World Rugby Regulation 17 sets out the rules, regulations and procedures with respect to discipline across all World Rugby members. These provisions are the same at all levels of the adult game. You can find a copy of Regulation 17 in the World Rugby Handbook in English (as well as French and Spanish) here.
Judicial Officers are lawyers of at least seven-years standing who are independent. They sit either alone or as chair of a three-person Disciplinary Committee featuring ex-players, coaches and referees with recent experience of the Game. Their role is to rule on disciplinary cases in accordance with Regulation 17 brought to them as a result of:
- A red card issued by a referee (or any combination of two or more yellow cards or Citing Commissioner Warnings issued in the same match);
- A citing issued by a Citing Commissioner (or a team where there is no Citing Commissioner and team citing is in operation);
- A case where a player has accumulated any combination of three yellow cards or Citing Commissioner Warnings during a tournament (or five during a series of Sevens tournaments.)
Judicial personnel may also be requested to sit as Appeal Officers or as part of an Appeal Committee in appeals arising from disciplinary cases (in which they had no prior involvement).
The criteria for Judicial Officers/Chairs of Disciplinary Committees and Disciplinary Committee members is set out in World Rugby Regulation 17.13.1(c):
“The Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer shall be a senior legal practitioner of at least seven years standing or a serving or retired judge who shall have previous experience in rugby disciplinary proceedings and an in-depth knowledge of the Game. Where a Disciplinary Committee is appointed, the remaining two members appointed by the Host Union or Tournament Organiser shall include an eminent former Player, experienced rugby administrator and/or legally qualified persons with previous experience in rugby disciplinary proceedings.”
The criteria for Appeal Officers and Chairs of Appeal Committees and Appeal Committee members is set out in World Rugby Regulation 17.13.2(b):
“The Chairman of the Appeal Committee or the Appeal Officer shall be a serving or retired Judge or senior legal practitioner of at least 10 years standing who has previous experience in rugby disciplinary matters and an in-depth knowledge of the Game. The members of the Appeal Committee or the Appeal Officer shall be from a neutral Union to the participating teams unless the participating Unions and/or teams agree otherwise in writing. Where applicable, the persons to be appointed as the two additional members of the Appeal Committee may include eminent former players, experienced rugby administrators, legally qualified persons who have previous experience in rugby disciplinary proceedings or other suitably qualified personnel.”
To ensure there is no actual or perceived conflict of interest, all judicial personnel (whether lawyers or ex-players, coaches and referees sitting as part of Disciplinary or Appeal Committees) have to comply with the independence criteria set out in the Regulations. This includes that they are independent of the Unions involved and that they do not hold any legislative role in any Union or Association (e.g., sitting on Union boards or committees).