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This subject provides a critical examination of the development and current scope of sports bodies’ duty of care to participants, as relevant to athlete welfare, wellbeing and safety. It will focus on the federal and Victorian jurisdictions but will also be informed by international and comparative perspectives.
This subject is taught by former Olympian Tal Karp and Australian Institute of Sport's Richard Redman (Manager, Conduct & Professionalism). Both are highly qualified and experienced lawyers.
Principal topics will include:
- A working definition of the meaning and scope of duty of care and athlete welfare in sport;
- An analysis of the framework and key features of federal and state legislative provisions relevant to sports bodies within a duty of care context, including the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and the Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth);
- Debates regarding the meaning of equality, discrimination and other contested concepts such as “athlete wellbeing”, especially as it relates to high performance athletes;
- An examination of the general member protection provisions in federal and state law pertinent to sports bodies and particularly as relating to children;
- The application of occupational health and safety law to sport;
- An examination of human rights law compliance within the sports sector in Australia both at state and federal level;
- Conciliation, dispute resolution and alternative remedies for athlete grievances with a sporting body;
- The potential for future developments in the field.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules;
- Have an appreciation of sports bodies' duty of care and athlete welfare in a comparative international and human rights context;
- Be an engaged participant in the debate regarding the emerging and contemporary expectations on sports bodies towards participants and including those of an ethical, medical and legal nature;
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to sports bodies' duty of care and athlete welfare, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy;
- Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of sports law generally;
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles of Australian law within the context of sport, including recent developments in this field of law and practice;
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information relating to sports bodies' organisational duty of care to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences;
- Have an advanced understanding of situations in which issues of potential breaches of a sport's duty of care may arise pertaining to athlete well-being and safety in personal or work relationships and management practices.
On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills:
- Mastery of both the principal practical areas of concern and the underpinning theoretical concepts of sports bodies' organisational duty of care towards athletes and including their wellbeing, welfare and safety;
- Expert, specialised cognitive and technical skills for critical and independent thought and reflection in this aspect of sports law and practice;
- Mastery of technical research skills relevant to sports bodies' organisational duty of care;
- Expert, specialised cognitive, creative and technical skills to solve problems, including through the critical evaluation of research relevant to athlete welfare and including the legal implications of athlete-participant safety; and
- The ability to expertly communicate specialised and complex information, ideas, concepts and theories relevant to sports bodies' organisational duty of care towards all athletes – elite, amateur and children.
Last updated: 12 November 2022