But then, as last season started and gained momentum, the proceedings began to slow down, and many have noticed that things have been very quiet over the last few months. It is now time to dust off the courthouse and put a great idea back on track.
But first of all let's have a reminder of the exact aim of this Court. As described on the BB front page, it is:
The meaning of this is that while we of course wish to see everyone involved in the proceedings, the Court does not work like any regular discussion forum. Let me describe the principles behind that:
"the place to settle new and long-standing racing issues and arguments. Watch the Atlas F1 'legal' system at work, as BB members present their cases to our panel of judges."
[list=1][*]Anyone can submit a case to the Court by sending it to email@example.com. The submission must include a very general and concise explanation of what the plaint is. I wish to stress that the latter has to be something open to discussion. For example, having a case on the responsibility of Schumacher in the 1997 Jerez incident would be pointless since he himself admitted the fault to be his.
[*]The permanent panel of Judges will review each case submitted, and if found suitable, it will be accepted for a hearing. A Judge and an opening date will be set. If a case is found unsuitable, and e-mail will be sent to the one who submitted it with an explanation of why it was rejected (example: a case against a BB poster will NOT be accepted).
[*]While in most cases the Judge will be selected within our permanent panel of Judges, in some cases an outside judge could be appointed. This will be at the discretion at the panel, and the pre-selected member will be contacted privately to see if he is interested on seating on a particular case.
If the scope of a case requires so, a second judge will be appointed in order to assist the main one, who will still have the final say regarding the verdict.
[*]When a case is accepted, the appointed Judge will then open a new thread. The opening post will be the announcement on the new case brought in front of the Court, and details of the timeframe for all sides to present their arguments. Hearings will usually take place for a period of 14 days, but the residing Judge may choose to lengthen that period if needed.
[*] Thereafter, the plaintiff, those who support his claim and those who oppose it, will be able to post arguments and evidence. Their posts, however, will be pre-moderated and only those posts that are relevant to the case will be added to the thread. Furthermore, irrelevant content will be edited (and that includes addressing others personally). The only content to make its way into the case's thread will be directly relevant to the case at hand.
[*] The Judge is also an investigative magistrate, and therefore can - and will - ask questions and request clarifications from the posters who bring forth arguments and evidence. If someone posts an argument that the judge feels needs to be questioned, then by all means he should.
[*] At the closing time allotted for the case (e.g. 14 days), the thread will be locked for the period taking the Judge(s) to reach his verdict and write a thorough account of how he reached this decision. The Judge will always announce when he is planning to give his verdict, based on the amount of evidence to review. The locked thread will be opened only to add the decisions of the judges, and the case - and thread - will be closed.
[*] To avoid a situation where too many cases are going on at once, there will only be several cases at a time, depending on how much is going on. Other cases that were accepted by the court will be pending until a prior case has ended.
[*] Throughout the period of a case hearing, people can talk about the case all they want in Readers Comments. However, the judges will take into account only those arguments and evidence brought forth in the "Atlas F1 Court" itself.
As what happened last year shown, the tempo of the Atlas F1 Court is meant to be a slow one. Therefore, don't expect the forum to be updated fast, as it is in no way meant to be realtime discussion. New posts added will await in the moderation queue to be added by the judges, which means you must allow time for a pending argument to be added.
For this new season, some fresh Judges have been added to the team, but before I introduce you the members of our permanent panel, let me say a few things first. As bira stated last year when opening the court, there's no such thing as a Judge without an opinion. The important part of being a judge - and a good one - is to be a responsible, reasonable and respected person. Personal flavour and personal acquaintances with the posters will be put aside. And as I think last year proved, the verdicts reached were done so without being tarnished by any kind of bias. I am confident it will stay the same.
The members of our permanent panel of Judges are: baddog, Billy, david_martin, Jackman, Marcel Schot, and yours truly. While part of the panel, I will not sit as main judge on any of the cases being selected.
I have no doubt that we will do as great a job as the one already done in the previous cases submitted to the Court over the course of its short existence. But this work will be nothing without the articulate and in-depth contribution of all the Atlas F1 members. As always, everything you think can contribute to the understanding of a case is welcome, like quotes, statistics, images, explanations, etc... Personal references, chit-chat are left for the other forums, and for the chatroom. The courtroom is solely for examining motor racing cases, one at a time.
Once again, everyone is invited to argue for or against a case!
The Atlas F1 Court is now officially back in session, and pending verdicts will be posted very shortly.