. The standard of proof shall be on the balance of probabilities rather than the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt.
H2 After receiving a complaint the League Disciplinary Chairman will notify an official of the player(s) club by telephone and email to inform them of the matter reported and of the date of the disciplinary hearing that will consider the case. The League Disciplinary Chairman will ensure the reports of the umpire or complaint are forwarded to a club official whose player(s) or team are the subject of the complaint..
H3 The League Disciplinary Chairman will appoint a panel of three persons. No-one connected with the individual or the club, or their opponents, or a club which might directly benefit from any disciplinary action (eg by the deduction of points), should be a member of the Panel.
H4 The accused person is entitled to be supported by a colleague. There is no right to legal representation but the panel would normally permit the accused person to be legally represented provided the attendance or otherwise of the legal representative is not used as a `delaying tactic' and that their attendance is notified to the League Disciplinary Chairman at least 48 hours before the hearing.
H5 In the case of a minor it is recommended that he should be supported by the club’s Child Welfare Officer or other appropriate adult.
H6 If the complaint has been made by the umpires, they should be available to give evidence at the hearing.
H7 The Panel shall agree the general procedure prior to the commencement of the hearing and the Chairman shall explain that procedure prior to the start of proceedings to all parties.
H8 The Panel will speak through its Chairman only, unless he invites others to speak.
H9 The Player/Club shall be asked if they accept the report and allegations against them. If they do, it should be possible to move to sentencing.
H10 Any reports and written evidence shall be presented and outlined.
H11 Witnesses may be called by parties involved in the hearing and they may be questioned by the Panel.
H12 The Chairman and the Panel will deal with any points arising from the testimony and evidence given.
H13 The Panel will consider their verdict in private.They will ask the defendant (s) to return to the room and the Chairman will deliver the verdict.This will be stated and later confirmed by email. The defendants will be informed by the Disciplinary Panel Chairman of their right to an appeal
A1 Notice of appeal against the decision of the Disciplinary Panel, whether as to verdict or sentence, to be given in writing to the League Disciplinary Chairman within 7 days of the decision of the Panel together with a deposit of £50.
A2 The notice of appeal should record the decision or part of the decision against which the appeal is made and the grounds and basis of the appeal.
A3 Any penalty imposed by the Disciplinary Panel should not take effect until the appeal has been heard.
A4 The appeal will be heard by a different Panel appointed by the League Chairman. The Appeal Panel must consist of three people, none of whom should be connected with the individual or the club or their opponents, or a club which might directly benefit from any disciplinary action (e.g. by the deduction of points).
A5 An appeal against the verdict will take the form of a complete re-hearing. The accused person or club shall have the same rights of attendance and representation and the ability to call witnesses as they did at the first hearing.
A6 At an appeal against the sentence, the accused person or club shall have the same rights of attendance and representation as they did at the first hearing.
A7 Decisions of the Appeal Panel shall be by majority vote with the Chairman having a casting vote where necessary. The decision of the Appeal Panel is final and binding.
A8 The Appeal Panel can confirm the Disciplinary Panel's decision, vary it or reverse it. It has the power to increase the penalty and award costs.
A9 The decision of the Appeal Panel and if appropriate the penalty will be communicated to the accused person once the Panel have concluded their deliberations. This verdict will be confirmed by email within 48 hours and will be final and binding on all parties.
A10 Any sentence will come into force.