Section 1 – The Office of Mediation and Arbitration
1. The Office of Mediation and Arbitration (“the OMA”) is a Fleet Department responsible for impartially and fairly handling disputes between Fleet Members in accordance with the principles and guidelines outlined in the Manual for Player Disputes and Conflict Resolution (“the Manual”).
Section 2 – Personnel
1. The OMA will comprise the Director of the Office of Mediation and Arbitration (“the Director”) and if the circumstances warrant it, a Deputy Director.
2. Personnel of the OMA will be appointed by Joint Fleet Command (“JFC”).
3. The Director may prepare Operational Guidelines to regulate the operation of the OMA. The Operational Guidelines are subject to the approval of JFC.
Section 3 – Disputes
1. When a Fleet Member disputes an action against them, the matter is referred to the OMA for resolution, except in the circumstances provided for in Section 3.4.
2. The parties in the dispute may elect for the dispute to be settled via mediation or arbitration. The preferred method of resolution is via mediation. The consent of both is required to proceed to mediation, otherwise the dispute is resolved via arbitration.
3. For each dispute the Director will appoint an arbiter to facilitate and supervise the process and come to a decision. The Director will also assign a case number and name.
4. In a dispute between a player and another player on the same sim, the relevant sim Commanding Officer (“CO”) will mediate the dispute. In a dispute between a player and their CO, the relevant TFCO will mediate the dispute. If the dispute is on a TFCO’s sim, the TFCO will ask another TFCO to mediate the dispute. If these processes do not achieve a resolution that is agreeable to the parties involved in the dispute, then the matter can be taken to the OMA according to Section 3.1.
Section 4 – Mediation
1. The arbiter will obtain from the party who initiated the original action the background information that led the action and the reasons for it. The arbiter will then obtain from the party who initiated the dispute procedure their reasons for disagreeing with the action taken against them.
2. The arbiter will summarize the dispute and present it to each party, who may request adjustment to factual matters for accuracy. The arbiter may ask for additional information that may be required for clarification or to assist in bringing the case to a resolution.
3. The arbiter will then mediate a discussion between both parties that seeks a resolution to the dispute that is acceptable to both parties.
4. Once both parties have agreed on an acceptable resolution, the arbiter will publish the decision. The decision is binding on both parties. After the publication of the decision, if either party, upon reflection, becomes dissatisfied with the mediated decision, they may petition the arbiter to open the mediation process again. If the other party agrees, the mediation process resumes, otherwise the published decision stands.
5. If it becomes apparent to the arbiter that the mediation process, including any agreed resolution, has reached an impasse, they may suspend the mediation to allow for a period of composure and recollection, after which the mediation may resume. If the suspension fails to resolve the impasse, the arbiter may again suspend the mediation or will instead refer the matter to arbitration. The arbiter may suspend mediation a maximum of two times and if an impasse is not resolved, the arbiter is to refer the matter to arbitration. In exceptional circumstances, the arbiter may forgo the suspension of mediation and refer the matter to arbitration.
6. When the arbiter refers a mediation to arbitration, the Director will assign a new arbiter and the process will follow the provisions of Section 5.
Section 5 – Arbitration
1. The arbiter will obtain from the party who initiated the original action the background information that led to the action and the reasons for it. The arbiter will then obtain from the party who initiated the dispute procedure their reasons for disagreeing with the action taken against them, as well as additional information that the arbiter may request to assist them in bringing the case to a resolution.
2. The arbiter will summarize the dispute and present it to each party, who may request adjustment to factual matters for accuracy.
3. The arbiter will then render a decision on the matter that is fair and reasonable on the basis of the facts without consideration of the original action. The decision in binding on both parties.
4. Once both parties have elected arbitration they cannot elect mediation.
5. Abandonment of arbitration by the party who took the action being disputed will negate that action. Abandonment of arbitration by the party who initiated the dispute will cause the action being disputed to stand.
7. In a dispute where there was a serious breach of Fleet rules, or a breach of the Data Access Policy or the Equal Opportunities Policy, a panel of three arbiters will hear the dispute. The panel will be comprised of the Director who will serve as the chair of the panel and two Fleet Councillors.
8. In arbitration, where either or both parties, reasonably believe that they would be at a disadvantage in the process due to their inadequate knowledge of Fleet rules, policies, and procedures, they may request the appointment of an advisor to provide them with advice through the arbitration process. The arbiter may appoint an advisor from a list maintained by the Director.
Section 6 – Appeals
1. JFC will serve as the appeal body for arbitrations. Where JFC is a party to the dispute, the appeal body will be a committee of three Fleet Councillors who were not involved in the original decision. When the appeal body of Fleet Councillors is needed, the Director will select the members with the consent of JFC.
2. Appeals of an arbitration decision will be permitted when the decision is unfair and unreasonable, or there is a misapplication of Fleet rules. JFC will determine if there are sufficient grounds before allowing an appeal to proceed. Where JFC was a party to the dispute, the Director will determine if there are sufficient grounds before allowing an appeal to proceed.
3. The appeal body will hear the reasons of the appealing party. The appeal body may request to hear from the other party in the original decision, and in case of an arbitration, may seek input from the arbiter. The appeal body will then consider the original decision and the reasons of the appealing party and then make a decision. The decision may uphold the original decision, vary the original decision, or vacate the original decision.
Section 7 – Additional Matters
1. Prior decisions of the OMA are to be considered by arbiters in rendering a decision involving a dispute. Where circumstances in a prior dispute are similar to a current dispute, the prior decision should guide the arbiter in making a decision, and only disregarded in exceptional circumstances with a stated reason for doing so.
2. The OMA does not have power to compel participation in the dispute resolution process, however, failure to participate in the process may result in the process being abandoned by the Arbiter in favour of the cooperating party.
3. The OMA does not have the power to require the participation of third parties in the dispute resolution process or to compel parties to turn over personal information or communications.
4. The OMA does not have the power to discipline parties to a dispute for their conduct during the dispute resolution process. Where one of parties persistently shows disregard or distain for the dispute resolution process and the parties involved, the arbiter may declare the process abandoned in favour of the other party. In circumstances, where the behaviour of one of the parties is abusive, the arbiter may recommend to JFC that disciplinary action be taken.
5. Fleet Advisors who have a current understanding of Fleet rules, policies, and community, may serve as arbiters at the request of the Director, from a list maintained by JFC.
6. The Director may provide an advisory opinion on a question regarding Fleet rules or policies to JFC or a Fleet Councillor upon the request of JFC or a Fleet Councillor. Such opinions, if requested by a Fleet Councillor, will be published to the current designated mailing list maintained by JFC.