Disciplinary Procedure

1. The disciplinary process will endeavour to adhere to the procedures and sanctions laid down by the RFU and Surrey RFU. The disciplinary process will follow the principles of natural justice.

2. The disciplinary process is governed by the Disciplinary Sub-Committee of Effingham & Leatherhead R.F.C. (“the Rugby Club”), whose terms of reference are available form the Club Secretary or are to be found on the Rugby Club’s website eaglesrugby.co.uk. The Disciplinary Sub-Committee consists of the Chairman of the Rugby Club (“Chairman”), Club Secretary (“Secretary”) and Director of Rugby. The Club Secretary will be the Disciplinary Officer unless an alternative appointment is made.

3. Where any event takes place or a complaint is made, internally or externally, which is connected to or associated with or incidental to any rugby related activity involving a member of the Rugby Club, which may invoke the disciplinary process of either the RFU or Surrey RFU or the Rugby Club and/or may give rise to a breach of the Rules of Rugby or the Rugby Club’s Constitution or the Code of Conduct, the Chairman of the Rugby Club (“the Chairman”) and/or Club Secretary (“the Secretary”) and Director of Rugby or a member of the Management Board or Chairman of the Section (“Section Chairman”) or Age Group Manager will appoint an individual to complete an Incident Report Form and/or draft a report on the event, as appropriate and necessary (but to include the names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses of witnesses – contact details – of who saw and/or heard what occurred). In default of the Chairman of the Rugby Club and/or Club Secretary or a member of the Management Board or Chairman of the Section or Age Group Manager being unable to make the appointment, then the Team Coach or Captain or some other responsible member of the Rugby Club who  should complete an Incident Report Form and/or draft a report. Where possible, the individual appointed to complete an Incident Report Form and/or draft a report on the event should be independent of the event.

4. The event must be reported to the Chairman and/or Secretary and/or Chairman of the Section as soon as practicable.
Note: The Secretary of Surrey RFU Disciplinary Committee must be told within 72 hours of the event taking place and be supplied with the player’s name, address, Effingham & Leatherhead RFC, date of birth and RFU registration number, if registered. The report should be made by the Chairman and/or Club Secretary.

5. The Incident Report Form, (to be found on the website at eaglesrugby.co.uk), and/or draft a report on the event must be completed in triplicate. The individual completing the Incident Report Form and/or draft a report will retain one copy. The remaining copies will be given to the Disciplinary Officer and the Chairman of the Section and/or the Chairman so that each of them has a copy of the Incident Report Form and/or draft a report on the event.

6, Where a member of the Rugby Club is subject to or is likely to be subject to a report from a referee to the RFU or Surrey RFU (or any other Constituent Body), the Disciplinary Officer will convene an Internal Disciplinary Hearing, either formally or informally, who should include the Chairman of the Rugby Club and/or Club Secretary and/or Chairman of the Section with other members of the Rugby Club, as appropriate and necessary as time and circumstances dictate, to discuss the event with the member of the Rugby Club or individual concerned, decide whether there is a prima facie case for the member of the Rugby Club or individual concerned to answer, whether a temporary sanction should be imposed and, if so what, or determine that no action be taken until the referee’s report is received (should a report be in the process of being drafted). Any temporary sanction will be taken into account at any subsequent disciplinary hearing.

7. Where any event is not subject to a referee’s report, upon receipt of an oral or written report that may give rise to a breach of a Code of Practice or the Rules of Rugby, the Disciplinary Officer may appoint a member of the Management Board to investigate the complaint. If the complaint is made orally, the Disciplinary Officer or the member of the Management Board appointed to investigate the report, at their discretion, may request the report to be made in writing before any investigation takes place. The member of the Management Board will report to the Disciplinary Officer following the investigation. It should be noted that if there is a sending off or an incident involving a player under the age of 18 or an incident involving any member of the Rugby Club, spectator or bystander (whether a member of the Rugby Club or not), the Disciplinary Officer shall have the jurisdiction to investigate.

8. The process followed thereafter will be decided by the Disciplinary Officer, Chairman and/or Secretary and/or Section Chairman in discussion with other members of the Rugby Club, as appropriate and necessary. If the situation is one where the referee’s report is awaited, on receipt of the referee’s report, or otherwise, the options can include (but is not limited to):

  • Require further investigation.
  • Convene an Internal Disciplinary Hearing.
  • Defer convening an Internal Disciplinary Hearing until some other event takes place or information is obtained.
  • Decide not to convene an Internal Disciplinary Hearing.

