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The FIA International Court of Appeal

The FIA International Court of Appeal is like the Supreme Court of the Automobile. If there are disputes between member clubs of the federation, it is the ICA which is entrusted with "judging definitively" any dispute resulting from the application of the FIA rules and statutes.

The ICA is made up of a select group of 15 eminent lawyers, each representing a particular nation. No country may have more than one judge, although each member has a deputy who may stand in if he is not available.

The ICA is an elected body, its members are proposed by the FIA Committee and voted into office by the FIA General Assembly. Every year one third of the 15 judges face election for a new three-year term. In theory this guarantees a constant turnover of judges, but the reality is that the same countries are re-elected over and over again.

In the 1990s, in fact, there have been 25 ICA elections (five each in 1990-91-92-93-94), but only once has a club been changed: in 1993 when France was voted off the ICA and the United States took its place.

Judges cannot sit in judgment if their own country is involved in the case, and no decisions can be made unless there are at least three judges present. The judges elect a president at each session.

Last week's ICA, convened to hear the appeals of Benetton and Williams, consisted of four judges: Jose Macedo e Cunha (Portugal), Philippe Roberti de Winghe (Belgium), Vassilis Koussis (Greece) and PG Dahlstrom (Scandinavia).

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