Section J
Protest Committee Administration
The Protest Committee Secretary’s Duties
The most essential part of the protest committee secretary’s job is organizing the protest committee desk for the receiving and processing of protests. Ideally the protest committee desk should be situated next to the protest room. The secretary and the chairman should consult before the start of the event and decide the system to be used. It needs to be carefully adapted to the end of protest time listed in the Sailing Instructions. 
The job of the protest committee secretary depends on the working relationship between the people involved. A good secretary will take a wide view and allow the protest committee to concentrate on the racing, the hearings and the rules without having to worry about administration. The secretary should check to see that: 
  • the protest committee room has sufficient chairs, table, lighting, paper pads, protest models; 
  •  the official notice board is as designated in the Sailing Instructions and is properly identified; 
  •  there is access to equipment - such as a printer, dedicated photocopier, and telephone. 
  •  the communication between the chairman, race committee, results service, etc. has been agreed and operating; 
  •  when national authority prescriptions are in force, a copy in English is available for all competitors (rules J1.2(4) and J2.2(5)) and also posted on the Official Notice Board; 
  •  the access code for Wi-Fi, for Judges who bring notebook computers; • a supply of protest forms and scoring inquiry forms at the protest desk. 

Provide the protest committee with: 
  • a copy of the Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions, applicable national authority prescriptions, L Notices, class rules and notices for each member of the protest committee; 
  •  the daily time limits for filing protests on each course;  
  •  the daily list of alternative penalties taken; 
  •  access to copies of mark roundings and finish sheets, if needed for redress requests; 
  •  any letter regarding denial of right of appeal or constitution of the international jury is displayed as required by rule N1.8

The jury secretary follows procedures set out by the chairman, such as: 
  •  whether or not the chairman requires the secretary to remain inside or outside the jury room during hearings; 
  •  whether full decisions are to be typed and posted, and the format required; 
  •  whether to accompany the jury on the jury boat or remain on shore. 

General Daily Administration
Attend meetings of the protest committee and race committee meetings. Ensure that all notices to competitors, amendments to Sailing Instructions, etc. are signed by the appropriate officer (the principal race officer, race committee chairman or protest committee chairman), and posted as quickly as possible. Adequate photocopies must be available for competitors. 
Each day, each member of the protest committee needs photocopies of any new paperwork (amendments, etc.) in their file. The protest committee section of the official notice board must be kept in order. 

Applications for crew substitutions and haul-out requests must be processed, if the Sailing Instructions specify that these require protest committee approval. 
Receiving Protests
The hours the protest committee desk will be open to receive protests (or notify if elsewhere) must be posted. 
The person receiving protests must never reject any protest or request for redress, whatever form it takes, and whether or not it is received outside the time limit. Only the protest committee may decide whether or not a protest or request is valid, after addressing the various validity requirements. 
Recording and Copying the Protest
On receipt, each protest or request for redress should receive a number, date, time, and the initials of who received it. Record this information on the protest form and in the log of protests received. 
Make a copy of each protest form for each member of the protest committee, one for the person lodging the protest or redress request, and one for the protestee. Keep the original for the Chairman. The papers for each protest should be placed in an A4 envelope with the details of the protest written on the front of the envelope or a specific form provided by the Chairman. 

Keep the copy for the parties to the hearing at the protest desk and provide the parties with a copy as soon as possible. 
Arbitration System
When a protest is delivered to the protest desk, the person accepting protests logs the time and asks the protestor to stand by. A judge then determines if the protest meets the requirements for arbitration. If so, the judge will ask the protestor to find the representative of the other boat. Arrange an arbitration meeting as soon as possible, if the parties accept arbitration as an alternative to a full hearing. 
If one of the parties does not come to the arbitration meeting, the arbitration meeting does not proceed. The voluntary nature of arbitration makes rule 63.3(b) inapplicable. The protest committee secretary will then schedule a protest hearing. 

Schedule a protest hearing if the arbitration does not resolve the protest. 

