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Ethics Committee Protocol

  1.  An Ethics Committee hearing will be held if and when the ABF Management Committee has authorized an investigation of a complaint about an incident that has occurred at an ABF Bridge Event.  The Ethics Committee shall be constituted in accordance with clause 4.6 of the Bylaws of the Australian Bridge Federation.  It will normally consist of at least three members nominated by the ABF Management Committee.  It will include one ABF registered player who is not a Councillor, and may include the ABF General Counsel and/or the ABF National Recorder.
  2. In making a decision as to whether an investigation will be authorized the ABF Management Committee will consider the advice of the ABF General Counsel.
  3. The Ethics Committee may decide how the investigation will be pursued and whether or not the Committee will hold a hearing in person or will consider the matter on the basis of written submissions only or a combination of both.  The Ethics Committee may seek the views of the parties it identifies as relevant to the complaint in exercising its discretion.
  4. The Ethics Committee will observe the principles of natural justice which include that the person who is the focus of the complaint has the right to be informed of:-
    1.       The existence of the complaint.
    2.      The fact that an inquiry has been authorized.
    3.       The particulars of the complaint that will be considered.
    4.      The form that the inquiry will take.
    5.     That he/she has a right to present a case according to that form.
    6.      That he/she has the right to seek advice and to be represented before the inquiry.
    7.       The result of the inquiry.
  5. The person who has filed the complaint is not a party in the proceedings before the Ethics Committee.
  6.  The Ethics Committee will seek information and allow comment from all persons who have knowledge of the incident under investigation.  The comment may be presented in written form or orally at the absolute and unfettered discretion of the Ethics Committee however no oral evidence will be accepted unless a signed statement has first been presented.
  7. The person who has filed the original complaint does not have a right to see and comment on the response by the subject, although the Ethics Committee may choose to invite such comment.
  8. The Ethics Committee will be chaired by the ABF General Counsel or nominee.
  9. The Ethics Committee will consider the evidence that has been offered and reach a decision as to whether the complaint is substantiated.
  10. If the Ethics Committee decides that the complaint is substantiated, it will frame a recommendation as to an appropriate penalty.
  11. The Ethics Committee will report its finding and recommendation to the ABF Management Committee.  There is no requirement for reasons to be delivered but the Ethics Committee may do so if they consider it to be appropriate.
  12. The ABF General Counsel will be responsible for informing the person subject to investigation of the decision of the ABF Management Committee as to whether the finding has been accepted and, where relevant, the penalty that has been approved but there is no requirement for reasons to be given.
  13.  The ABF General Counsel will, with the approval of the Management Committee,  inform the complainant as to whether the allegation was substantiated but not the reasons for that decision or the penalty (if any) that has been imposed unless the Ethics Committee has, in its absolute discretion, recommended the release of this information.
  14. All persons involved in an inquiry will regard the proceedings of the Ethics Committee as a matter at the highest level of confidentiality.  All persons shall accept that there is no right of review or appeal.

Endorsed by the ABF MC on 20th May 2012


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