World Rugby Handbook
APPENDIX 1. PROCEDURES AND POWERS OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS, JUDICIAL COMMITTEES, DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEES, APPEAL COMMITTEES AND APPEAL OFFICERS ("DISCIPLINARY TRIBUNAL") IN CONNECTION WITH JURISDICTION, PROCESS AND EVIDENTIAL MATTERS RELATING TO HEARINGS.
1.1 Disciplinary Tribunals constituted under these Regulations shall exercise their functions independently, including independently of (i) the parties to the Match and/or proceedings, (ii) the Unions, Associations or Rugby Bodies under whose jurisdiction responsibility falls for the relevant Match and shall not perform a legislative role in any Union, Association or Rugby Body involved in the Match and/or proceedings.
1.2 Disciplinary Tribunals shall be fully autonomous and, in particular, any decision they make shall be binding on the Player, Person, his/their national Union(s), Rugby Body(ies) and all other Unions, Associations, Tournament Organisers and their constituent bodies, none of whom shall have the power to affirm, revoke or alter any decision.
1.3 The standard of proof on all questions to be determined by Disciplinary Tribunals shall be the balance of probabilities unless otherwise specified in a particular Regulation. Disciplinary Tribunals shall have no discretion in this regard.
1.4 Unions, Associations and Disciplinary Tribunals shall be entitled to publish as they think fit reports of their proceedings, findings and penalties and in the case of such bodies appointed by World Rugby, such publication shall be made through World Rugby. No member of a Disciplinary Tribunal shall comment to the media on a decision of that body.
1.5 Disciplinary Tribunals shall have absolute discretion in imposing orders as to the payment of costs in relation to any proceedings including the cost of holding the hearings, interpretation and legal costs, travel and accommodation costs of the members of the Disciplinary Tribunals and/or any other expenses necessary for the proper conduct of the hearing.
1.6 All hearings shall take place in private.
1.7 Disciplinary Tribunals:
(a) shall be entitled to adjourn and/or postpone proceedings;
(b) shall be entitled to determine whether witnesses that give evidence are able to remain within the room in which the matter is being heard after their evidence has been given;
(c) may direct that an interpreter be present to partake in the proceedings;
(d) shall be entitled to call on experts to provide specialist advice;
(e) shall be entitled to be assisted by a legal advisor;
(f) shall deliberate in private on their decisions.
1.8 The non-attendance of a party at a hearing and/or preliminary hearing in respect of which that party has received notice shall not prevent the matter being dealt with in their absence.
1.9 A decision of a Judicial Committee, Disciplinary Committee or Appeal Committee shall be valid if taken by at least a simple majority of the members of the Committee. No member of the Judicial, Disciplinary or Appeal Committee may abstain from any decision. Where a Committee has an even number of members and they are unable to reach a unanimous or majority decision then the Chairman of the Judicial, Disciplinary or Appeal Committee shall have a casting vote.
1.10 Any procedures, findings or decisions of Disciplinary Tribunals pursuant to disciplinary processes under these Regulations shall not be quashed or invalidated by reason only of any departure from the procedural Regulations, defect, irregularity, omission or other technicality unless such departure, defect, irregularity, omission or technicality raises a material doubt as to the reliability of the findings or decisions of these bodies or results in a miscarriage of justice.
1.11 Hearings by Disciplinary Tribunals shall, unless otherwise specified in the Regulations, ordinarily be heard in the country where the disciplinary proceedings originated or at a convenient venue nominated by World Rugby, Host Union or Tournament Organiser as appropriate. In appropriate circumstances technology may be employed to assist the process.
1.12 Hearings by Disciplinary Tribunals (save for private deliberations) may be fully audio or audio-visually recorded or by a stenographer. The record of proceedings and all papers associated with the proceedings shall be held for a suitable period by World Rugby, Union or Tournament Organiser under whose jurisdiction the hearing took place and who shall promptly make the same available to World Rugby if it requires.
1.13 In respect of any matter not provided for in this Regulation 18, Appendix 1, the appropriate body or person shall take a decision according to general principles of natural justice and fairness.
