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Use of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center’s Electronic Case Facility

Letter of April 19, 2021

The three of us have been the members of the 36th America's Cup Arbitration Panel since it was set up in 2018 until the end of the Match, which took place in Auckland in March 2021.

During that period of time, we had to deal with 19 cases, sometimes in difficult conditions in view of the urgency of certain matters, of the fact that most of these cases were involving multiple parties and that the members of the Panel as well as the parties and other implicated persons, such as experts, were sitting on very different time zones. Although it is not for us to say, we understand that we have discharged our duties to the satisfaction of all parties. This would not have been possible without benefiting from the eADR electronic case management system which has been kindly put at our and the parties' disposal by WIPO. WIPO eADR has, once again, proven to be an exceptionally efficient tool and, on our behalf and on behalf of all parties, we would like to hereby express our gratitude for making it available, both in terms of software and of support.

Yours faithfully,

David Tillett AM, Chairman, Australia
Graham McKenzie, Member, New Zealand
Henry Peter, Member, Switzerland/France

Letter of March 31, 2020

The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport and dates back to 1851 when the yacht America sailed across the Atlantic to take on the best of the British fleet. The trophy won that day was donated through a Deed of Gift to the New York Yacht Club, to be held as a challenge trophy for friendly competition between nations. Since then the trophy has only been raced for 35 times in the 167 years. The 36th America’s Cup will see Emirates Team New Zealand attempt to defend the ‘Auld Mug’ against a fleet of exceptionally strong and well resourced challengers in a new AC75 class in Auckland in 2021.

The 36th America's Cup Arbitration Panel (the Panel) has been kept busy in the past months deciding upon disputes regarding various subject-matters such as the definition of “nationality”, confidentiality in mediation proceedings, cancellation of selection series races as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, etc. The Panel has so far issued decisions in a total of 7 cases (6 arbitration cases and 1 mediation).

The Panel has been administering the America’s Cup disputes using a customized version of WIPO's online case communication tool (named America’s Cup Arbitration Panel “Electronic Case Facility”, ECAF), which has been made available free-of-charge by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center.

ECAF’s primary function is to assist the Panel as well as the parties (mainly the teams participating in the America’s Cup) in the conduct of cases. From a practical standpoint, both the teams’ applications and submissions and the Panel’s directions and decisions are uploaded on ECAF. By doing so, the documents filed on the web-based application are automatically and immediately dispatched to all concerned parties, and these are informed thereof by a specific mail.

The Panel is very satisfied with ECAF, which offers (i) a centralized database which includes all relevant documents filed and decisions issued in each case brought before the Panel as well as (ii) an efficient and reliable platform for managing arbitration cases. With the need to work in a very short time frame, the fact that the proceedings are multiparty arbitrations, and that parties thereto are in very different time zones (from New Zealand to Europe), ECAF has been instrumental in the effective management of all America’s Cup Arbitration Panel cases to date.

On behalf of the Panel, we would like to warmly thank WIPO for having given the Panel and the Parties/teams the possibility to use ECAF.

David Tillett AM, Chairman, Australia
Graham McKenzie, Member, New Zealand
Henry Peter, Member, Switzerland/France
Claire Mordelet, Administrative Secretary, France