EBU Laws & Ethics Committee Guidance Notes

The following guidance for members of Appeal Committees at EBU events was agreed by the Laws & Ethics Committee.

1.7 Appeals
1.7.1 Appeals Committees

An appeal under Law 92A to an EBU Appeals Committee or Referee is subject to a deposit of £20 in pairs events and £30 in teams events. This is returned at the Appeals Committee’s or Referee’s discretion and their decision is based upon whether they consider the appeal to have been frivolous for the class of player involved. The test in the case of an experienced appellant would be if the committee came to a unanimous decision with little or no discussion; the less experienced the player, the more lenient the Committee would be. The deposit can still be forfeit if the committee decreases the score for the appellants (or penalises, or increases the penalty for, the appellants).

An Appeals Committee or a Referee will seek any guidance required as to law or regulation from the DIC. It is within the discretion of the Committee to seek such other consultation as may be helpful; it is recommended for a Referee to do so, if convenient.

If any player wishes to have a copy of the appeals form it will be sent to them on request. Blank copies of Appeals forms and Report of Hand forms are available on the EBU website at http://www.ebu.co.uk/laws-and-ethics/forms.

1.7.2 Appeals to the National Authority

These are settled by the L&EC and must be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Committee, enclosing a deposit of £75.

No appeal to the National Authority will be allowed if there was not a request for an appeal against the TD’s ruling under Law 92A. (Law 93C) Appeals to the National Authority should be submitted promptly. There is no specific time limit of general application, although a deadline may be imposed in a particular case. If the L&EC decides that an appeal has not been submitted within a reasonable time, it will be dismissed and the deposit returned. An appeal to the National Authority is heard on its merits, and the deposit normally returned, only if the L&EC considers the appeal to involve one or more of the following:

(a) A question of principle
(b) An error of tournament direction
(c) An error in the application of law or regulation
(d) A grossly inappropriate value judgement

If none of these factors is present the appeal will be dismissed and the deposit forfeited. Note that a request to revise a value judgement which falls short of being grossly inappropriate is not a sound basis for an appeal to the National Authority.

If one of the specified factors is found to be present, the L&EC will consider the matter afresh in the light of the submissions made, and it may revise a value judgement even if it does not consider it to have been grossly inappropriate.

Appeals to the National Authority are almost always dealt with by correspondence. Only in exceptional circumstances will the L&EC allow a personal attendance by a party to the appeal. The outcome of an appeal to the National Authority, or some other intervention by the L&EC,
will affect the result of a match in a knock-out competition only if the decision is made in time for the result to be included in the draw for the next round without undue disruption to the progress of the competition. The same principle applies, with any necessary modifications, to any competition which involves qualification for a subsequent round or stage of the competition.

1.7.4 Taking deposits

A deposit should be taken before an appeal is heard. Only in exceptional circumstances is it suitable for an appeal to be heard without a deposit, and in such a case the DIC must write on the form the reason for not taking a deposit. Deposits are taken in the normal way for appeals to the DIC over a matter of Law, appeals against Procedural or Disciplinary Penalties, telephone appeals to a Referee, appeals dealt with in writing and so forth.

1.7.5 Both sides to appeal

If a contestant believes they have a case in front of an Appeals Committee, they may appeal even if the other side have already done so. A second deposit will be taken.

1.7.6 Special reason for an appeal

The L&EC deprecated the actions of a player who appeared to have deliberately used the appeals process as a means of drawing attention to their criticisms of the regulations.

1.7.7 Late appeals

Two appeals had arisen where it had been very difficult to conduct the appeal. In one case the appeal arose right at the end of the tournament where one pair had left unaware of the appeal. The second one arose after the evening session of a congress where qualification for a final the next day was involved. One pair had left and the TD had to rely on suitable committee members arriving early enough the next day to hold the appeal and hoping the other pair would also arrive in time to participate, having no way to contact them.

Requests for appeals received within the time limits have to be entertained. In particular pairs involved in a ruling should check to see whether the time limit for lodging an appeal has expired before leaving. TDs need to let players know about the deadlines for appealing.
Where the TD cannot find a suitable Appeals Committee of three people then a committee of one, a telephone Referee or even the DIC could hear the appeal.

Where it is necessary to conduct an appeal where one pair does not even know it is happening, it was always an option of the Appeals Committee to halt the proceedings if the absence of one side might prejudice the procedure. If required the Appeals Committee will have to make a provisional decision to allow the next stage of the competition to progress. When it is possible to contact both sides, the Appeals Committee can gather testimony and proceed to a final decision.

1.7.8 Right to attend appeals

Players normally have the right to attend appeals of first instance, but the hearing of the appeal in circumstances likely to prevent their presence does not invalidate the appeal.

Examples:
(a) Players have no absolute right to attend an appeal heard by a telephone Referee.
In practice the Referee should speak directly to the players if practicable.
(b) In matches played privately appeals may be dealt with by written submissions.
(c) If an original appeal is determined to have been procedurally defective, then
players do not have the right to attend the re-hearing if it is dealt with (as is usual)
by written submissions.