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Rules of Procedure for the DNSO Names Council, Version 7

Last Updated:

Amended (new item 8) 26 February 2001
Amended (new item 3 and re-numbering) 11 July 2001
Amended (new item 9, 10, 11) 13 December 2001
Amended (new item 12) 10 April 2001 (added Jan 2002)
Amended (new item 13) 18 April 2002


  1. NC Chair
  2. Conduct of NC meetings
  3. NC committees and task forces
  4. Intake committee
  5. Proxies
  6. Approval of the summary of NC meetings
  7. Recording of NC meetings
  8. Absences
  9. Consensus policy development
  10. Procedures for working groups
  11. Criteria for establishing new DNSO constituencies
  12. Sanctions procedure
  13. E-mail voting

1. NC Chair

1.1 Election The NC Chair will be elected by the members of the NC by simple majority vote and will hold office for a period of six months. One renewal, subject to a fresh vote, of six months will be allowed. A retiring Chair will not be eligible for re-election for a period of one year.

1.2 Meeting schedules The NC Chair will finalise a schedule of all meetings during a calendar year by the last day of January of that year. NC members may request changes to the schedule during the year which may be agreed upon by the Chair in consultation with the NC, subject to the minimum period of notice below.

2. Conduct of NC meetings

2.1 Meetings Schedule In compliance with by-law VI-B 2(h), meetings must be scheduled by the NC Chair with at least 14 days notice, except in emergency situations which shall be decided upon by the Intake Committee. In any given year, the time of the meetings may vary to accommodate the different geographic regions represented by Names Council members. By way of guidance start times corresponding to local times for the Names Council members earlier than 06.00 and later than 23.00 should be avoided where possible.

2.2 Voting In compliance with by-law VI-B 2(h), voting will be simple majority vote. To pass a motion must attain a majority of the votes cast. Abstentions count as votes cast. This has the effect of making an abstention count the same as a vote against.

2.3 Quorum In compliance with by-law VI-B 2(h), a majority of the total number of NC members then in office constitutes a quorum. Proxy votes shall not count toward the presence of a quorum.

2.4 Speaking at meetings Both at physical and telephone meetings the NC Chair will recognise three types of intervention in the following order of priority:

  1. A point of order
  2. A point of information
  3. A normal substantive intervention

At a physical meeting, an NC member may raise a hand or during a teleconference an NC member may speak over the dialogue and say immediately "point of order". The Chair will suspend discussion and hear the point. Points of information and normal interventions. At a physical meeting, an NC member may raise a hand and wait to be recognised by the Chair and during a teleconference an NC member may speak in an appropriate gap and say immediately "their name to speak". This will be noted by the Chair who will invite the intervention in due course. To ensure balance, the Chair has the discretion to delay an intervention by a frequent speaker to allow others to speak. By way of guidance for the Chair, a NC member is not expected to speak for more than three minutes at a time and the Chair should solicit the views of other NC members before returning to the same speaker on any one issue. Such discretion should not be exercised for a "point of information". A point of information is for NC members seeking information from the Chair or other NC members about meaning or procedure - it is specifically not intended to provide information.

2.5 Seating During in-person meetings, the NC Chair should be located so he/she can see all members. The NC endorses a better seating arrangement for inter-NC communication than the "panel on a platform" favoured to date by host venues.

3. NC committees and task forces

3.1 Types From time to time the NC may form sub-groups. These are typically of three types. Each type may form and be responsible for further sub-groups from within their membership. The composition of these groups shall follow the spirit of the ICANN Bylaws with regard to geographic diversity a) Interim committee - a preparatory group of around 3-5 NC members from different constituencies charged with turning an idea into a proposed action plan or writing terms of reference. The interim committee is dissolved following NC adoption of its output and/or the setting up of a new group to act upon that output. b) Committee - a small group of around 3-5 from different constituencies which has typically been delegated a limited authority from the NC. c) Task Force - a group equally representative of each NC constituency (typically one from each) and typically charged with forming a recommendation to the NC or implementing an agreed NC action plan.

3.2 Chair The chair of an interim committee, committee or task force is appointed by the NC. In the case of a task force the NC typically chooses to ratify the election of a chair by the task force itself. The chair must be an NC member.

3.3 Composition of committees and task forces Both type-b committees and type-c task forces may comprise NC members and/or nominees from outside of the NC provided that: a) the nominee is nominated by a member of the NC and be a member of the nominees' constituency or, where there is GA involvement, be nominated by the chair of the GA and be a member of the GA b) a constituency nominee has the support of the three NC members of the constituency c) the nominee is not also a member of the same ICANN-relevant organisation as an NC member on the task force, the NC member taking priority at any time d) no two nominees are members of the same ICANN-relevant organisation, the first nominee taking priority e) there are at least two NC members of the task force from different constituencies f) regardless of the number of members of the group no constituency nor the general assembly may have more than one vote g) where authority has been delegated by the NC, a simple majority must be NC members, those NC members hold the delegated authority and only those NC members can vote. Note: An ICANN-relevant organisation is defined as one that any NC member considers to be ICANN-relevant.

