JUSTICE AND TD RULINGS.............. ( Article by Carp )
Many TD rulings require the use of both discretion and judgement. Either the incident is not adequately covered by Book rulings , or that Book rulings fail to provide an adequate resolution to the problem. The sole objective of a TD should be to administer justice, which in essence is giving to each side what they are due. The problem is knowing what is due ?
Indeed , an understanding of justice should be a prerequisite in any training programmes for TDs. For instance , justice requires that within the basic structure of fair play , benefit ( or the benefit of doubt ) should go to least advantaged. Experts can expect , and therefore see through , incorrect explanations of bids nervously stuttered out by inexperienced novices. In the same way they can spot a psych , they can always tell when a mis-description has taken place. Similarly , justice requires a balanced overview of the infraction incident , and subsequent dispute , free from bias and prejudice. Moreover , justice requires a certain rectitude of mind , whereby the TD does what ought to be done as opposed to what he feels should be done, given the particular set of circumstances confronting him.
Knowing what is due certainly involves administering either a deserved reward or punishment , and in some circumstances both. So when an infraction occurs it is vital to assess the degree of damage suffered by the injured pair. But this is no easy task. Damage may be impossible to quantify and decide upon , and if cannot be determined then how does one know what should be done to address the wrong to meet the deserving needs of the victims.
In the case of failing give a proper explanation to a bid, surely no reward should be given to the injured pair if it can be established that the infraction did not affect the result . In such circumstances no damage has been done. Often the victims know that the description is wrong or incomplete , and as a result they are not steered into making wrong assessments about the layout of the cards. Again , because no damage has been caused to them , it is far more likely that they will benefit from playing a pair who are bidding on different wavelengths.
Nevertheless justice does require imposing some form of punishment on those who break the rules, and even although victims should not be allowed to profit from an infraction which caused them no loss , the perpetrators need to be dealt with in an appropriate way. This course of action may be necessary if only to serve as a deterrent against repeated misdemeanours. Depending on their degree of experience , the extent of how the bid was incorrectly explained, previous history ( if any ), and whether or not they were a scratch or regular partnership, punishments should vary between a verbal reprimand and the forfeiting of imps or a percentage from their final score.