Forum: Protest Hearing Procedures

Code of Conduct for Remote Hearings

P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
As I posted recently on a Video Conference Hearing thread here, I was recently involved in a mock all-remote hearing to shake-out the kinks.

This experience has led me down a rabbit hole (as you know, one of my favorite places) which brought me to the realization that there isn't anything in the rules which outlines an expected code of conduct of the participants in such a hearing (or any hearing for that matter). 

I thought maybe it would be helpful to have a document (a 'Code of Conduct for Remote Hearings') where the conditions, do's and don'ts we expect of the participants are detailed.  That way, it would be easy for the Chair to send it out prior a hearing.  Once in hand, at the start of the hearing the Chair can get confirmation of receipt and acceptance of the Code on the call, and that can be recorded as a fact at the start of the hearing.

This is definitely a work-in-progress.  Please feel free to jump in with thoughts and ideas.

Is something along these lines a good idea to have? ... even if it's only a reference-guide or starting point for you own custom language?

Ang

-------------- More Fully Descriptive Version (Edited) ----------------------

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR REMOTE HEARINGS
(via Telephone, VoIP and/or Video Conference)

Hearings are normally conducted in-person, in a location that segregates the participants from outside contact and observation. During in-person hearings, the Protest Committee monitors and controls communication between the parties, witnesses and outside-entities.  This is done to provide a fair hearing to all, by ensuring testimony is not tainted and the parties to the hearing are not receiving outside guidance or information.

During a Remote Hearing, the Protest Committee cannot monitor participants in the same way (unless in-person remote monitoring is arranged).  In a Remote Hearing, the Protest Committee must trust and rely upon the participants to abide by this 'Code of Conduct for Remote Hearings'.  You will participate as either a party or a witness (if you are not a witness, you are likely a party, see RRS def: Party). 

Unless the Protest Committee specifically approves otherwise, during the hearing:

  1. A party or witness shall not record, transmit or convey audio or video of the hearing.  Individual screen-capture of scenario images is permitted for your own records only.
  2. A party or witness must ensure, to the best of their ability, that they are not being observed or overheard by any witness or anyone who might have an interest in the proceedings.
  3. A party shall not communicate or share information with anyone outside of the hearing by any means or technology.
  4. A party shall not communicate or share information with a witness except when the witness is giving testimony in the presence of the Protest Committee.

At the beginning of the Remote Hearing, you will be asked if you understand, accept and agree to abide by this Code of Conduct for Remote Hearings.  Please take that opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding what is expected of you.

A party or witness to the hearing that breaks an element of this Code, risks being found in breach of good sportsmanship or to have behaved unethically (see Rule 69.1(b)). 

---------------- Shorter-n-Sweeter Version ala Philip's input  ----------------

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR REMOTE HEARINGS
(via Telephone, VoIP and/or Video Conference)

To ensure a fair proceeding, the Protest Committee must rely upon the participants to abide by this 'Code of Conduct for Remote Hearings'. You will participate as either a party or a witness (if you are not a witness, you are likely a party, see RRS def: Party). 

Unless the Protest Committee specifically approves otherwise, during the hearing:

  1. A party or witness shall not record, transmit or convey audio or video of the hearing.  Individual screen-capture of scenario images is permitted for your own records only.
  2. A party or witness must ensure, to the best of their ability, that they are not being observed or overheard by any witness or anyone who might have an interest in the proceedings.
  3. A party shall not communicate or share information with anyone outside of the hearing by any means or technology.
  4. A party shall not communicate or share information with a witness, except when the witness is giving testimony in the presence of the Protest Committee.

At the beginning of the Remote Hearing, you will be asked if you understand and agree to abide by this Code of Conduct for Remote Hearings.  Please take that opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding what is expected of you.

A party or witness to the hearing that breaks an element of this Code, risks being found in breach of good sportsmanship or to have behaved unethically (see Rule 69.1(b)). 
Created: 20-Mar-19 16:14

Comments

Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
The direction is sound, but it needs to be simplified and personalized.
A recitation of coded words (a party) is impersonal and negligible.
The matter is only addressed to parties, anyway, so the address can be direct.

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR PARTIES TO A REMOTE HEARING
1. You shall not...
2. You and your witness must ensure... that you are not...
3. You shall not communicate...
4. You shall not communicate...

You risk being found...

