Expert Panel appointed to resolve .nz domain name disputes

Published on 17 Mar 2006

Eight people, including three former High Court judges, have been appointed to the Expert Panel which will, from 1 June, determine disputes over .nz domain name registrations.

Andrew Brown QC, who has accepted the role of Chair of the .nz Expert panel, said he was delighted with the make-up of the panel.

"The calibre of the inaugural Expert Panel is superb. Its members are all experienced decision makers and I'm sure it will result in a high quality, consistent dispute resolution service. A number of the Panel already have experience in deciding .com domain name disputes."

Andrew Brown is joined by:
o Hon Sir Ian Barker QC
o Clive Elliott
o Hon Robert Fisher QC
o Hon Barry Paterson QC
o Warwick Smith
o Terence Stapleton
o Dr Clive Trotman

The current lack of a resolution process means complainants must either negotiate directly with the holder of a disputed domain name or take the dispute to the High Court.

The new system was initially developed in Britain and is regarded as easy to use. Managed by the Office of the Domain Name Commissioner, it will be available on-line at www.dnc.org.nz from the date of implementation - 1 June 2006. The first step in the process is an informal mediation. If disputes can be resolved using appointed mediators, there is no cost to either party.

If parties to arguments over a .nz domain name cannot agree, the complainant can apply to an Expert for a determination. A fee of $1,800 +GST is payable, all of which goes to the Expert hearing the issue.

After the Expert's decision is released, both parties are offered an opportunity to lodge an appeal to be heard by the Panel chair and two other Experts. Andrew Brown said this is expected to happen only rarely. This would involve a fee of $6,600 + GST.

Frank March, Chair of InternetNZ's .nz Oversight Committee, said the current framework of policies for the .nz domain name space was now complete.

"The new service provides an independent and low-cost mechanism for dealing with disputes for domain name registrants."