63.1 Requirement for a Hearing

A boat or competitor shall not be penalized without a protest hearing, except as provided in rules 30.2, 30.3, 30.4, 64.3(d), 64.4(b), 69, 78.2, A5 and P2. A decision on redress shall not be made without a hearing. The protest committee shall hear all protests and requests for redress that have been delivered to the race office unless it allows a protest or request to be withdrawn.

63.2 Time and Place of the Hearing; Time for Parties to Prepare

All parties to the hearing shall be notified of the time and place of the hearing, the protest or redress information shall be made available to them, and they shall be allowed reasonable time to prepare for the hearing.

63.3 Right to Be Present

(a) A representative of each party to the hearing has the right to be present throughout the hearing of all the evidence. When a protest claims a breach of a rule of Part 2, 3 or 4, the representatives of boats shall have been on board at the time of the incident, unless there is good reason for the protest committee to rule otherwise. Any witness, other than a member of the protest committee, shall be excluded except when giving evidence.

(b) If a party to the hearing of a protest or request for redress does not come to the hearing, the protest committee may nevertheless decide the protest or request. If the party was unavoidably absent, the committee may reopen the hearing.

63.4 Conflict of Interest

(a) A protest committee member shall declare any possible conflict of interest as soon as he is aware of it. A party to the hearing who believes a member of the protest committee has a conflict of interest shall object as soon as possible. A conflict of interest declared by a protest committee member shall be included in the written information provided under rule 65.2.

(b) A member of a protest committee with a conflict of interest shall not be a member of the committee for the hearing, unless

(1) all parties consent, or

(2) the protest committee decides that the conflict of interest is not significant.

(c) When deciding whether a conflict of interest is significant, the protest committee shall consider the views of the parties, the level of the conflict, the level of the event, the importance to each party, and the overall perception of fairness.

(d) However, for World Sailing major events, or for other events as prescribed by the national authority of the venue, rule 63.4(b) does not apply and a person who has a conflict of interest shall not be a member of the protest committee.

63.5 Validity of the Protest or Request for Redress

At the beginning of the hearing the protest committee shall take any evidence it considers necessary to decide whether all requirements for the protest or request for redress have been met If they have been met, the protest or request is valid and the hearing shall be continued. If not, the committee shall declare the protest or request invalid and close the hearing. If the protest has been made under rule rule 60.3(a)(1), the committee shall also determine whether or not injury or serious damage resulted from the incident in question. If not, the hearing shall be closed.

63.6 Taking Evidence and Finding Facts

The protest committee shall take the evidence of the parties present at the hearing and of their witnesses and other evidence it considers necessary. A member of the protest committee who saw the incident shall, while the parties are present, state that fact and may give evidence. A party present at the hearing may question any person who gives evidence. The committee shall then find the facts and base its decision on them.

63.7 Conflict between Rules

If there is a conflict between two or more rules that must be resolved before the protest committee makes a decision, the committee shall apply the rule that it believes will provide the fairest result for all boats affected. Rule 63.7 applies only if the conflict is between rules in the notice of race, the sailing instructions, or any of the other documents that govern the event under item (g) of the definition Rule.

63.8 Protests between Boats in Different Races

A protest between boats sailing in different races conducted by different organizing authorities shall be heard by a protest committee acceptable to those authorities.

63.9 Hearings under Rule 60.3(d) – Support Persons
If the protest committee decides to call a hearing under rule 60.3(d), it shall promptly follow the procedures in rules 63.2, 63.3, 63.4 and 63.6, except that the information given to the parties shall be details of the alleged breach and a person may be appointed by the protest committee to present the allegation.