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Dealing with ccTLD Disputes

A proposed process for dealing with ccTLD delegation disputes



This document proposes the establishment of a set of processes to equitably resolve top level domain management delegation disputes.


The process will operate under and address the following principles:

  1. Country code top level domain managers will operate within a self-regulating environment.
  2. ccTLD managers require certainty and stability in ccTLD delegations
  3. There is a need for a process for resolving disputes which is far, open, understandable and acceptable to all.
  4. Decisions on delegation/redelegation should be made by the ccTLD management community as a whole and to a consistent set of accepted principles.
  5. All parties involved in disputes need to know that their point of view will be fairly heard.

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The Proposal

Disputes will be submitted to the Country-Code DNS Authority (CDA) which will develop a process and a set of frameworks (principles and guidelines) within which a dispute may be adjudicated and resolved in a fair and equitable manner.The process will comprise:

  1. A submission process which will allow a complainant to submit an issue to the Authority within a set framework.
  2. A qualification process by which a complaint will be accepted by the CDA.
  3. A process by which a Tribunal will be elected from the CDA members to adjudicate the complaint and come to a decision.
  4. A framework which might be applied to each dispute to ensure that all complaints are dealt with in a consistent and fair manner.
  5. A process to ensure that all sides have their cases heard in a fair and open environment.
  6. A process by which Tribunal decisions are ratified by a super-majority of the CDA
  7. An appeals process which will allow parties in a dispute to:
    1. add 'outside' individuals to a new Appeals Tribunal.
    2. provide a framework for the Appeals Tribunal to 're-hear' the complaint.
    3. provide a process by which the CDA can ratify the decision of the Appeals Tribunal.

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The Tribunal

  • The Tribunal will comprise five, seven or ten members of the CDA who have put themselves forward as available for this work.
  • A new Tribunal will be elected from the 'pool' of volunteers for each new complaint or appeal.
  • The Tribunal will be required to bring down an explicit judgement for each complaint within the framework provided.
  • The members of each Tribunal will elect their own chair.
  • If a Tribunal is unable to arrive at a decision, a new Tribunal will be elected - until a decision is reached.

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The Appeals Tribunal

  • The Appeals Tribunal will be newly elected for each new appeal.
  • The Appeals Tribunal will be the same basic size and composition as the original Tribunal and will be elected from the same pool of volunteers
  • No individeual who served on the original Tribunal may sit on the Appeals Tribunal
  • The Appeals Tribunal may endorse, overturn or modify the findings of the original tribunal.If the Appeals Tribunal cannot reach a decision the original findings will stand.

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Adjudication Frameworks

Adjudication Frameworks will comprise

A set of Principles, in order of importance, which should be applied to the final decision.

A set of scenario frameworks which would look at standard complaint formats and the questions and desired outcomes which should be applied to in each case. e.g.: ccTLD being managed by 'outside' individual/organisation and the National Government//Territorial Authority 'wants their name back'


  1. Has the user community complained about the manager's stewardship? (Desired answer 'no')
  2. Is the manager a 'good manager' in the sense of RFC 1591? (Desired answer 'yes')
  3. Is the manager operating the domain on a not for profit basis or returning a reasonable share of the profits to the country community? (Desired answer 'yes')
  4. Was the delegation properly allocated to the current manager? (Desired answer 'yes')
  5. Has the manager put in place an appropriate and effective operational structure for zone file updates & management, billing and customer support? (Desired answer 'yes')
  6. Is the manager abusing a dominant position in the market place? (Desired answer 'no')

(The above questions will carry some weighting)

If 'X' or more questions fail, the tribunal will examine the complainant's alternative within the following framework:

  1. Does the alternative have proper status? (are they legitimate government of the country in question) (Desired answer 'yes')
  2. Does the complainant have a structure or process to guarantee that a future monopoly abuse situation will not come about? (Desired answer 'yes')
  3. Is the complainant, or the complainant's alternative, capable and have the access to the necessary technology to operate a DNS? (Desired answer 'yes')
  4. Is the complaint's alternative financially viable and secure (Desired answer 'yes')
  5. Is the complainant's alternative acceptable to the user community in question? (Desired answer 'yes')
  6. In the opinion of the Tribunal, will the complainant be a 'good' manager of the domain (in relation to RFC1591)?

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Decision Process

The Tribunal will assess the information obtained in response to the above questions as well as any other information received pertaining to the complaint.Their decision will be made within the terms of the Overarching Principles which follow and may be:

  • To re-delegate the ccTLD
  • To leave the ccTLD with the existing manager
  • Either of the above with modifications to the approach of the complainants alternative or the Existing Manager.

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Overarching Principles

The principles below must be taken into account before the Tribunal releases its decision:

  1. Is the Tribunals decision likely to cause or sustain a fundamental injustice?
  2. Will the decision disadvantage the community of interest to a greater extent than any perceived advantage which might accrue to anyone?
  3. Will the decision breach law in the country in question?
  4. Will the decision damage the fabric of the Internet?

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  1. Once the decision has been made, it will be put to the whole CDA for ratification which will require a vote with a super-majority vote of 70%.
  2. Should ratification not be given, a new Tribunal will be elected and the Process will start over.
  3. If the existing manager or the complainant is dissatisfied with the Tribunal's decision they may, within 7 days, initiate the Appeal Provision.
  4. If an unchallenged decision is reached this will be passed to ICANN immediately, or within any time frame embodied in the decision, for implementation within the terms of the country code Domain Name Authority's contract with ICANN.

© 2000 The Internet Society of New Zealand
Last updated 14 April 2000

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