9. The Disciplinary Officer will direct the Disciplinary Sub-Committee to hold an Internal Disciplinary Hearing, which will take place as soon as possible following the event and a decision has been taken to hold an Internal Disciplinary Hearing, unless exceptional circumstances dictate otherwise. It will be held on a date and a place convenient to those required to attend the Internal Disciplinary Hearing, where possible. The Disciplinary Officer will appoint a Chairman of the Internal Disciplinary Panel (who will usually be the Chairman), who, will decide on the date and place that the Internal Disciplinary Panel will meet taking all relevant factors into account if no date, time or venue can be agreed upon.

10.  The Internal Disciplinary Panel will consist of three members of the Rugby Club nominated by the Disciplinary Officer (who will usually be the Chairman and/or Club Secretary, either of whom will act as Chairman of the Internal Disciplinary Panel). The remaining members of the Internal Disciplinary Panel are likely to be selected from the Coach, Age Group Manager or Captain to the Age Group concerned or team involved in the event and a representative will be a member of the Management Board. The names of the individuals on the Internal Disciplinary Panel, date time and place will be communicated to the member of the Rugby Club who is required to attend before it at the address held by the Rugby Club for the member.

11. The Chairman of the Internal Disciplinary Panel will determine the manner in which the Hearing should proceed following his appointment and communicate his decision to all interested parties taking into account Appendix 1 (Discipline Procedure Hearing). The Chairman of the Internal Disciplinary Panel will determine what evidence is to be called before the Internal Disciplinary Panel taking into account the witnesses the member wishes to call, whose decision on who will give evidence or what evidence will be given at the Internal Disciplinary Hearing will be final. It is the member’s responsibility to identify and communicate the identity of witnesses the member wishes to call to attend the Internal Disciplinary Panel. It is the member’s responsibility to organise any witnesses that he/she will give evidence before the Internal Disciplinary Panel as to fact or character to attend and/or obtain evidence to be put before the Internal Disciplinary Hearing. The Chairman of the Internal Disciplinary Panel should follow Appendix 1 (Discipline Procedure Hearing). The Internal Disciplinary Panel will hear the evidence and come to a decision. Where the Internal Disciplinary Panel decides that the member is in breach of the Rules of Rugby or the Rugby Club’s Constitution or the Code of Conduct, it will determine what penalty, if any, is appropriate. The Internal Disciplinary Panel will take into account the recommended procedure and penalties laid down in the current RFU Handbook, if appropriate, Constitution and Codes of Conduct. The options available can vary from no action to expulsion from the Rugby Club pursuant to Clause 7.15.2 of the Rugby Club’s Constitution. The decision of the Internal Disciplinary Panel will be  communicated to the member of the Rugby Club or individual who has appeared before the Internal Disciplinary Panel after the hearing has taken place and it will be confirmed in writing with a copy of the decision being sent to the Disciplinary Sub-Committee, which, in turn should report to the Management Board.

12. Where a member of the Rugby Club or individual is required to attend a Disciplinary Hearing organised by the RFU or Surrey RFU, the Club Secretary will endeavour to forward the relevant documents onto the member of the Rugby Club or individual, to include the referee’s report, will endeavour to make the member of the Rugby Club or individual is aware of his right to call any evidence that he/she may wish to call as to fact or character at the Disciplinary Hearing, will endeavour to discuss the alleged offence, explain the procedure and possible penalties with the member of the Rugby Club or individual. The Rugby Club will support the member at the Disciplinary Hearing and a representative from the Rugby Club will endeavour to be present at the Disciplinary Hearing. The Rugby Club makes no such commitment to an individual who is not a member of the Rugby Club.

13. It is the member’s responsibility to identify any witnesses to attend the Disciplinary Hearing held by Surrey RFU. The Secretary will organise statements to be taken from the witnesses, in conjunction with the member, but it is the member’s responsibility to ensure that witnesses attend any hearing that may be held by Surrey RFU or the RFU. The Rugby Club accepts no responsibility for the failure of witnesses to attend any Disciplinary Hearing. A player may not challenge the referee’s report if he has not requested the referee’s attendance in sufficient and reasonable time before the Disciplinary Hearing takes place.

