The BHA has thorough procedures and dedicated resources in place to monitor compliance with the Rules of Racing and to deal with potential breaches in a way that ensures the individual has the right to defend themselves in front of a fair, impartial panel.
Breaches of the Rules of Racing which happen on a raceday are usually dealt with at a Stewards Enquiry. Participants wishing to appeal the Stewards’ decision can request that their case is heard by the Disciplinary Panel. Alternatively, Stewards may decide that a case should be referred to the Disciplinary Panel.
In addition, the Disciplinary team reviews races already run to check for possible breaches of the Rules of Racing. Any case which may have been missed on the racecourse can be re-opened.
In all of these cases, BHA’s Disciplinary team will handle the case, and present BHA’s position to the Disciplinary Panel.
Off the racecourse
Other breaches of the Rules of Racing are usually investigated by BHA’s integrity team. Common breaches include:
- Positive tests for medication or doping substances
- Corruption or improper use of inside information
Once the Integrity team has investigated the case, it is handed to BHA’s Compliance team. They conduct a full review of all of the evidence to decide if the individual has a case to answer for a breach of one or more Rules. A Disciplinary Officer is involved throughout each case to ensure that BHA doesn’t act outside its remit or act unfairly in any way.
Disciplinary Panel hearings
The Disciplinary Panel procedures allow for a fair, impartial hearing for the charged individual. The BHA must first set out its case, with supporting evidence, against the charged individual. The individual is allowed a reasonable period of time to prepare their case and respond. At the hearings, the individual makes their case, bringing their own evidence or witnesses in support. They can be legally represented.
The Disciplinary Panel will then determine whether there has been a breach of the Rules, and what the appropriate penalty will be. This could be a financial penalty, the suspension or withdrawal of a rider or trainer’s licence or an owner or stable staff’s registration, or the exclusion of an individual from all BHA licensed premises and restriction on associating with other licensed or registered persons (“warned off”).
Decisions of the Disciplinary Panel can usually be appealed to the Appeal Board, unless they are decisions made on appeal from a Stewards Enquiry.