They are: a Hearing Request Form – for recording the information to do with a protest or claim for redress; a Hearing Decision Form – for recording the outcome of a protest committee hearing; and an Arbitration Report Form – for recording the outcome of an arbitration. Copies of these forms can be downloaded here
Why a new Hearing Request Form?
The time-honoured Protest Form had grown more and more complex over time, expanding to capture more and more information and cover more and more options. Much of the information requested was not required under the rules and was captured for the benefit of the race office and the protest committee not of the competitor.
The consequence has been frustration and confusion for sailors, much time wasted in the pre time-limit period and ultimately fewer requests submitted. This is counterproductive in a sport which relies on protests and requests for redress to ensure fairness and proper policing of the rules.
Further, the new rule 64.1(c) requires the protest committee to decide on the nature of the request from the written allegation provided. The, often confusing, array of tick boxes found on the earlier form has led to many cases being incorrectly heard to the disadvantage of the competitors.
In practice, the information a competitor is required by the rules to provide within the time-limit is very simple and can be written in a matter of minutes. There is a further small amount of information that must be provided before the hearing begins.
The objectives of the new form are simple:
• Capture only the vital information required by the rules for a valid request.
• Guide competitors through the process so that they know what information is required and when.
• Give competitors the best chance of meeting the time-limit deadline.
The new form can also easily be used as a template for submitting a hearing request by email or digital message.
Accompanying the new Hearing Request Form, there is a revised Hearing Decision Form that is separate from the request form to reduce unnecessary printing and recognising that it is now common for decisions to be documented directly to an electronic format. Also, for the same reasons, there is a new Arbitration Report Form.
I strongly recommend that all clubs should put these new forms into use as quickly as possible in order to make rule observance and enforcement easier.