27th January 2020, 07:49 | oprules

HHJ Sarah Wright becomes first female Chair of RFL Operational Rules Tribunal

HHJ Sarah Wright becomes first female Chair of RFL Operational Rules Tribunal

Her Honour Judge Sarah Wright will join the Rugby Football League’s Operational Rules Tribunal Panel in 2020.

Sarah replaces His Honour Peter Charlesworth, who stepped down from the ORT Panel at the end of the 2019 season after 26 years of service – for which he has been added to the RFL’s Roll of Honour.

She joins His Honour Rodney Grant, His Honour Judge Chris Batty, and His Honour Judge Guy Kearl QC to provide the necessary legal expertise as chairs of the Operational Rules Tribunal, which also draws from a panel of former players alongside other qualified personnel to consider on-field, off-field and safeguarding disciplinary cases.

Sarah was a Barrister for nearly 30 years practising from chambers at 39, Park Square, Leeds and then Paradise Chambers, Sheffield. She was appointed to the Circuit Bench in January 2014 and now sits at Sheffield Crown Court where she presides over serious criminal cases.

Karen Moorhouse, the RFL’s Chief Regulatory Officer, said: “Peter Charlesworth has rightly been recognised for his lengthy service to the game since his retirement from the ORT was confirmed, and he will be missed.

“We are delighted that Sarah Wright has agreed to join the Tribunal Panel from 2020. She has more than three decades of legal experience, and will become the first female Chairof the ORT, which is another noteworthy moment for the game.

“The game is lucky to be able to draw on a combination of legal expertise and appropriate other experience through the members of our Operational Rules Tribunals, and we are grateful to them all.”

Sarah Wright also has an impressive Rugby League pedigree – her father, Frank, was a member of Warrington’s double-winning team in 1953-54, playing in the famous Challenge Cup Final replay against Halifax at Odsal.

Operational Rules Tribunal, 2020

Chairs - His Honour Judge Rodney Grant (joined in 2003), His Honour Judge Chris Batty (joined in 2012), His Honour Judge Guy Kearl QC (joined in 2014), Her Honour Judge Sarah Wright (joins 2020).

Operational Rules Tribunal Side Members - Wilf George, Graeme Hallas, Jon Hamer, Adrian Morley, Andy Raleigh, Danny Sculthorpe, Neil Turley, Russ Bridge, Kathryn Vereycken.