Law3645: Commonwealth Caribbean Sports Law


Jason Haynes


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Sports in the Commonwealth Caribbean is not merely a favourite pastime, but a vibrant and evolving contributor to regional economic and social development. Apart from its tangible contribution in economic terms (for example, nearly 3% of Jamaica’s GDP), sports in the Caribbean has traditionally been regarded as a uniting force that has, together with the UWI, withstood the test of time. While Caribbean governments are only now just fully appreciating the true economic significance of sports, regional sports persons have for a long time exploited the myriad opportunities presented by their participation in sport; the most recent successes being Usain Bolt, Shelly-ann Fraser-Price, Asafa Powell, Kim Collins, Otto Boldon, Brian Lara, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Raheem Sterling, Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy, amongst others.


Perhaps invariably, with the rapid explosion in sporting successes in the region, the Caribbean sporting arena has become commodified and commercialised. A spill off effect of these developments is that of juridification of sport in the region, whereby an increasing web of legal rules and principles have become intertwined in the regulation of the myriad sporting events practiced. This has led to a number of difficult questions being asked, some of which will be examined throughout this course, including:

·       Who are the major players involved in sporting contractual relationships, and what are the legal rules and principles governing these potentially conflicting relationships?

·       What legal mechanisms are currently in place to not only ensure that regional sport personnel benefit to the greatest extent possible from their hard work, but also ensure that others with less than pure motives do not exploit the commercial successes of these individuals?

·       How do the legal rules of negligence, trespass and occupier’s liability assist in the regulation of sporting relationships in an age where sporting disputes have become more commonplace, and at times, even damaging?

·       What is the proper role of the law in those situations where levels of violence, beyond that which is normally part and parcel of individual sporting contests, are perpetuated by players?

·       How does the anti-doping regime work, and to what extent are the rules contained therein fair to players who have tested positive for banned substances?

·       How are sporting bodies regulated in private and public law, and what are the limitations inherent in the way in which they are regulated?

·       How will contemporary issues relating to discrimination in sports and free movement of sporting personnel within the region be shaped by human rights and regional integration law, respectively?


While this course does not promise to provide exacting solutions to all of these vexing questions, it does, however, introduce students to the regional context, as well as legal principles and mechanisms that touch and concern these interrelated areas of interest. 

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