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Swiss Supreme Court: CAS jurisdiction over dispute with defaulting party and obligation to exhaust available remedies within a sports federation

14 August 2013

Authors: Nathalie Voser, Aileen Truttmann

In decision 4A_682/2012, the Swiss Supreme Court considered whether a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) tribunal had jurisdiction over a dispute where a party did not participate in the proceedings and where an internal remedy was available within the relevant sports federation.

In a French-language decision dated 20 June 2013, published on 10 July 2013, the Swiss Supreme Court confirmed that a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) tribunal had jurisdiction and denied, amongst other things, that there had been a violation of the right to be heard.

The Supreme Court considered that the general rule that the arbitral tribunal has jurisdiction if the party proceeds on the merits without disputing the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal does not apply when the party does not participate in the proceedings. However, it upheld the CAS tribunal's finding that its jurisdiction was based on a written indication given by the sports federation to the football club that the appropriate remedy to pursue was an appeal to the CAS. It also considered that the football club's failure to exhaust the available internal remedy within the sports federation did not bar the appeal to the CAS as it was merely optional.

The Supreme Court also considered that the party's right to be heard had not been violated even though it was not given the opportunity to comment on new exhibits produced at the hearing which the sports federation voluntarily decided not to attend (Decision 4A_682/2012).

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Published in Practical Law Arbitration


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