The Chief Justice of the Niue High Court, Judge Coxhead has handed down his decision on the court application filed by Niue Lawn Bowls to review NISCGA decisions to suspend Niue Lawn Bowls from the national sports body and the selection of the lawn bowls team to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The Niue Lawn Bowls filed an urgent application before the Niue High Court which was heard via a zoom court hearing on Wednesday this week.
The application contained two matters seeking the Court’s ruling on the suspension of Niue Lawn Bowls from the NISCGA national sports association and also seeking the court’s ruling on the legality of the selection of the Lawn bowls team for the commonwealth games by NISCGA.
BCN news received a copy of the judgement. On the matter of the suspension of Niue Lawn Bowls from NISCGA, Judge Coxhead ruled “..the suspension of the applicant by Niue Island Sports and Commonwealth Games (NISCGA) violated the rules of natural justice and is therefore null and void;”
On the matter of the selection of the Lawn Bowls team as part of Team Niue to the Birmingham Commonwealth games, Judge Coxhead ruled the NISCGA’s unilateral selection of the team had gone beyond its authority without consulting with the respective sports code Niue Lawn Bowls. Judge Coxhead’s ruling stated NISCGA had acted ‘ultra-vires Articles 3H and 4B of the NISCGA Constitution and therefore its unilateral selection of the Niue Lawn Bowling team for the Commonwealth Games 2022 is null and void’.
In a statement to BCN News, Niue Lawn Bowls President Des Hipa said the “This has been a difficult time for all the Niue Lawn Bowls members, myself as the President and our Executive as it has indeed put unnecessary strain and stress on all involved but more importantly so our lawn bowls athletes.
Des Hipa says that “Under the rules of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), because the deadline of 29 June for final team naming has passed, that it’s only NISCGA that can request an extension of time for Lawn Bowls to be represented at Commonwealth Games 2022. Once extension is approved by CGF, Niue Lawn Bowls in agreement with NISCGA will confirm the rightful endorsed authorized team as as put forward by Niue Lawn Bowls President and Executive in order to ensure all athletes selected are eligible and able to represent Niue in the sport of lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games 2022. Failing this there will be no Lawn Bowling team participating at Commonwealth Games 2022 which will be devastating.”
In making his decision Judge Coxhead said that “In considering the evidence and submissions that has been presented, it appears that underlying this application are issues of: funding; team selection; athlete eligibility; relationships between individuals involved in sports in Niue and NISCGA and issues of communications between parties. These are clearly issues of fairness, fairness of process and natural justice.”
Des Hipa confirmed that the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and World Bowls will be notified of the Niue High Court decision.
He said that “This decision is welcoming as it not only ensures protection of our Niue Lawn Bowls management and administration of our sport but also that of other sports codes and more importantly ensures that NISCGA follows fairness, fairness of process and natural justice in its working relationship with all sports codes on Niue.”
Attempts to reach NISCGA President Maru Talagi and Executive members were unsuccessful.
The Niue team to the Birmingham games was officially announced last week and the Niue-based athletes and officials are scheduled to leave the island on the 11th of July.