The MSA is a member club of motor sport’s world governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The FIA International Sporting Code (ISC) requires each National Sporting Authority (ASN) to have a National Court.
Fundamentally, motor sport needs a judicial system in order to protect competitors and ensure that the rules and regulations governing the sport are upheld and respected.
The National Court is the final court in UK motor sport, as decreed by the ISC. It is totally independent of the MSA and has several heads of jurisdiction, including: appeals, disciplinary, investigatory, eligibility and arbitration.
The court normally sits once a month. When it convenes, both parties are present at the same time so that each can hear what the other has to say, or at least understand what is being alleged.
However the National Court is not empowered to enforce attendance and can deal with matters in the absence of a party. Anybody who does appear before the National Court is entitled to bring legal representation, which is not the case at an event.
The evidence that the National Court has at its disposal is not only written or oral evidence but frequently photographic, either still or moving image, and sometimes supported by data recordings.
The most severe penalties imposed by the National Court tend to be long periods of suspension of somebody’s competition licence. That penalty can itself be suspended, allowing the competitor to continue but with the knowledge that the penalty can be enforced in the event of any further transgressions during the suspended period.
Any fines collected by event officials or the National Court go to the MSA, which channels them back into the sport by way of provision of prizes, training or for charitable purposes.