Getting to know Our Panel

November 01, 2018

Getting to know Our Panel

Why did you choose to specialise in sports law?

Sport has always been my passion.  I knew from a very young age that I would eventually work in sport. When I decided to pursue law (after undergraduate studies in political science and philosophy), I quickly recognized that I had to find a way to marry my passions for sport and law.

Discipline, drive, determination and perseverance, the same qualities and emotional attributes that were the founding blocks of my athletic career, have led me to where I am professionally, for which I am grateful every day.

Area of expertise?

I specialise in anti-doping. My International Sport Law Masters thesis topic was “Respecting the athlete’s rights of natural justice in disciplinary procedures under the World Anti- Doping Code”. I was then fortunate to have Dick Pound as my mentor, when WADA was just being created.

I have been working in anti-doping at the international level since 2002.  In that time, I worked with the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport and for the World Anti-Doping Agency, and in 2007, I became legal counsel in anti-doping to many international federations. I became an arbitrator in 2009 and have since actively sat on various international federation anti-doping panels (Athletics Integrity Unit, International Biathlon Union, International Powerlifting Federation, International Triathlon Union etc.), national dispute resolution panels (Sport Resolutions and Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada) and the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (sitting on the CAS Anti-Doping Division at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics).

Whilst anti-doping is my area of expertise, as a general sport law practitioner and arbitrator, I have also dealt with selection, carding, harassment, transfer, legislative interpretation and procedural disputes.

That is the beauty of sport law, it encompasses so many different facets.

Which sport dispute case have you found the most interesting and/or inspiring, and why?

I can’t pin point a specific case. In the past decade I have drafted over 130 international level decisions and been involved in countless sport disputes.

Because of the unique issues inherent to every sport dispute, be it regulatory, procedural, financial, personal, medical, the most important thing is granting every dispute the same level of significance and importance as that held by its parties.   

I find most sporting disputes interesting because they typically encompass so many different legal issues.

What are the key developments and legal issues to watch in 2019?

The Olympic Movement is in a state of flux; anti-doping remains a hot topic particularly in anticipation of the revised World Anti-Doping Code as well as in light the ongoing arguments and conflicting opinions arising out Russian compliance, or lack thereof.

I also think that procedural issues and more specifically all questions surrounding the protection of parties’ rights to natural justice will, quite rightly, continue to take on greater importance and likely be at the core of many sporting disputes and noteworthy awards in 2019.

Favourite sport(s)?

I am an athlete, an endorphin junkie and a sport fanatic; yes, the sports section is always the first I read in the morning paper!

So, I love to watch, follow, compete and practice many sports.

That said, tennis remains my favourite summer sport (to play and watch); downhill skiing is my favourite winter sport (with Nordic-skiing not far behind); and, in between seasons, I bike, swim, run and spin!

Any tips for people looking to follow in your footsteps? 

Be yourself. Accept that you will make mistakes along the way. Never stop learning and growing both personally and professionally. Embrace the challenges, big and small. Love what you do.


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Author Biographies

Janie Soubliere

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Janie SoubliereArbitrator

Janie competed in NCAA division 1 Tennis in College. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences (Philosophy and Political Science), a Bachelors Degree in Common Law, was called to the Law Society of Upper Canada Bar in 2002 and holds a Masters in International Sport Law. Further to working as Legal Manager at WADA she became and remains Legal Counsel and Consultant in anti-doping to international sporting federations. Her legal practice now also focuses on arbitration - sitting on numerous international and national sport dispute resolution panels including among others CAS, Sport Resolutions, SDRCC, AIU and IBU.  Janie has taught Sport Law at Carleton University, acted as athlete-agent to Canadian athletes, is an Executive Board member of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and is a co-founding member of WISLaw (Women in Sport Law).  She is happily married and resides in Montreal Canada.

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