14. Expenses may be paid to witnesses who are asked to attend on behalf of the member or the Rugby Club and who attends any RFU or Surrey RFU Disciplinary Hearing. The Rugby Club, at its discretion, will meet the costs imposed by Surrey RFU.

15. The Rugby Club will not support an appeal from the Surrey RFU to the RFU without the Management Board agreeing to that course of action or the Chairman and Secretary agreeing to that course of action.

16. Any decision by the Internal Disciplinary Panel can be appealed to the President of the Rugby Club provided that an Appeal is made in writing and served on the Secretary 14 days after the date on which the member of the Rugby Club receives the decision of the Internal Disciplinary Panel. The President will determine the manner in which the Appeal will be heard in his/her discretion.

17. The member may follow the procedure in the Rugby Club’s Constitution to call a Special General Meeting.

18. The Secretary will hold a current version of the Rules of Rugby, a copy of the Rugby Club’s Constitution and Codes of Practice will also be held at the Clubhouse, copies of all of which are available for inspection by request to the Secretary. The Rugby Club’s Constitution and Codes of Practice can be read on the Rugby Club’s website eaglesrugby.co.uk.

19. Any documents in connection with the Disciplinary Process should be sent to the Secretary, King George V Hall, Browns Lane, Effingham, Surrey, KT24 5ND and sent by email to <secretary email>. The Secretary should be notified by telephone at the telephone number in the Club Handbook as well.


8 January 2012
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Appendix 1

Discipline Procedure Hearing

Stage 1 – Introduction

  • Panel of 3 (one of which may also act as Secretary).
  • Referee and/or Welfare Officer as an observer, as necessary The Chairman will determine whether there should be a Prosecution Team or how the evidence should be presented. If the Chairman determines there should be a Prosecuting Team, the Prosecuting Team may consist of a Prosecuting Team Lead and one helper (not a witness of fact). The Defending Team may consist of the Defence Officer and one helper (not a witness of fact) and the accused.
  • Witnesses of Fact are people who actual saw the incident or incidents (Panel may curtail numbers if considered excessive or not adding any value to the proceedings)
  • The procedure to be followed will be outlined by the Chairman.
  • The Charge (s) will be read.
  • Witnesses will be dismissed from the hearing, until they are called by their team, to give their version of events.
  • Having given their evidence, witnesses may remain in the room, though they may take no further part in the proceedings.

Stage 2 – The Prosecution – Live Witness Statements

  • The Prosecution will give their reason for charge which can include showing photographs, video evidence (if available) and calling witnesses to give evidence.
  • The Panel can then ask questions of clarification.
  • Defence can cross-examine witness.
  • The Prosecuting Team can re-examine to clarify points.

Written witness Statements

  • These can be read but they cannot be cross examined – the panel will have to take this into account and say so in judgement.

Hearsay Evidence

  • Hearsay evidence is permitted under RFU rules but the panel have to take into consideration that it cannot be tested therefore should be given appropriate consideration.

Stage 3 – Defence Case

  • Outline of the defence.
  • Call defence witnesses and the accused
  • The Panel can then ask questions of clarification
  • The Prosecuting Team can cross examine.
  • Live Witnesses /Written Statements/Hearsay all as above.

Stage 4 – Closing Statements from the Prosecuting Team and then the Defence

  • Citing and Defence teams can then sum up their evidence by summarising what has been said by witnesses. Nothing new should be said at this stage.

Stage 5 – The Panel’s Deliberation

  • Room cleared while Panel decides.
  • Panel will make its decision on the balance of probabilities.
  • If the charge is not established, then the case is not proved and the matter is dismissed.
  • If the charge is found proven, then the matter turns to sanctions.

Stage 6 – The Sanction

  • The Defence Team or secretary will advise the panel of any previous sending’s off (date and nature if known).
  • The defence team can then address the panel further regarding past conduct and any mitigating features of the offence or action they wish the panel to take into consideration.
  • The room is once more cleared.
  • Using the RFU tariff the panel will decide the entry level based on the information they have received during the hearing.

Sanction – Aggravation/Mitigation

  • Aggravating and mitigating factors will be considered
  • Having taken account of the aggravating and mitigating factors noted above, the Panel will decide on an appropriate sanction.

Stage 7 – The Decision Communicated

  • Both Prosecuting Team and defence team are recalled to the room.
  • Normally, the Panel’s decision is be announced at this point. However, the Panel reserves for itself the right to delay announcing its decision at this point, though this will always be communicated to both parties within 14 days of the hearing.