General Information History of the CAS


1. The Code of Sports-related Arbitration of 22 November 1994

Since 22 November 1994, the Code of Sports-related Arbitration (hereinafter: the Code) has governed the organisation and arbitration procedures of the CAS. The­ Code was revised in 2003 in order to incorporate certain long-established principles of CAS case-law or practices consistently followed by the arbitrators and the Court Office. The latest version of the Code of Sports-related Arbitration entered into force on 1 January 2010. The 70-article Code is divided into two parts: the Statutes of bodies working for the settlement of sports-related disputes (articles S1 to S26), and the Procedural Rules (articles R27 to R70). Since 1999, the Code has also contained a set of mediation rules instituting a non-binding, informal procedure which offers parties the option of negotiating, with the help of a mediator, an agreement to settle their dispute.

The Code thus establishes rules for four distinct procedures:

  • the ordinary arbitration procedure;
  • the appeals arbitration procedure;
  • the advisory procedure, which is non-contentious and allows certain sports bodies to seek advisory opinions from the CAS;
  • the mediation procedure.

There are two classic phases to arbitration proceedings: written proceedings, with an exchange of statements of case, and oral proceedings, where the parties are heard by the arbitrators, generally at the seat of the CAS in Lausanne.

The mediation procedure follows the pattern decided by the parties. Failing agreement on this, the CAS mediator decides the procedure to be followed.


2. The International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS)

The ICAS is the supreme organ of the CAS. The main task of the ICAS is to safeguard the independence of the CAS and the rights of the parties. To this end, it looks after the administration and financing of the CAS.

The ICAS is composed of 20 members who must all be high-level jurists well-acquainted with the issues of arbitration and sports law.

Upon their appointment, the ICAS members must sign a declaration undertaking to exercise their function in a personal capacity, with total objectivity and independence. This obviously means that in no circumstances can a member play a part in proceedings before the CAS, either as an arbitrator or as counsel to a party.

The ICAS exercises several functions which are listed under article S6 of the Code. It does so either itself, or through the intermediary of its Board, made up of the ICAS President and two vice-presidents, plus the two presidents of the CAS Divisions. There are, however, certain functions which the ICAS may not delegate. Any changes to the Code of Sports-related Arbitration can be decided only by a full meeting of the ICAS and, more specifically, a majority of two-thirds of its members. In other cases, a simple majority is sufficient, provided that at least half the ICAS members are present when the decision is taken. The ICAS elects its own President, who is also the CAS President, plus its two Vice-presidents, the President of the Ordinary Arbitration Division, the President of the Appeals Arbitration Division and the deputies of these divisions. It also appoints the CAS arbitrators and approves the budget and accounts of the CAS.


3. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

The CAS performs its functions through the intermediary of arbitrators, of whom there are at least 150, with the aid of its court office, which is headed by the Secretary General. One of the major new features following the reform of the CAS was the creation of two divisions: an “Ordinary Arbitration Division”, for sole-instance disputes submitted to the CAS, and an “Appeals Arbitration Division”, for disputes resulting from final-instance decisions taken by sports organisations. Each division is headed by a president.

The role of the division presidents is to take charge of the first arbitration operations once the procedure is under way and before the panels of arbitrators are appointed. The presidents are often called upon to issue orders on requests for interim relief or for suspensive effect, and intervene in the framework of constituting the panels of arbitrators. Once nominated, the arbitrators subsequently take charge of the procedure.

The 275 CAS arbitrators (2007 figure) are appointed by the ICAS for a renewable term of four years. The Code stipulates that the ICAS must call upon “personalities with a legal training and who possess recognised competence with regard to sport”. The appointment of arbitrators follows more-or-less the same pattern as for the ICAS members. The CAS arbitrators are appointed at the proposal of the IOC, the IFs and the NOCs. The ICAS also appoints arbitrators “with a view to safeguarding the interests of the athletes” (article S14 of the Code), as well as arbitrators chosen from among personalities independent of sports organisations.

Even when the CAS arbitrators are proposed by sports organisations, the fact remains that they must carry out their functions with total objectivity and independence. When they are appointed, they have to sign a declaration to this effect.

The arbitrators are not attached to a particular CAS division, and can sit on panels called upon to rule under the ordinary procedure as well as those ruling under the appeals procedure. CAS panels are composed either of a single arbitrator or of three. All arbitrators are bound by the duty of confidentiality and may not reveal any information connected with the parties, the dispute or the proceedings themselves.


Organisation of the CAS from its creation until 1994

The 1994 reform

The Paris Agreement




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