Dispute Resolution at the America's Cup

JusLetter, September 2005

26 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2006

See all articles by Thomas Schultz

Thomas Schultz

King's College London; University of Geneva

Abstract

The America's Cup is one of the most prestigious and oldest sports events in the world. The stakes involved are huge, be it only in financial terms. Moreover, it is organized in an almost entirely autonomous fashion, in the sense that the respective defender of the Cup (the sailing club that last won the Cup), along with its first challenger are almost completely free to organize the competition as they see fit, the only real constraint being a 150-years old two-pages document. The combination of this liberty and the stakes just mentioned lead, over the years, to a series of interesting adjustment as regards the way dispute arising in the context of the Cup are resolved. From long and bitter litigation in connection with Dennis Conner's famous catamaran, the sailing community has learned the importance of providing for extra-judicial methods and bodies. These methods and bodies have, over the last editions of the America's Cup, gradually evolved, thereby revealing likely strong points and pitfalls in the setting up of ad hoc dispute resolution.

This article first introduces the various documents and rules that govern the Cup. It then goes back over the court proceedings that sparked the intention to equip this sporting event with private dispute resolution mechanisms. Thereafter, it presents the three different dispute resolution bodies that accompanied the five last editions of the Cup. Finally, this article reviews the jurisprudence (11 arbitral awards so far) of the current edition of the Cup.

Keywords: Arbitration, dispute resolution, sports, America's Cup

JEL Classification: K4, K40

Suggested Citation

Schultz, Thomas, Dispute Resolution at the America's Cup. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=898603

Thomas Schultz (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

University of Geneva ( email )

102 Bd Carl-Vogt
Genève, CH - 1205
Switzerland

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