Independent Review Process Standing Panel – Call to Action

9 March 2019
By Göran MarbyGöran Marby

As we work collectively to complete the full implementation of the updated Independent Review Process (IRP), ICANN organization seeks community inputs on the process for the selection of a standing panel to hear IRPs. There are still open questions on how ICANN’s Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) will coordinate their participation in the standing panel selection process. We welcome all inputs to a discussion forum that has been opened on the ICANN Community Wiki at https://community.icann.org/display/ESPFIRP.

The IRP is an accountability mechanism provided by the ICANN Bylaws that allows for third-party review of actions (or inactions) by the ICANN Board or staff that are allegedly in violation of the Bylaws or Articles of Incorporation. The IRP was updated through the work of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability, to make the IRP more transparent, efficient, and accessible, and designed to produce consistent and coherent results that will serve as a guide for future actions. One feature of the updated IRP is the establishment of a standing panel from which panelists shall be selected to preside over each IRP dispute as initiated. The ICANN Bylaws specify that ICANN shall, in consultation with the SOs and ACs establish the Standing Panel. (See Bylaws, Art. 4, Sections 4.3(j) and (k).)  As part of the process, the SOs and ACs must collectively agree on one slate of candidates for the standing panel to be submitted to the ICANN Board for approval.

While there was some initial cross-community consultation to coordinate how the standing panel could be established, we must make further progress in order to complete the seating of a standing panel. Some of the work to date includes ICANN org facilitation of meetings with SO/AC leaders in 2018, development a process roadmap for the establishment of the standing panel, and creation a document of pending issues to be decided by the SOs and ACs. The documentation reflecting the cross-community work to date is available on the Community Wiki site at: https://community.icann.org/display/ESPFIRP/Relevant+Documents

As a way to move this process along, ICANN org has published a series of questions designed to help resolve the pending issues. The questions are:

  • Qualifications for Standing Panelists: Are there specific qualifications that should be included? If so, what are they? Anything disqualifying? Should the SOs and ACs recommend qualifications? And if so, how?  
  • Identifying a Slate of Well-Qualified Panelists: We’ve heard concerns from some members of the ICANN community as to whether the broader community has the appropriate experience and skill for this selection work, and have suggested the possibility that ICANN instead contract with experts to perform this vetting process. Should the community rely on expertise to help vet and recommend a final slate for the standing panel?
  • Board Approval of Panel Slate – Further Questions: After there is a slate of well-qualified applicants, the Board must confirm the panel. If the Board has questions that might impact its confirmation, to whom should those questions be addressed? If experts are used to develop the slate, should the experts, the SOs and ACs, or some combination thereof be part of that conversation?
  • Future Selections: Should the process being designed today be reviewed for effectiveness after the first slating is completed, prior to making it standard operating procedure for future selection rounds?

We have put more detail to these questions here, and would appreciate your input be sent to the public email list: irp-standing-panel@icann.org. While we will monitor the responses as they come in, we encourage interested commenters to provide initial inputs by 15 April 2019. Once we have reviewed the comments submitted, we will follow up with another communication on next steps.


Göran Marby

Göran Marby

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
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