Wedlake sees off Russian challenge to Badminton governors

Wedlake Bell has successfully defended the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after a bitter membership dispute between the sport’s governing body and the Russian Badminton Federation.

The dispute went all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the Russian team’s application to be reinstated as a BWF member was rejected.

The BWF dropped the Russian body as a member after the latter had lost its membership of the Russian Olympic Committee and accreditation by the Russian Federal Agency for Physical Culture and Sport (Rossport).

Wedlake dispute resolution partner Richard Hewitt landed the role advising the Malaysian-based BWF through the firm’s close links with Malaysian firm Kam Woon Wah & Co.

“Our commercial work with Kam Woon has been expanding and they’re the regular advisers to the BWF in Malaysia, so they recommended us for this mandate,” Hewitt said. “It was a mixture of Russian law, determining the legal status of the Russian federation, English and Malaysian law, under which the contract with the governing body was made, and Swiss law, where the case was determined.”

Hewitt called on Brick Court Chambers barrister Jasbir Dhillon for advocacy at the arbitration hearing and was assisted by Kam Woon partners Dato Sri Andrew Kam Tai Yeow and Yvonne Siew.

The Russian Badminton Federation was self-represented by chief executive Vladimir Lifshits.