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Ruling On Appeal Panel Jurisdiction

Published: March 30, 2019 11:15 am ET

Last Comment: March 30, 2019 7:20 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Friday (March 29) a Judicial Review Panel issued its decision regarding a case involving the jurisdiction of the Horse Racing Appeal Panel.

In early February a three-person Judicial Review Panel heard arguments from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), contending that the Horse Racing Appeal Panel (HRAP) did not have the jurisdiction to rule over a recent case.

The HRAP ruled in favour of appellants Tammy Aspden, Linda Wellwood and Anne Shunock related to the return of purse money from a 2015 Ontario Racing Commission ruling.

The lawyer for AGCO argued in the February hearing that HRAP did not have the power to overrule the Registrar because it is inconsistent with the legislation which gives the Registrar "the power to govern, control, direct and regulate horse racing in the province, in all of its forms."

According to AGCO legal council, "The HRAP had no authority," and "Any decision made under the statutory authority is non reviewable by the Appeal Panel."

Legal Council for the Horse Racing Appeal Panel was also present, arguing that the Appeal Panel didn't waive the Rules of Racing in modifying the decision made by the Commission. In fact, he argued, the Panel acted fully within its jurisdiction.

The lawyer for HRAP pointed to wording in the Rules of Racing indicating that any person aggrieved by a ruling of the judges, the Registrar, or the governing officials may appeal a decision to the Horse Racing Appeal Panel.

Friday's ruling from the Judicial Review Panel sided with the respondents, stating the case was within the jurisdiction of the Horse Racing Appeal Panel.

"It is clear that the decision of the Registrar in this case was not made pursuant to the plenary powers granted to him under section 2 of the [Horse Racing Licence] Act. Rather, the Registrar himself was specific that the exercise of his power was being made pursuant to rules 1.09 and 6.16. By rule 24.01 of those same rules (rules made by the Commission through the Registrar) and appeal of such a decision lies to the Panel.

"That section 8 of the Act does not specifically refer to the Registrar does not render the Panel's decision unreasonable. The appeal powers under section 8 require the following: (1) That the rules of racing provide for an appeal to the panel; (2) That the appellant be a person aggrieved by the decision; and (3) That the decision in question have been made by, among others, an office or employee or the Commission.

"In the case before us, it was reasonable for the Panel to determine that all three of the requisites were met."

To view the full ruling from the Judicial Review Panel, scroll through the embedded PDF below or click here to view the document in a new window.

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March 30, 2019 - 7:20 pmFrom what I understand, there

Sheldon Rose SAID...

From what I understand, there was a positive test and the horse was disqualified. The AGCO did not want to redistribute the purse money. This took years to settle for such a small amount of money, but I’m glad that this was pursued. It would have set a terrible precedent if the appellants lost. I’m glad they won.

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