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About JCA

Judicial Control Authority

The JCA is an independent statutory authority constituted under the Racing Act. The JCA ensures that judicial and appeal proceedings in thoroughbred and harness racing are heard and decided fairly, professionally, efficiently, and in a consistent and cost effective manner.

The JCA has no role to play in the investigation and prosecution of breaches of the Rules. Those tasks are undertaken by stipendiary stewards and racecourse inspectors employed by the Racing Integrity Unit. The role of JCA personnel is strictly adjudicatory. They do not initiate inquiries. They are the independent judges.

The JCA has operated since 1996 and has become a recognised and integral part of the administration of horse racing in New Zealand. The current focus of the JCA is on contributing to consumer confidence in the racing product.

To do that, the JCA is concentrating on improving the rigour of its training programme, maintaining a critical mass of experienced personnel, and becoming more transparent in the way it operates.

The most important outcomes of effective judicial control of horse racing are consumer confidence in the racing product and market faith that the racetrack performances from which value is added to bloodstock are true and reliable indicators of each horse's athletic ability. Judicial control of horse racing also ensures that the inherent risks to the safety of horse and rider are effectively managed and minimised.

The Rules of Racing and the Rules of Harness Racing set out the powers and functions of Judicial Committees and Appeals Tribunals appointed by the Judicial Control Authority.

Approximately one in every seven races results in an Information being filed with a Judicial Committee alleging a breach of the Rules or initiating a protest.

Charges adjudicated on by Judicial Committees include careless driving, careless riding, causing interference, and excessive use of the whip. Penalties that may be imposed include suspension of licences, disqualification, and fines.

In harness racing, one in every 16 races, approximately, results in a protest. In thoroughbred racing the rate is much lower at one protest in every 52 races, approximately.

In thoroughbred racing, almost all protests arise from incidents of alleged interference, whereas in harness racing there are additional grounds for protests, such as horses breaking from their proper gait.

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