Refer to Section L [WSJM - L] for more details on Arbitration. 
Accepting a Penalty in an Incident
When a protest has been delivered, a protestee may accept a penalty for the incident prior to a hearing. Ascertain whether the incident resulted in any damage to any boat or injury to a competitor. If there was no damage or injury, the boat may take a penalty by retiring from the race or take any alternative penalty available in the Sailing Instructions. If there was serious damage or injury, the penalty is to retire from the race. Ask the competitor to write on the protest form, the words – 

“I accept a penalty in the incident described in this protest, and hereby retire or accept the penalty of ____________(fill in any alternative penalty that might be available)” 

A representative of the protested boat would sign the form. A separate form may be used for this declaration. If so, staple it to the protest form. In all cases of acknowledgement, the protest must be presented to the protest committee, perhaps when all other hearings have been completed. 
Once that declaration is made, ask the protestor whether he or she wishes to withdraw the protest since, under rule 64.1(b) the protestee has now taken a penalty and could not be subject to any further penalty in that incident if it goes to a hearing. If so, ask the protestor to write on the form, “I wish to withdraw this protest”. The protest committee may then allow the protest to be withdrawn under rule 63.1
Withdrawing Protests
Once the protest has been received, a protestor’s request to withdraw the protest must be approved as a decision of the protest committee (rule 63.1). This involves a brief hearing in which the protestor provides the reasons for the request. The protest committee would allow the withdrawal of the protest if it is satisfied that the request is reasonable. The competitor should also sign the protest form confirming withdrawal of the protest.
Scheduling Hearings
If it is known when hearings are to begin, the representative of the protesting boat can be informed when his hearing is scheduled. The first few hearings are best scheduled at 20 minute intervals, and then at half-hour intervals (assuming there is only one protest committee). Thus, if the first one or two protests are invalid, there is little delay. Should the first hearings take much longer, the remaining hearings can be rescheduled. 
The objective is to keep the protest committee working until all hearings are complete (allowing for a meal break where required). Keep the competitors waiting for as short a time as possible. If hearings get behind schedule, later hearings should be rescheduled, so that competitors can get changed or go for a meal. 
When there is a protest and a counter protest, or protests from different boats about the same incident, they should be scheduled to be heard at one hearing. 
The Chairman should first read the delivered protests and decide the most efficient order of the Hearings. Schedule first any hearings where the Race Officer is a party, so they can be heard consecutively. On the last day of the event, schedule first any hearings involving boats that may possibly be a prize winner, so the prize giving can commence as soon as possible. 
Inform the race committee promptly of any request for redress to allow them as much time as possible to investigate the request. 
Post the hearing schedule on the Official Notice Board as soon as possible after the end of protest time but before the end of the time limit for posting protests on the Official Notice Board. Hearings may begin before the protest time expires provided that the parties to the protest are ready to proceed.
The Hearing
When the protest committee is ready for a hearing, give a copy of the protest (or request to each member of the protest committee. When the protest committee is ready to proceed, call the parties, usually one from each boat, and interpreters if necessary. 
Check the alternative penalty list to see whether either party to the hearing took a penalty in the incident involved in the protest. 
If observers are allowed the Protest Committee chairman should remind the observers of the applicable rules for observers. 
The protest committee secretary should check that witnesses are available and waiting outside when they are called to enter the protest committee room. Make sure they cannot hear the proceedings before they come in to give their evidence. 

After each hearing, record the decision, and file the original protest form, committee notes, and any other papers received during the hearing. A good system is to use a large envelope for each case, with the protest number and parties noted on the outside of each envelope. When all protests have been heard that day, the protest committee secretary should communicate the results to the results office and the media. In consultation with the chairman, complete the protest results log and post it on the notice board. 
On the last day, there is usually a time limit after a hearing to request a reopening or redress against the protest committee’s decision from each case. Post these decisions and the individual case time limits for reopening and redress promptly on the Official Notice Board, stamped with the date and time of posting. 
If there is a request for a written decision from competitors, the jury secretary should ensure that a fully written up decision is made available for the competitor to collect. 
After the Last Race
The protest committee secretary, in consultation with the chairman, should ensure that all protests and papers are filed, with the organizing club, for reference. They should be kept for at least six months after the event. 
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