Independent Hearing Panel

The Independent Hearing Panel (IHP) has a general jurisdiction on cases arising from the BWF Statutes. The IHP acts as a first instance hearing panel for Integrity and Ethics cases, and as an appeal panel for Sports cases and for Continental Confederation governance cases (Article 7.5 of the Judicial Procedures).

The IHP is a pool of no fewer than seven members who may be called upon to serve on hearing panels.


Independent Hearing Panel Members

  • Mr James Kitching (AUS) – President
  • Ms Sylvia Schenk (GER) – Deputy President
  • Mr Enric Ripoll (ESP)
  • Ms Yuri Yagi (JPN)
  • Dr Ghada Darwish (QAT)
  • Mr Vincent Denonville (BEL)
  • Prof. Steve Cornelius (RSA)

Profiles of the External Judicial Experts Group

Mr James Kitching – President

James Kitching is an experienced senior executive in the sports industry, specialising in governance, regulation, strategy, integrity, and education. He currently operates a boutique consultancy, The FC, which advises the global sports industry on these matters.  His CV includes senior roles at FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation, board memberships in sports federations and sports technology companies, and several sports tribunal appointments.

James currently serves and has served as a member of several disciplinary and judicial panels of international and national sports federations. As advocate, he has acted both for and against sports federations in disciplinary proceedings.

Ms Sylvia Schenk – Deputy President

An attorney at Herbert Smith Freehills in Frankfurt, specializing in compliance and sports law, and a Court of Arbitration (CAS) Arbitrator since 2007, Ms Sylvia Schenk is an adviser and board member in a wide range of organisations.

Among other roles, Sylvia Schenk is the Chair of the Working Group Sport, Transparency International Germany (since 2014); is a Board Member of the German Olympic Academy (since 2007); a Member of the Advisory Board on Data-Protection of Deutsche Bahn AG (since 2011); a Member of the INTERPOL Standing Committee on Ethical Matters (since 2016) and a Member of the Independent Human Rights Advisory Board of FIFA (since 2017).

Sylvia Schenk was a Member of the board of the National Olympic Committee for Germany (1994 to 1997); a Member of the Executive Committee of the International Cycling Federation (Union Cycliste Internationale – UCI) (2000 – 2005); the President of the German Federal Cycling Association (Bund Deutscher Radfahrer e.V. – BDR) (2001 – 2004); a Board Member of the German Chapter of Transparency International (2006 – 2013 and Chair 2007 – 2010) and Senior Advisor for Sport, Transparency International (2006 – 2014).

Dr Ghada Darwish

Dr Ghada is a Qatari Cassation lawyer specialised in Corporate, Sports and Arbitration law. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of her own law firm in Doha – Dr Ghada M. Darwish Karbon Law Firm.

Within sports, Dr Ghada has been appointed as an Arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne Switzerland (CAS/TAS). She is also an Arbitrator at the Qatar Sports Arbitration Foundation, Doha, Qatar (QSAF). Dr Ghada also holds an Arbitrator’s position with National Sports Arbitration Tribunal, Kuwait (NSAT) as well as with the Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration, Doha, Qatar (QICCA). She accomplished her Doctorate in Public Law (PhD) in 2018. She has an Executive Masters in Sports Law (LL. M) from Universitat de Lleida Spain, another Executive LL. M in Sports from Qatar Olympics Academy, a Master’s Degree (LL.M) in Public Law and a Bachelor’s Degree (LL.B) in Sharia and Law.

Mr Enric Ripoll

Mr. Ripoll is a Spanish certified Attorney offering expert legal counsel and representation to Athletes, Clubs and governing bodies of Sports with 15 years of experience in litigation and dispute resolution.

With expertise in mediation, arbitration and settlement negotiation, Mr. Ripoll has advised his clients before International Federations such as ITF, World Athletics, FIFA, UEFA, AFC, CONMEBOL, International Tribunals such as BAT and CAS and before several national authorities in procedures regarding Ethics, Doping, Disciplinary, Licensing, or Employment  disputes. He participates as Lecturer and Professor in several sports law programs in Universities around the world and is author and coauthor of several papers and articles specialized in sports law.

He was selected among the World’s leading Sports & Entertainment lawyers by the British publication Who’s Who Legal, since 2018 and Appointed as Global Thought Leaders by the same publication’s independent research in the inaugural edition of WWL: Thought Leaders – Sports 2021.

Ms Yuri Yagi

Ms Yuri Yagi is a Japanese certified Attorney and a sports lawyer, specializing in compliance and sports law.

Among other roles, Yuri Yagi is an Arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), a member of the Nominations Committee of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), a member of the Ethics Committee of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), a member of the Special Committee Against Violence and Harassment in Sports (Safeguarding Investigator) of the Japan Sports Council (JSC), and a Board Member of the Japan Equestrian Federation (JEF). She served as an arbitrator of the Japan Sports Arbitration Agency (JSAA) from 2012 to 2020. She also worked as a JSAA overseas researcher from 2020 to 2021.

Prof Steve Cornelius

Prof Steve Cornelius is a Professor at the University of Pretoria, where he is also Co-director of the Centre for Sports Law in Africa. He was also the Director of the University of Johannesburg Centre for Sport Law.

Before joining academia, Prof Cornelius served for more than a decade in the South African Department of Justice. There he played a key role in the drafting of regulations required for the establishment and functioning of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Human Rights Commission and the Special Investigating Unit.

Prof Cornelius serves on the editorial advisory boards of the International Sports Law Journal and International Sports Law Review Pandektis. He further served a term on the Scientific Committee of the International Association for Sports Law and is a fellow of the Southern African Association of Arbitrators.

Prof Cornelius is also a member of the Independent Doping Hearing Panel of the South African Institute for Drug-free Sport and served a term as independent non-executive director on the board of Cricket South Africa. While on the Board, he chaired the Social and Ethics Committee and was acting chair of the Finance Committee. He is a former member of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the International Association of Athletics Federations (now World Athletics).

He is the author of two books, co-author of one book, author of 15 book chapters, and has published more than 80 peer reviewed articles and commentaries on Sports Law and the Law of Contract in notable South African and international law journals.

Mr Vincent Denonville

Law graduate from background, Mr Vincent Denonville obtained an additional Master in Business Law and an Executive MBA. Vincent has more than 20 years experience in Compliance & integrity roles in the financial industry and in sports.

He has been Compliance Officer accredited by prudential regulators in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg while working in Financial institutions such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, KBC Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. He was Head of Compliance of FIFA from 2017-2020 and founded Konfidens Consulting AG in Zürich, advising corporates and sport associations on integrity and compliance programs.

Vincent is specialized in Code of Conduct, Anti bribery & Corruption, Conflicts of Interest, Anti-Money laundering, whistleblowing and Ethics in sports.

The profiles of the other IHP members will be added shortly.