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Incident Procedures

How we deal with incident reports

It is the responsibility of all members to ensure that our politeness and fair play are maintained. Often, a simple mail explaining an issue can help to avoid later problems. Members are therefore invited to help by using the Incident Reporting system to advise us of any incident that appears to be wrong or unfair.
An incident is something that has happened. It could be anything that has happened
Types of incident include but are not limited to:

  • Impolite behaviour, rudeness and bullying.
  • Disconnections and deliberate quitting.
  • Something going wrong, or just something irregular, at the table requiring a TD to advise and possibly rule on.
  • Anything at all that may give you cause for concern.

How does it work? 

A member submits an incident report using the Form to be found via the BCL home page and

“Information” > “Conduct and Incidents” > "Submit an Incident Report " 


If you decide to submit an Incident Report, please do not hold up play at the table while doing so. Please wait until the end of your session or, if playing in the DIDO, between rounds.

An email should be received within an hour confirming it has been received.

Within a few days, an Incident Administrator will review the incident report and make sure all the information is complete and accurate.
We have wide range of ‘tools’ to enable a fair resolution of any kind of incident.  We have chat records, bidding and play records, membership records and other related information as well as technical resources.  We have the services of professional Tournament Directors and experienced bridge consultants – all or any of these may be involved in the decision-making, where necessary.

In normal circumstances, most Reports are resolved within 14 days of being submitted.

The administrator’s ruling will be added to the Report for the member to see.  This report is not available to any other member or to the player who is the subject of the report.

At that time, an automatic mail goes out to alert the member that a progress report is on the file and is available to be read.

If no action is necessary, the administrator will explain why, when posting the file as ‘Judgement Made’.

If mails have been sent, these are usually attached, unless for some reason they may be confidential.  Where possible, replies are also added to the file for the member to see.

We have broad guidelines that we use when making rulings.  Of course we are flexible and we also listen to explanations.  Our main criteria are that everyone should be able to enjoy a pleasant game of bridge without fearing any sort of unpleasant or unethical behaviour.

All reports are kept on file so that we can become better aware of those who repeat offences having been previously advised.
Generally speaking the details of the original report are not disclosed to the other members.  Any shared information will show members' aliases - not real names.

How we deal with requests of score adjustments or other TD rulings

Any request for a ruling and score adjustment is made in the normal way via an Incident Report.

It is normal to inform your opponents of your intent before leaving the table, but this is not essential. It is helpful but not essential to seek agreement on any facts that might be disputed. Please try to avoid the expression “I’m reserving my rights”. Few understand its meaning, your right to ask for a ruling exists without you needing to reserve it, and the expression is often seen as intimidating even though it should not be. The time limit to ask for a ruling is the end of the second day following the play of the board.

The Tournament Director has access to bidding, play and chat records as well as players’ SSDs and SSD Extras. The SSDs are of immense assistance to the TD as they provide evidence of a partnership’s agreements and it is strongly recommended that all partnerships have SSDs and SSD Extras completed as fully as possible. The TD may contact players for further information before making a ruling. 

Serious Ethics Investigations.

When an event is deemed to be in the category of 'Serious Ethical Issue', it will be handled separately via the procedures set out under serious ethics investigations on the Bridge Club Live web-site.

General guidelines used by administrators of Incident Reports.

Quitting is dealt with separately. In short, where it is genuinely believed that a player has deliberately left an unfinished board, we operate a structured ‘penalty system’.  See HERE

All we want is that everyone enjoys the online game and the club facilities. Our primary objective is to make the member aware of what has happened and why it is not right.

When something goes wrong, we send a friendly mail explaining what actually happened and what would have been a better course of action. We hope that this will be enough.

We try to operate a style that incorporates ‘benefit of the doubt’ and believing the best of people. Unfortunately, for varying reasons, the same names often re-appear in the same situations.  We ask for explanations – sometimes these are believed to be genuine.

