Case 104
Rule 63.6(d), Hearings: Taking Evidence and Finding Facts
Rule 70.1, Appeals and Requests to a National Authority
Rule R5, Inadequate Facts; Reopening
Attempting to distinguish between facts and conclusions in a protest committee's findings is sometimes unsatisfactory because findings may be based partially on fact and partially on a conclusion. A national authority can change a protest committee's decision and any other findings that involve reasoning or judgment, but not its findings of fact. A national authority may derive additional facts by logical deduction. Neither written facts nor diagrammed facts take precedence over the other. Protest committees must resolve conflicts between facts when so required by a national authority.
Question 1
What criteria determine whether a finding in a protest committee's decision is subject to change on appeal? Are the criteria based on whether the finding is a "fact" or a "conclusion", whether it incorporates an interpretation of a rule, or something else?

Answer 1
The distinction between "fact" and "conclusion" does not provide a satisfactory criterion because the two concepts can overlap. In the context of rule 63.6(d) and other rules using the term, a "fact" is an action or condition that a protest committee "finds" occurred or existed. A "conclusion" is derived by reasoning from something else, and can be purely factual. For example, if the facts are that there were three classes in a race and five boats in each class, it is both a conclusion and a fact that there were 15 boats in the race. A conclusion can also be partially non-factual, as when a judgment is made that includes non-factual elements. An example is the statement "Boat A displayed her flag at the first reasonable opportunity after the incident", which is based on a combination of the facts about an incident and an interpretation of the phrase "first reasonable opportunity" in rule 61.1(a).

A finding that is an interpretation of a rule is clearly subject to change by a national authority, but other findings that involve reasoning or judgment are equally subject to change. For example, a protest committee might state "The wind velocity of 15 knots was too high for the boats to be able to race in safety." This statement is an opinion or judgment but not an interpretation of the rules.

The criterion for determining whether a protest committee's finding is subject to change on appeal is therefore only that the finding is not exclusively factual in nature. Rule 70.1 permits the appeal of a protest committee's "decision or its procedures, but not the facts found." However, it does not prohibit the appeal of other findings or judgments made by the protest committee. Similarly, rule R5 requires a national authority to accept a protest committee's findings of fact, but does not require the acceptance of other findings. The effect of both rules is that a national authority can change any finding by a protest committee except a finding of fact.

Question 2
May a national authority derive additional facts by drawing conclusions from the protest committee's written facts or its diagram?

Answer 2
Yes. The national authority may apply logic to derive additional facts from either source.

Question 3
What is the status of a diagram prepared or endorsed by a protest committee as required by rule R2.2(b)?

Answer 3
Both the diagram and the written facts are facts found by the protest committee. Neither takes precedence over the other.

Question 4
When facts conflict with each other, such as a conflict between the diagram and the written facts, is a national authority required to accept all of them? How are conflicts to be resolved?

Answer 4
The national authority cannot logically accept conflicting facts. Rule R5 gives a national authority the authority to require the protest committee to provide revised or additional facts that resolve the conflict.

USA 2003/85
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