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Public Comment: Proposed Bylaw Changes to Improve Accountability

27 July 2009

Update, September 25, 2009: The public comment period on this proposed bylaw change has been extended by two months, to 27 October 2009, to allow users of the translated versions to prepare and submit their views.

Two proposed accountability measures have been posted by direction of the Board for a total of 120 days of public comments, from 27 July 2009 through 27 November 2009. This is the latest step in the Improving Institutional Confidence process.

The first bylaw revision is a new mechanism called the "Community Re-Examination Vote". It would allow the ICANN community to request the Board to re-examine a Board decision taken by resolution.

The second proposal would revise one of the existing bylaws and replace the independent third-party review process with a more robust process, the "Independent Review Body".

These proposals represent a significant step forward in ICANN's already considerable accountability. The draft bylaw changes have been developed in response to community input to the President's Strategy Committee over the last 12 months.

You are invited to review the proposed changes to the ICANN Bylaws linked to on this page and provide your input to the public comments forum.

Details of proposed changes

1. Community Re-Examination Vote

The ICANN Bylaws currently set forth three mechanisms for accountability and review of ICANN Board decisions: (1) the Reconsideration Process, Article IV, Section 2; (2) the Independent Review Process, Article IV, Section 3; and (3) the Office of the Ombudsman, Article V.

The objective is for this procedure to allow the ICANN community to come together through the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees and vote for the Board to re-examine a Board decision taken by resolution.

The proposed Bylaws setting forth the Community Re-Examination Vote are available here [PDF, 53K]. The proposed bylaw changes are also available in 中文 [PDF, 56K], Español [PDF, 44K], العربية [PDF, 92K], Français [PDF, 40K], and Русский [PDF, 92K].

2. Independent Review Body

ICANN has an Independent Review Process in place, as established at Article IV, Section 3 (1) of the bylaws:

"ICANN shall have in place a separate process for independent third-party review of Board actions alleged by an affected party to be inconsistent with the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws."

The provider for the current Independent Review Process is the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR). (More detail about the Independent Review Process is available here: http://www.icann.org/en/general/accountability_review.html)

The existing review process is limited in scope, and focuses mainly whether the Board has followed ICANN's Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws when rendering a decision. The current review process relies mainly upon the concepts of fidelity and fairness.

However, following extensive and sustained public input on this issue, the PSC recommended a broadening of the review process to allow for review of the rationality of Board decisions as well.

The proposed changes that would create the Independent Review Body would allow reviews of both the rationality and the fairness of Board decisions. These concepts are described under the rubrics of Fairness, Fidelity and Rationality in the May 2009 the staff report ("Improving Institutional Confidence: The Way Forward" (http://www.icann.org/en/jpa/iic/iic-the-way-forward-31may09-en.pdf [PDF, 112K]).

The proposed amendments to the Bylaws setting forth the IRB process are available here [PDF, 153K]. The proposed amendments to the Bylaws are also available in 中文 [PDF, 184K], Español [PDF, 102K], العربية [PDF, 135K], Français [PDF, 105K], and Русский [PDF, 197K]. Please note: the attached document with the proposed bylaw text is presented in 'track changes' version to allow you to compare the proposed text to the existing text of the bylaws.

ICANN's legal staff expects the procedures and rules for the existing Independent Review Process would broadly serve the expanded scope of the IRB but that some revisions will be required to make them conform fully to the IRB bylaw provisions, if adopted.


The proposed new accountability measures are based on recommendations made to the Board by the President's Strategy Committee (PSC) in February 2009. At the Mexico City meeting in March 2009, the Board directed staff to produce implementation analysis of the PSC proposals.

On 31 May 2009, the report "Improving Institutional Confidence: The Way Forward" (http://www.icann.org/en/jpa/iic/iic-the-way-forward-31may09-en.pdf) was published for information and discussion ahead of the Sydney meeting in June 2009. This report included two detailed proposals for implementing the PSC's recommended bylaw changes to modify or create accountability and review mechanisms.

At the Sydney meeting in June 2009, the Board acknowledged this report and directed the opening of a 60-day period of public consultation on the proposed bylaw changes.

(For more information about the PSC's work, including previous documents and public comment periods, please visit: http://www.icann.org/en/jpa/iic/. Information about the PSC itself is at http://www.icann.org/en/psc)

Deadline and How to Submit Comments:

Public comments on these proposals will run for a total of 120 days, including an extra 60 days to allow users of translated versions of the proposed bylaws to contribute, from 27 July 2009 through 27 November 2009.

To submit comments:

Comments are welcome via email to: iic-proposed-bylaws@icann.org.

To view comments: An archive of all comments received will be publicly posted at: http://forum.icann.org/lists/iic-proposed-bylaws/