Generally where we believe a member or Guest Member has been rude or disruptive or has perhaps in some other way broken our Club Rules and/or Code of Conduct, the administrators will send a more ‘formal’ mail.

There is a range of ‘sanctions’ we may apply when members appear not to take our Incident Report mails seriously:

  • Sometimes we ask for an apology to be sent directly to other players and/or back to the Incident Report Administrator.
  • Sometimes we ask for a clear undertaking that the player has read our Club Rules and intends to uphold them in future.

If we don’t get co-operation, if members do not reply to mails or offer the requested apologies/ assurances – we take a different view.

  • We may disable the account for a varying length of time – or until we are confident there won’t be further problems
  • We may reduce the membership to Guest Status.  This restricts where the member may play and is a good way to get his/her attention.

Where a positive response is asked for – and not received – the ‘sanction’ will not be removed.

It would be easy to say ‘3 strikes and you are out’ – but we don’t do that.  We do our best to enable all members to become comfortable with our Club Rules and want to support them.   They are after all, for everyone’s benefit.

In some circumstances we may appear to tolerate a great deal before disabling an account for a period of time or in the worst cases – permanently.
In our playing rooms we do not use robots and neither do we make robotic judgements. We often consult with administration colleagues when making judgements.

When it becomes clear that we are getting nowhere we will send a strong letter and may suspend the player for anything up to a month (depending on past history and circumstances).  After that time – if there has been no satisfactory resolution to the event, the membership will automatically be terminated. 
In certain circumstances, Guest Membership may be cancelled immediately.

When a membership is terminated as a result of non-compliance with our Club Rules There will be NO refund of membership fees.

Appeals

There are no rights of appeal against any decision by the BCL Management team with the sole exception that, in accordance with The Laws of Duplicate Bridge, appeals may be made against bridge rulings by our Tournament Directors.

Please write to the TD if you do not understand or if you disagree with an explanation of a ruling. If you remain unsatisfied, the TD will discuss the possibility of appealing. If you then wish to appeal, the CTD will arrange for this, even if it was he who gave the original ruling. For rulings involving bridge judgement, he will appoint a committee normally of three players. For rulings that purely involve Bridge Law, he will normally appoint a single referee who is a member of a national panel of Tournament Directors.

Both sides will have an opportunity to put their evidence before the committee or referee. The result of the appeals process shall be considered final.
If the CTD considers that the committee or referee is likely to view the appeal to be frivolous, he will advise the potential appellant and then require a deposit of 40 US dollars or 20 pounds sterling, for an appeal hearing, which will be forfeited if the appeal is deemed frivolous by all three members of the committee or by the referee. The deposit should be made within 3 days of being advised by the CTD by using the Menu Item [Subscriptions/Members Shop/Miscellaneous] and making the deposit there. Please upload the shop reference number to your appeal when you have made the payment.
Once work has begun on your request for an Appeal, you will be contacted as necessary by the CTD. Please allow several days as it involves many people and do not be concerned if there is no more 'news' for a while.

Notes

Where a response is required - either in the form of an apology to another player or as a pledge towards future behaviour and is not received or is refused - we will, after 30 days, automatically reduce the membership to Guest Status until the matter is resolved.

If a genuine apology is made to the player/s concerned, via email or sticky note before Bridge Club Live is involved, then the 'offence' will not be registered and no further action will be taken. So if you do realise the error of your ways, please act before Bridge Club Live has to!

For your information, all reports are kept on file and help to form a picture based on ‘history’.

Members who 'abuse' the Comment Boards will be barred from participating in this activity of the club.

Ours is a membership club and our rules are for the benefit of all - to enable everyone to enjoy a pleasant and friendly atmosphere. By choosing to be a Bridge Club Live Member, you are accepting our Club Rules and Incident Administration.

Refunds

Where a member is or has been involved in any ethics issue and elects to close their membership account, we do NOT refund membership fees.

Where a member has their membership terminated as a result of an ethics or behavioural issue, we do NOT refund membership fees.

Page updated on 15 December 2014