New scheme to offer legal advice to defendants in BHA cases
Individuals facing the disciplinary panel will be given the opportunity to access pro-bono legal advice and representation, which the BHA hopes will prevent any perception of an "inequality of arms" at such hearings.
The services will be provided by Sport Resolutions, an independent not-for-profit dispute resolution service for sport, and ensure those unable to access legal advice due to its cost or because they are not members of the Professional Jockeys Association or National Trainers Federation, will now be able to do so for a nominal administration fee.
Access to legal advice and representation was one of the key elements put forward in the BHA's integrity review to ensure fairness.
This opinion was reinforced by the Quinlan Review, which was launched last year to provide an independent overview of racing’s disciplinary system.
Information and contact details for Sport Resolutions will be provided to individuals charged with breaching the rules of racing, although the BHA will not be informed if these services are used.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the BHA added it will “have no involvement in the relationship between the adviser appointed by Sport Resolutions and the participant, nor knowledge of the advice that passes between them".
Catherine Beloff, director of legal and governance at the BHA, said: “It is of vital importance that there is no perception of an ‘inequality of arms’ when participants are subject to a disciplinary procedure.
“This gives an option for participants to have access to independent, experienced legal professionals for a fraction of what the cost would be otherwise.”
NTF chief executive Rupert Arnold said: "This will play a part in providing some of our members with legal representation, but if they are NTF members they can benefit from our legal expenses scheme and I think that is still going to be the main source of legal representation when trainers need it."
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