2. Judicial Committees and Judicial Officers - Power to Regulate their Own Procedures
2.1 The procedure of Judicial Committees or Judicial Officers in all proceedings shall be as the appointed Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer shall determine in each case. However, subject to the power to regulate its own procedures, it shall:
(a) seek to conform generally with the procedures set out in Section 1 above, this Section 2 and Section 3 below; and
(b) ensure that a Player and/or Person subject to disciplinary proceedings has a reasonable opportunity to be heard and be informed of the charge(s) and to present his case.
2.2 The Chairman of the Judicial Committee and the Judicial Officer shall be entitled to determine pre-hearing procedural and/or evidential matters. Such matters may include:
(a) a pre-hearing conference convened for the purposes of giving directions for the hearing and clarification of the procedures; and
(b) the requirement for any person to attend the hearing as a witness.
For the purposes of pre-hearing case management the Chairman of the Judicial Committee may exercise this function without reference to the other Judicial Committee members.
2.3 The Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer shall endeavour to ensure that disciplinary proceedings are heard in the presence of the Union, Player and/or Person who is the subject of the proceedings. Nothing in the Regulations, or otherwise, shall prevent a Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer hearing and determining disciplinary proceedings in their absence where the Union, Player and/or Person concerned (and/or their representatives) do not attend the hearing. However hearings may only be held in the absence of any of the parties if those parties have first been given the opportunity to attend and have declined the opportunity without reasonable excuse or consented to a hearing in absentia. In such circumstances the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer may take any written representations into account in making its decision.
2.4 If a member of a Judicial Committee or a Judicial Officer is unwilling or unable, for whatever reason, to hear the matter referred to them then World Rugby, Host Union or Tournament Organiser may, at its discretion:
(a) appoint another member to the Judicial Committee as a replacement;
(b) appoint a new Judicial Officer or appoint a new Judicial Committee;
(c) allow the remaining members of the Judicial Committee to hear the matter; or
(d) appoint a Judicial Officer to take the place of the Judicial Committee.
2.5 Where a disciplinary hearing is pending, a Player may, prior to the hearing, be required by the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer to:
(a) supply it or him with full particulars of the case that will be presented on the Player’s behalf at the hearing and any witnesses intended to be called by the Player;
(b) provide it or him with copies of any documents or reports that may be relied on by the Player at the hearing`; and
(c) comply with such directions as shall be considered appropriate by the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer at, or prior to, the hearing.
3. Judicial Committee and Judicial Officer - General Procedures
3.1 The general procedures relating to proceedings of Disciplinary Tribunals set out in Sections 1 and 2 above shall apply.
3.2 Any Union, Player, Person and/or Connected Person who is required to attend a hearing to answer charges or allegations shall be entitled to be represented at the hearing including by a Union representative and/or by legal counsel.
3.3 The Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer shall be entitled to receive such evidence and in such form as it thinks fit (including evidence in writing), notwithstanding the evidence may not be legally admissible and shall be entitled to attach such weight to that evidence as it/he sees fit.
3.4 First-hand accounts from persons present at the hearing as to their observations of the incident in question are to be preferred. Hearsay evidence may be accepted. However, caution will be exercised before hearsay evidence is accepted in preference to first hand evidence and generally less weight is likely to be given to hearsay evidence.
3.5 Judicial Committees or Judicial Officers should not permit the introduction of opinion evidence other than expert opinion evidence. Expert opinion evidence is only likely to be permitted when the evidence falls outside the everyday knowledge of members of the Judicial Committee or of the Judicial Officer.
3.6 Where a direction is given by a Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer it shall be the responsibility of the Union, the Player, Person or witness concerned to ensure that it is complied with, notwithstanding any travel or other arrangements that may need to be made and/or altered. In any case where a direction given by the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer is not complied with, the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer may refuse to allow the evidence of the Union, Player or Person or witness to be given in any other form.
3.7 The Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer may direct that the Union or Tournament Organiser be represented. If so, the Union or Tournament Organiser shall appear by counsel and/or by a representative at the hearing, in such capacity as the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer requires, to provide assistance to the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer in the discharge of its duties.
