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Arbitration Panel appointed for 37th America's Cup

by America's Cup Media/Sail-World 28 Oct 2022 02:44 PDT 28 October 2022
The America's Cup - "a perpetual Challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries" © Scott Stallard

America's Cup organisers have announced the three person Arbitration Panel who will oversee the conduct of the 37th America's Cup in Barcelona.

The same three man panel, David Tillett (AUS) (Chairman), Graham Mckenzie (NZL) and Bryan Willis (GBR) have extensive sailing adjudication experience at the America's Cup level.

They are the same group appointed by the New York Supreme Court in November 2009 as a Panel to provide expert guidance to the Court, on five matters relating to the 2010 America's Cup - which was the subject of lengthy Court proceedings following the acceptance, in 2007, of a Challenge that was not in compliance with the provisions of the Deed of Gift.

The Challenger of Record and Defender (COR/D) being the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron respectively, each appoint one member of the Arbitration Panel, and then the two clubs mutually agree on the third member, who is also the Chairman.

The role of the Arbitration Panel is extensive - covering 12 specific points in the Protocol which governs the conduct of the 37th America's Cup. The Arb Panel has extensive powers and penalties, including imposing a fine of up to USD$1million.

Racing Rules issues are handled separately by an International Jury approved by World Sailing and drawn from the Umpires officiating at the event. All Measurement and AC75 Class rules issues are determined by the Measurement committee.

“I’m delighted to welcome back David and Graham from AC36 and of course Bryan who is very widely respected into their positions on the Arbitration Panel," commented America's Cup Event CEO, Grant Dalton.

"We’ve assembled the very best in our sport for the role and their impartiality and wisdom is something that will ensure fairness and equanimity throughout AC37 in Barcelona."

"Individually they are all hugely respected in the sport, and specifically within the America’s Cup where they have so much experience, and we simply could not have assembled better representatives to make up the Panel. I wish them every success going forward,” he added.

David Tillett (AUS)

David continues in the role as Chairman of the Arbitration Panel, a post that he held during the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland having been chairman of the Jury which acted as the Arbitration Panel at AC34 in San Francisco (2010-2013). He was Chairman of the Jury at the 33rd America’s Cup in Valencia (2010) having previously served as a Member of the Jury in both the 2007 and 2003 America’s Cups.

David originally started his Cup career as an umpire in the 1992 Cup in San Diego and went on to the 1995 Cup in San Diego, the 2003 Cup in New Zealand and then Valencia in 2004-2007. He also served as a Member of the Olympic Jury continually through the 1996 to 2012 Games and was Chairman of the Olympic Jury at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

He was awarded the honour of ‘Member of the Order of Australia’ for services to sailing in 2014 and inducted into the South Australia Sports Hall of Fame in 2021. Most notably, he was International Cadet World Champion in 1969. In October 2022, David was honoured with the Beppe Croce Trophy by World Sailing for ‘outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing.’

Graham Mckenzie (NZL)

As a barrister and solicitor of the New Zealand Law Society since 1974, Graham attained a Master of Laws from Warwick University as well as holding numerous Directorships at listed and non-listed companies throughout his career.

His involvement with the America’s Cup began in 2004 as a Member of the International Jury for AC32. He then served as both an Arbitration Panel member and International Jury member for the 33rd Americas Cup (2008-2009). He was further appointed as one of a three-person Panel to advise the New York Supreme Court on the America’s Cup before becoming a member of the International Jury for the 34th America’s Cup (2010–2013).

Graham is the co-author of three books on the 32nd, 33rd and 34th America’s Cup and a member of the International Sailing Federation (now named World Sailing) Constitution Committee since 2008 alongside being a member of World Sailing’s Ethics Commission since 2013.

Bryan Willis (GBR)

Bryan Willis was ‘Rules Advisor’ to the Swedish ‘Sverige’ team in 1980, the British ‘Victory’ team in 1983, and the Australian ‘Kookaburra’ Defence in 1987. He was instrumental in setting up the International Sailing Federation (now World Sailing) umpiring system and qualifying international umpires. He is the author of several books on the Racing Rules of Sailing and Match Racing.

Bryan was a jury member and Chief Umpire for the America’s Cup in 1992, Jury Chairman and Chief Umpire in 2000 and 2003, Chairman of the combined Jury and Arbitration Panel and Chief Umpire in 2007, and member of the Arbitration Panels in 2010 & 2013.

He has been a member/chairman of five Olympic Juries and many international championships. He was for many years a member of the World Sailing Racing Rules Committee, a member of the Judges Sub-committee and chaired the Race Officials Committee and the Race Management Sub-Committee. In 2018 he received the World Sailing Beppe Croce Trophy for services to sailing and in 2020 was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame and is the only Jurist to have been inducted.

The first task for the Arbitration Panel is, in conjunction with COR/D, to establish and publish its Rules of Procedure, which apply to all proceedings of the Panel.

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