Christopher Quinlan QC was appointed to lead a review of the structure, composition and operation of the British Horse Racing (BHA) Disciplinary Panel, Appeal Board and Licensing Committee following the Jim Best case. The resulting Quinlan review, published today, has made far-reaching recommendations in order to bring the process in line with current best practice. All of the recommendations made in the report have been accepted by the BHA, who will seek to implement them as quickly as possible.
The main recommendations, as highlighted by the BHA in its press release, are:
- Creating a new role of Judicial Panel Chairman. This will involve the appointment of a new, independent head of the BHA’s quasi-judicial functions, an enhanced leadership role, with responsibility for the Disciplinary Panel, Licensing Committee and Appeal Board, and the appointment, training and mentoring of members.
- Merging the Licensing Committee with the Disciplinary Panel to form a single disciplinary group under the leadership of the Judicial Panel Chairman.
- Increasing the size of the merged Disciplinary Panel and Licensing Committee to not less than 22, including a modest increase in legally-qualified members, under open competition, to include any suitably qualified people with sufficient knowledge of horseracing.
- Ensuring that each Disciplinary Panel hearing is chaired by a legally-qualified member, in the interests of fairness to all parties.
- Preventing raceday stewards from serving on the Disciplinary Panel while they remain active on the racecourse. Active raceday stewards will continue to serve on the Appeal Board and the Licensing Committee as that does not involve them adjudicating on the decisions of fellow stewards.
- Extending the remit of the Appeal Board so that it can, in exceptional cases, offer a de novo hearing (i.e. ‘start afresh’ with a rehearing) when considering an appeal against the decision of the Disciplinary Panel or the Licensing Committee.
The full report can be viewed here.
Christopher Quinlan QC is part of both the Sport and Regulatory Teams.