3.8 Offences and breaches of Regulations may be established by any reliable means, including admissions. The following rules of proof shall be applied by the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer:
(a) they shall have the discretion to accept any facts established by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction or professional disciplinary tribunal which is not the subject of a pending appeal as irrefutable evidence against the Player or Person to whom the decision relates of those facts, save only where the Player or Person establishes that the decision was contrary to the principles of natural justice; and
(b) where the Player or Person is charged with an offence and/or breach and fails or refuses without compelling justification to appear at a hearing (in person or by telephonic means) of which they have been given reasonable notice, the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer may draw an inference adverse to the Player or Person.
3.9 Unless it otherwise directs, the procedure of the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer at a hearing will be as follows:
(a) the Chairman or Judicial Officer will explain the procedure to be followed;
(b) for cases involving Misconduct or breaches of the Code of Conduct and/or Anti-Corruption and Betting Regulations:
(i) the charges will be read; and
(ii) the Player or Person will be asked to confirm if he admits that he has committed the act or acts of Misconduct or breaches of the Regulation(s) for which he is charged;
(c) for cases involving Ordering Off:
(i) the referee's report and, where applicable, the assistant referee's report shall be read;
(ii) the Player shall be asked to confirm if he admits that he has committed an act or acts of Foul Play; and
(iii) the Player will be given the opportunity to say whether or not he will seek to show that the referee's decision was wrong (and if so why);
(d) for cases involving a citing the procedures in (c)(ii) and (iii) above shall be applied, subject to such modification as the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer deems appropriate;
(e) evidence from the Player or Person if he elects to give evidence, and from any witnesses to be called will be heard; and
(f) final submissions will be heard.
3.10 For cases involving citing complaints initiated by a Citing Commissioner, Misconduct or other breaches of the Regulations, the Judicial Committee Chairman or Judicial Officer may request that a person be available to present the case and set out the basis of the citing complaint, Misconduct or other charges.
3.11 The Player or Person subject to disciplinary proceedings may admit the offence at any time in which case the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer should proceed immediately to hear submissions in relation to sanction.
3.12 Where disciplinary proceedings, however arising, are taken against more than one Player or Person as a result of incidents occurring in a Match or arising from the same incident or series of incidents, such proceedings may be heard by a Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer at the same time, provided there is no prejudice to any person against whom the disciplinary proceedings are taken.
3.13 Upon the finding of a breach of the Bye-Laws and/or Regulations Judicial Committees and Judicial Officers shall be entitled to impose such penalties and orders as they think fit which may include the penalties and orders set out in Regulation 18.6.1.
4. Appeal Committees and Appeal Officers – Power to regulate their own procedures
4.1 The Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer are entitled to receive and shall be provided with the full record of the proceedings before the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer.
4.2 An Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer shall have power to conduct and regulate the appeal proceedings as it sees fit having regard to the circumstances of the case but shall generally conform to the procedures stated in this Regulation 18, Appendix 1.
4.3 The Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer shall have the power to order that a de novo hearing in whole or in part be adopted on appeal. A de novo hearing in whole or in part would ordinarily only be appropriate where it is established that it is in the interests of justice that a re-hearing of the case in whole or in part is necessary. In the case of an appeal which proceeds in whole as a de novo hearing the procedure to be adopted, the burden of proof and all evidential and other matters shall proceed as if the hearing was a first instance hearing before a Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer.
4.4 Except where an appeal proceeds in whole or in part, and then only with respect to that part, as a de novo hearing and subject to clause 3.3 above, appeals and any question of fact arising on appeal will be heard and determined based on the record of the decision and the evidence received and considered by the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer.
4.5 Except where an appeal proceeds in whole as a de novo hearing it is for the Appellant to establish that the decision being challenged on appeal:
(a) was in error (either as to central factual findings or in law);
(b) in the interests of justice should be overturned;
(c) the sanction imposed was manifestly excessive or wrong in principle; and/or
(d) the sanction imposed was unduly lenient.
