Board President Clarifies Waiver Policies

Meg Baron, President of the SCA, has issued a policy clarification letter for liability waivers at SCA activities. Meg Baron writes:

Greetings unto the esteemed members of the Society:

Questions continue to come in regarding waivers. Since some of these questions are of interest and importance to everyone, I thought it best to put forth yet another note to all of you regarding waivers.

  1. Waivers for Various Types of Activities

    Questions have been raised regarding whether the waiver policy applies to such activities as target archery practice. A Board ruling of several years ago established that waivers need not be signed for such practices.

    The key point distinguishing which "martial" activities require waivers at practices is the nature of the target. If blows/shots are typically aimed at a person, as is the case in armored combat, rapier combat, siege engines, and combat archery, then waivers are required at practices. If the target is inanimate, as in target archery and thrown weapons, then waivers are not required at practices.

    The exception to the above rule of thumb is equestrian activities. Waivers are always required for equestrian activities, including practices.

    Please note that this clarification applies to practices only! At events, every person walking in the gate must show a proof-of-waiver membership card or sign a waiver regardless of what they intend to do at the event.

    Also, please bear in mind that, as always, Kingdoms are free to set more stringent requirements than those imposed by Corporate policies. Therefore Kingdoms may choose to require waivers at archery or thrown weapons practices at their discretion. This may be required by local law or site owner requirements...and more caution is never a bad idea.

  2. Individual Waivers vs. Roster Waivers

    It is acceptable to use a roster-style waiver for adults at events and fighter/equestrian practices. A roster waiver allows several individuals to sign a single waiver, thus saving a lot of paper.

    A separate sheet (or sheets, if the number of attendees makes multiple pages necessary) must be used for each event or practice. They may not be carried over from one week's practice to the next. Both members without a blue card and non-members may sign on the same page - differentiation between the two is not necessary.

    A roster waiver must include the full text of the approved SCA waiver, with no changes, additions, or omissions. Of course, this text must be printed in a reduced size in order to accommodate multiple signers. A .pdf version of a roster waiver is available on the SCA's website here: http://www.sca.org/docs/rosterwaiver.pdf .

    Use of this form is highly encouraged. Note that there is a place at the top for the name and date of the event for which the roster is to be used. This should be filled in by event staff, or by the person in charge of collecting waivers at fighter practices. Please remember to fill in this information on every page if multiple pages of roster waivers are necessary for an event.

    Please note that rosters may NOT be used for minors. Each minor who does not have his or her own blue card must have an individual waiver completed for him or her at each and every event or practice.

    Please also note that it is NOT permissible for a person to sign a single waiver that will be good at fighter practices for a period of time, such as a semester. Per legal advice, a separate waiver must be completed for each practice or event unless the individual is a member of the SCA who can present valid proof that a waiver is on file in the Corporate office (a "blue card").

  3. Waivers for Minors

    This has been stated before, but it bears repeating, just so everyone is quite clear. A minor who is a member of the SCA Inc. in their own right (of any type - sustaining, associate, or family) and can present their (unexpired) blue card at the gate NEED NOT have an additional waiver signed for them to attend the event. The blue card is proof that their parent has signed a waiver for them, and it is on file in the SCA's corporate office. Kingdoms or individual events may impose more stringent requirements, as these may sometimes be required by site owners or local law, but a second waiver is not required by SCA corporate policies.

    The same is true for minors participating in combat-related activities at fighter practices. The minor should be treated just as anyone else would be treated in terms of waivers. If they have a blue card, that is acceptable proof of waiver. If not, their parent or Court-appointed legal guardian must complete a waiver for them at each and every practice in which the minor participates in combat-related activities.

    Note, however, that parents must be aware of the activities in which their children are participating. Please see SCA Corporate Policies, Section V., for rules regarding the authorization of minors for combat-related activities.

    Note also that, regardless of whether a waiver is needed, medical authorization is a completely separate issue. Minors who are attending an event without their parent(s) must have a medical authorization form designating a responsible adult who can authorize medical treatment for that child in an emergency. In many jurisdictions these must be notarized. Consult local law or the policies of local hospitals for more information.

  4. Waivers in the International Arena

    The Corporate Policies of the SCA Inc., section VI.A.2., specifies that members in countries other than the United States must comply with the Corporation's waiver policy unless the Board of Directors has either (1) approved an alternate waiver text specific to the country in question, or (2) accepted a letter of legal opinion stating that the waivers are not needed under the laws of the country in question.

    This policy applies to all countries that are part of the SCA Inc. As of this writing only two countries are not part of the SCA Inc. because they have their own national corporations that have a formal affiliation with the SCA Inc. and are recognized by the SCA Inc. Board of Directors. Those countries are Australia (incorporated as SCAA) and Finland (incorporated as SKA Finland). They set their own waiver policy internally as is appropriate under the laws of their country.

    No country has submitted an alternate waiver text. To date only one country - New Zealand - has submitted a legal opinion stating that the SCA Inc. waivers are inapplicable in that country. Therefore, the SCA Inc. waiver policy is at present in full force everywhere in the world with the exception of Australia, New Zealand, and Finland.

    It is important to note that residents of those countries should expect to comply with SCA Inc. waiver policy when they attend an event in countries which are part of the SCA Inc. Similarly, SCA Inc. members should expect to comply with whatever waiver policy is in effect in countries with a separate corporation when they attend an event in any of those countries.

    Keep those questions coming in!

    In service,

    Meg Baron
    >President, SCA Inc.

    Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:

    SCA Inc.
    Box 360789
    Milpitas, CA 95036

    You may also email comments@sca.org .

    Reprinted by permission.