Having recently been asked to make a ruling again by both the Team Dennis Conner and Prada syndicates, the America's Cup Arbitration Panel was established to ensure the event didn't spend most of it's quality time in the courts settling disputes.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Yacht Club Punta Ala, the Defender and the Challenger of Record, appointed four of the five members of the Arbitration Panel for the XXXI America's Cup Regatta in Auckland, New Zealand. The four nominees then elected a fifth member of the panel. The panel is charged with resolving disputes associated with the Protocol for the XXXI America's Cup.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the Defender, selected Sir David Tompkins, a Retired and Acting Judge of the High Court at Auckland; and John Faire who is currently a Master of the High Court at Auckland, New Zealand. Both served as members of the Arbitration Panel during the America's Cup 2000.
Sir David Tompkins has had a distinguished legal career. He is a former Chancellor of Waikato University and a former Vice President of the New Zealand Law Society. Sir David is a member of the RNZYS and a cruising yachtsman.
John Faire is a past President of the New Zealand Yachting Federation and has been involved in yachting administration for more than two decades, including current responsibilities with the International Sailing Federation. He has won 15 New Zealand yachting championships.
The Yacht Club Punta Ala, the Challenger of Record, selected Donald Manasse, who lives in Monte Carlo and campaigns a J-24 in national and international regattas; and Professor Henry Peter who lives in Lugano, Switzerland. Both are lawyers with practical experience of international arbitration and yacht racing.
Donald Manasse has both American and German nationality and has a legal practice with offices in Nice and Monaco. He has sailed Stars, Rainbows and J-22s and is Vice President of the International J24 Class Association.
Professor Henry Peter also has dual nationalities - Swiss and French. He is a partner in a legal practice and professor of company and sport law at the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne of which he is head of the MBL programme. Professor Peter has been cruising and racing mostly in Switzerland, in the Mediterranean and in the English Channel since 1972.
In accordance with Article 22.5 of the America's Cup Protocol, the first four members of the Panel appointed The Honourable Michael Foster QC of Sydney, Australia to be the fifth member and the chairman.
Michael Foster has had a distinguished legal career. He is retired judge of the Federal Court of Australia and an acting Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
Michael Foster has had a life time interest in sailing and has been sailing on SydneyHarbour since he was 15 racing 12 foot and 16 foot skiffs. He has raced competitively in the Olympic Soling and International Yngling classes as well as being part owner of a cruising yacht. He is a member of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron having served on its executive for six years.