What you should know about the Sports Arbitration Court of Panama

One of the great advantages that Sports Law has over other areas of Law, is that its organs and norms have an international application. In accordance with the above, this year the Panama Olympic Committee (COP) together with the Center for Conciliation and Arbitration of Panama (CECAP) signed an agreement to implement the Court of Sports Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation of Panama (TADPAN), which is expected to start functions for this month of August which means that TADPAN will be the first arbitration court in sports law that will operate in this country.

That is why in this blog we will explain the most important aspects of this topic so that you take them into account when advising clients on sports law matters.

  1. Which body will handle arbitration disputes in Sports Law?

As mentioned above, the body in charge of dealing with arbitration issues in sports law will be the TADPAN, which is administered by the Sports Arbitration Commission (CAD) which, within its main functions, is to promote the resolution of disputes in sports matters by arbitration , mediation and conciliation, safeguard the independence of TADPAN, designate the list of TADPAN arbitrators, propose to the COP the creation of a fund with financial resources to facilitate access to arbitration, among other administrative aspects.

This point is of great relevance since TADPAN will only deal with disputes on sports law issues and through the arbitration dispute resolution mechanism.

  1. How to go to TADPAN?

By arbitration clause whereby the parties in writing submit their disputes in sports matters to the TADPAN and said arbitration is regulated under the procedure of the General Regulations of the Court of Sports Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation of the TADPAN of the COP and of the law 131 of 31 of December 2013, whereby national and international arbitration in Panama is regulated.

According to the regulations, the only instrument that will enable TADPAN jurisdiction is the existence of an arbitration clause or arbitration agreement signed between the parties, so it is important to establish in all contracts or documents concluded this compromise clause, since otherwise there will be no jurisdiction to go to TADPAN.

How will arbitrations be decided in TADPAN?

In law or in equity, according to the agreement of the parties. In case of disagreement or lack of stipulation, the arbitration will be decided by law, that is, under the legal rules applicable to the particular case. Regarding arbitrations decided in equity, it is important to highlight that they will not be studied under the norms or laws applicable to the case, but will be decided through legal principles such as pacta sunt servanda, among others.

  1. What requirements must TADPAN arbitrators meet?

They can be lawyers or people who are not lawyers. In any case, all TADPAN referees must have knowledge in Sports Law. Regarding the arbitrators lawyers, they must practice law in Panama or abroad and will have the responsibility to decide on the cases that will be processed in law. On non-lawyers, they will only decide on issues in equity and will have to comply with compliance requirements to the TADPAN regulations, be in the exercise of their civil rights and have no judicial background, among others.

The period of the arbitrators will be for 4 years and must be inscribed on the list of arbitrators of the TADPAN, which will consist of a maximum of 12 arbitrators and at least 8 who must be lawyers.

This aspect is interesting in sports law since a person who is not a lawyer but who has knowledge in the area can decide on a dispute filed with the TADPAN. Additionally, we consider this measure responsible in the sense that the right persons to decide in cases of law are only those who have the professional powers for that purpose, that is, lawyers.

  1. How will the TADPAN arbitration Courts be formed?

The Court will comply with the appointment and acceptance of the arbitrators (1 or 3), subject to compliance with the following requirements:

  • Submission of an application by the interested party of the arbitration clause and indicating the object, amount and claim of the arbitration.
  • Payment of the provision of funds for each of the parties which will be indicated by the CAD Secretariat.
  • After payment, the CAD will grant a period to the parties to designate the arbitrator (s) of the TADPAN list.
  • Upon expiration of this term and in case there is no agreement between the parties on the number and appointment of arbitrators, the CAD will designate the arbitrators and order the parties to appear.
  • If this term expires and there is no agreement of the parties on the number and appointment of arbitrators, the CAD will elect 1 arbitrator and request the appearance of the parties.
  • In the initial appearance of the parties, the designated arbitrator will be presented and in case the parties agree with this designation, the CAD Secretariat will confirm it within 3 days of the appearance.
  • If this disagreement persists between the parties and 15 days after the appearance, the CAD Secretariat will designate the number of arbitrators, taking into account the amount and complexity of the case and, in effect, will designate it.

The arbitral tribunal shall be dissolved until the award that makes transit to a res judicata is final or the parties have renounced the arbitration. In the event that the arbitrators do not resolve the assigned cases, the parties may claim directly before them the damages they may suffer from this omission.

Regarding the regulation, we highlight the possibility of the parties to claim damages to arbitrators who do not fulfill the function of deciding the assigned cases.

We consider this a great aspect in favor of the parties so that in urgent cases there are no unjustified delays on the issuance of the awards.

Will TADPAN arbitration be a good tool?

We believe that the implementation of TADPAN arbitration to resolve litigious issues of sports law represents a great advance for the exercise of this area in Central America.

It could also represent legal certainty for clubs, athletes and other people involved in sports law in Colombia who can go to this mechanism, in the sense that in the country we do not have such an important specific tool in the area and it could also mean a mechanism favorable to counteract the great problems that our countries have to resort to the Court of Sports Arbitration (TAS, for its acronym in French) based in Lausanne, Switzerland, especially for its remoteness, little knowledge of the reality facing our countries and the very high economic expenses that are generated.

 

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