Jurisdiction is an interesting concept – particularly in practice. Jurisdiction simply gives one the authority to act within a certain domain; however, while it has legal roots, it is also about power and persuasion. The omission of female ski jumpers from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games was, according to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, discriminatory. However, even though the Games were on Canadian soil, the Court found that it had no jurisdiction to remedy the situation – the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the ‘Charter’), which the ski jumpers used to argue their case, did not extend to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Apparently, while the planning and staging of the Games is a governmental activity, and would be subject to the Charter, the selection of participating sports was done under the authority of the IOC, which was not within the jurisdiction of the Charter. Sport is very complex and much of that complexity is bound up in the power of jurisdiction, as illustrated in this article.
Originally published: LawNow, 2010