4.6 Except where an appeal proceeds in whole or in part, and then only with respect to that part, as a de novo hearing, appeals shall be conducted on the basis that:
(a) the evidential assessment or decision involving an exercise of discretion or judgment of or by a Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer shall not be overturned save in circumstances where the relevant findings made by the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer are manifestly wrong;
(b) the evidential assessment or decision involving an exercise of discretion or judgment of or by a Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer shall not be overturned save in circumstances where the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer applied wrong principles in the exercise of its/his discretion which has resulted in an erroneous decision being made; and/or
(c) new or additional evidence not offered before the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer shall only be considered by the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer where the party offering such evidence establishes that it was not, on reasonable enquiry, available at the time of the proceedings before the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer.
4.7 Where the Appellant appeals against the sanction and/or cost order alone, the Appellant may request that the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer review the sanction without the need for a personal hearing. The Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer may also determine that a personal hearing is not required in relation to any appeal but if it/he so wishes, the Appellant always has the right to appear and make representations in all cases in person or by way of technology or alternatively he may make representations in writing.
4.8 The Chairman of the Appeal Committee and the Appeal Officer shall be entitled to determine pre-hearing procedural and/or evidential matters. Such matters may include:
(a) a pre-hearing conference convened for the purposes of giving directions for the hearing and clarification of the procedures; and/or
(b) the requirement for any person to attend the hearing as a witness.
For the purposes of pre-hearing case management the Chairman of the Appeal Committee may exercise this function without reference to the other Appeal Committee members.
4.9 The Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer shall set a time, date and place for the hearing of the appeal which shall be notified by Rugby World, Host Union or Tournament Organiser to the Appellant(s) who has lodged the appeal.
4.10 Where a Player is suspended, provisionally suspended or had other sanctions imposed, such suspension and/or sanction shall remain in place pending the outcome of an Appeal.
4.11 If a Member of the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer is unable or unwilling, for whatever reason, to hear the appeal, then World Rugby, Host Union or Tournament Organiser through an independent process may, at its absolute discretion:
(a) appoint a replacement; or
(b) appoint a new Appeal Committee or new Appeal Officer; or
(c) allow the remaining members of the Appeal Committee to hear the appeal.
4.12 Appeal Committees and Appeal Officers shall:
(a) have the power to direct that World Rugby, Union or Tournament Organiser be represented. If so, World Rugby, Union or Tournament Organiser shall be represented by a designated disciplinary officer (or his nominee) and may appear by counsel at the hearing of the appeal in such capacity as the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer requires, to assist it/him in the discharge of its/his duties;
(b) may permit such other persons to be present at the hearing of the appeal as they see fit;
(c) in any case where a witness has been required to attend and refuses and/or fails to attend the hearing, the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer may decide whether or not to allow the evidence of that witness to be given in any other form;
(d) be entitled to determine whether witnesses that give evidence are entitled to remain within the room in which the appeal is being heard after their evidence has been given; and
(e) subject to clauses 3.3 to 3.5 be entitled to receive evidence in such form as it thinks fit (including evidence in writing), including evidence which may not be admissible in a court or tribunal and should be entitled to attach such weight to that evidence as it/he sees fit.
4.13 Save where the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer decides to hear the entire case de novo, the Appellant shall have the burden of proving that the decision being challenged should be overturned or varied.
4.14 The Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer shall have the powers ascribed to it in Regulation 18.8.1 including the power to deal with penalties and costs as set out in Regulation 18.8.1.
4.15 The decision of the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer shall be advised to the parties as soon as practicable after the conclusion of the hearing and shall be final and binding on notification to the Union, Player and/or Person. Where it considers it appropriate, the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer may deliver a short oral decision at the conclusion of the hearing (with its/his reasons to be put in writing and communicated to the parties at a later date) or it/he may reserve its decision.
4.16 Relevant parties heard by the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer shall be entitled to a copy of the Appeal Committee's or Appeal Officer’s written decision which shall be provided by the Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer as soon as practicable after it is available.
 For convenience, only Judicial Committee is referred to but the term also encompasses Disciplinary Committees established for the purposes of Regulations 17.