Do you understand, accept...
Created: 20-Mar-19 17:18
Ric Crabbe
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
1
definitely take out an explicit reference to Boat Scenario, since there is no guarantee they are using that software.
Created: 20-Mar-19 18:57
Greg Dargavel
Nationality: Canada
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • National Judge
0
For me this whole thrust over codifies a situation where 99.999% of sailors can be relied on with a simple "play nice" from the PC Chair ( and the hammer of RRS 69 if truly needed).
Created: 20-Mar-19 22:13
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Philip .. definitely trim it up as you feel is good for'ya (see above to OP, I created a shorter version).

Ric .. good catch.

Greg .. I do think that "play nice" will be insufficient, especially in this situation .. but I agree what I wrote, especially the intro paragraphs, could be trimmed or removed as Philip suggested. I'm not saying that many people would try to be underhanded, but it may not occur to them that they shouldn't do some of these things. 

My intent was to toss something out that can be customized, but also I wanted to see if someone had an element that I may have missed.

At the beginning of any hearing I chair, I always ask if the parties have been in a hearing before and are they familiar with the process.  When I offer to go over the process, about 20% of the time at least one party requests the overview.  Even in in-person hearings, a good portion of the parties are coming in not completely knowing what to expect.

If something like this list is sent prior to a remote hearing, the Chair can make it really quick as you suggest  ..  "Did you receive the Code of Conduct and do you understand and agree to abide by its terms?" .. and move on without having to list anything.  

That was my thought anyway.
Created: 20-Mar-20 11:50
John Standley
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • International Judge
  • National Umpire
0
The code of conduct is one thing but we are just looking at this in Australia with a view to developing some procedures. t
We are looking to answer the following:
How could a protest committee conduct a hearing electronically and attempt to ensure: 
  1. The decision and procedures are sound minimising the likelihood of a successful appeal?
  2. There are no errors or omissions minimising the likelihood of a successful request for redress?
 
The RRS are silent on whether the protest committee has to be there in person, and nothing explicitly precludes the right to be present being achieved electronically.
 
I think what might be needed is an evolution of appendix M that says if you do it this way, what-ever that way might be, the protest committee’s electronic procedures will have been correct and, importantly, fair. Whether a hearing is held electronically or in person won’t have a bearing on the judge’s rules knowledge and competence; that is a constant in either medium.
 
Stuff that springs to mind, which might need specific advice on doing hearings electronically, includes:
  1. The admin of hearings; notifications and decisions - I do not see this being too difficult but maybe a clause is needed in SI's to advise on procedure.
  2. Handling boat on boat hearings - Are cameras needed to ensure all the PC can see diagrams, model boats etc? What would happen if one of the PC could hear but not receive visual data for some reason?
  3. Handling requests for redress - I think this would possibly be easier that a boat on boat protest.
  4. Handling misconduct allegations - would this be a suitable forum under any circumstances?
  5. Handling requests to reopen a hearing - Again think this might be relatively straight forward.

Any input into any of the above will be gratefully received.
One matter of concern for me is whether we can ever get to a completely remote hearing for boat on boat protests or if there will always be a need for at least one of the PC to be with the parties to ensure there is fair play. I.E. To prevent collusion with witnesses etc.
How important is body language and does this have an effect on the outcome of some evidence and is this transmitted through remote technology? 

There are many advantages that could come from this not the least of which would be to reduce the need for officials to travel to an event where they often have a lot of time just hanging about.

All ideas and thoughts are welcome and I am happy for peole to email me directly if they would prefer.

Thanks
John
Created: 20-Jun-21 05:03
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
John, I know of a couple endeavors here in the States to have a procedural doc (I'm part of one of them).  I hope that people feel free to post on this thread or start another for remote hearing procedures.  The competitor-facing document will eventually be posted on the Notice Board so they will be public in the end.

Personally, I was involved in one practice hearing and 2 actual hearings (one as a juror and one as technical "advance man").  At each step, a group of us have been working on developing a doc and folding back into what we learn from the experience.

From my experience so far, I do think this can be done in a fair way .. but it takes forethought, planning, and a more deliberate method than an in-person hearing .. as everything is just more awkward.  Any panel contemplating doing this should hold a practice with other judges playing roles of parties and witnesses (best to choose the most technology-challenged judges for the parties and witnesses).  

Hopefully we'll start seeing people share their docs so we can learn from each other's ideas.
Created: 20-Jun-21 18:15
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