Thia is a letter which I sent to the Board on 31 May 2013:-
Christopher R Barron
Chairman Emeritus, GOProud
Objections for String .gay by GOProud
I have received a complaint in relation to the rejection of an objection to the string .gay lodged by the community group called GOProud. The objection was filed within time but then rejected because it exceeded the prescribed word length, by approximately 500 words. The notice of the rejection was sent to an email address which was not the one used to file the objection, and therefore notice of the rejection arrived later than expected, which meant that the amended objection was then not filed on time. GOProud made some enquiries about progress of their objection and assert they did not get any response until they were told the objection had been rejected. They make the point that if the rejection had been sent to the correct email address, they could have easily lodged the amended objection within time.
I am concerned about the fairness of such a decision to reject the objection, when there appears to be a valid reason why notice of the initial rejection was not received. It is of course possible for the objector and the applicant to meet to discuss the objection, which is contemplated by the objection process outlined in the guidebook. However my concern as the ombudsman, is that there is some unfairness in the subsequent rejection given the apparent error in the use of the wrong email. It seems to me that it would be relatively easy to unwind that decision, and permit the late filing of the objection. I can of course only make a recommendation, but in this case where there is some unfairness I think the matter should be revisited.
Please contact me if you have any queries about this matter. I believe a quick decision does need to be made.
I have sent a copy of this letter to the objector and to the applicant. I have already offered to facilitate or mediate the objection, but the position of GOProud is that they want the objection in place before they would consider such a process. Given the unfairness in the rejection, that does not seem to be an unreasonable position.