3.4 Working group In addition to the above groups the NC will from time to time form a DNSO working group (WG) with a membership open to all DNSO participants. The WG objective is to formulate positions on policies, facilitate the development of consensus support for policies and to produce a report to the NC highlighting these positions and level of support. See the separate Procedures for Working Groups for full detail [in preparation].

3.5 Variations Specific variations to the above guidelines may exist within the DNSO rules of procedures, such specific variations taking precedence. Any other variation requires the approval of the NC.

4. Intake committee

4.1 Objective The Intake Committee (IC) is responsible for proposing the agenda for NC meetings.

4.2 Composition The IC should be selected only from members of the Names Council. It should be small and flexible to facilitate meetings and discussion. It should be comprised of an odd number of NC members not greater than five. Members should be rotated from time to time.

4.3 Agenda proposals for NC meetings Any of the following persons can make proposals for NC agenda items by e-mail to

  • members of the Names Council
  • the Names Council secretariat
  • the ICANN Board
  • members of the ICANN Board
  • the ICANN officers and staff
  • the GA Chair � members of the General Assembly (GA) defined as subscribers to the, or the GA voting register
  • subscribers to an active DNSO ad hoc working group There will be a limit of one posting per entity per day and the IC shall have sole discretion to deal with abusive activity. Intake suggestion e-mails for any meeting will be publicly archived after the end of the meeting in question

4.4 Agenda preparation The IC shall be responsible for:

  • drafting and prioritising NC agendas � combining agenda items with a common theme
  • delaying or rejecting proposed items or passing them onto more appropriate bodies if they are not relevant NC issues

In order for a topic to appear on the NC agenda being prepared by the IC, it must be presented to the IC no later than 21 days before the meeting. The IC shall propose a guillotine (time limit) for each agenda item. IC members are encouraged to remind the Chair of these limits during a meeting if necessary. The IC shall send the agenda for a meeting no later than 15 days before the meeting to the NC secretariat and NC Chair. The agenda may be changed at the discretion of the NC Chair, who will make reference to the change in the new agenda. The agenda, once seen by the Chair, will be posted by the Secretariat within one working day of receiving the IC agenda. Where there is disagreement within the IC issues will be settled by a simple majority vote or referred to the NC at the discretion of the IC Chair. When there are items which have been rejected for agenda inclusion by the IC, NC members shall have 7 days to submit an objection which will count as a vote against the IC rejection. Non-votes will be deemed an acceptance of the IC's decision, and a majority of the votes shall rule.

4.5 Last minute. In case of issues arising subsequent to the above timetable, NC members will be able to propose items for any other business at the start of an NC meeting. Such items will be accepted for discussion that day or deferred to the IC at the discretion of the NC Chair.

4.6 Reports and declarations No later than 7 days before the NC meeting, all reports or proposed declarations relating to forthcoming agenda items must be distributed to the NC.

4.7 Exceptions The Intake Committee shall have the sole discretion to deviate from these procedures when externalities dictate.

5. Proxies

5.1 Eligibility Only elected Names Council members may cast a proxy vote on behalf of another Names Council member.

5.2 Notification In advance. Any Names Council member may designate a Names Council member as his/her proxy by e-mail to the council list (or by telephone to the Names Council Secretariat). During a meeting. If the Names Council member is able to participate in a Names Council telephone conference but has cause to leave the call the Names Council member may then designate a proxy representative.

5.3 Acceptance The designated Names Council member must confirm willingness to exercise the proxy by confirming acceptance by e-mail to the Council List or by voice during a meeting.

5.4 Revocation A Names Council member may revoke the proxy designation at any time in advance by sending an e-mail to the Council list or by voice during a meeting.

5.5 Names Council member incommunicado When a Names Council member ceases to be contactable (defined as either notification of e-mail delivery failure or non-response to notified e-mail or telephone, for three consecutive weeks), the Constituency of that member has the right (subject to the existence of Constituency procedures) to designate one of its other elected constituency Names Council members as interim proxy holder for the Names Council member incommunicado. In such a situation, the Constituency will act promptly to locate the Names Council member incommunicado, and/or to replace the member. Should the Names Council member (previously incommunicado) notify the Names Council Secretariat either by e-mail or by telephone of new contact details then the interim proxy will be revoked.

6. Approval of the summary of NC meetings

6.1 Timetable In compliance with by-law VI-B 2(h) summaries of NC meetings should be made public within 21 days of an NC meeting.

6.2 Procedure

  1. Within seven days of an NC meeting, the Secretariat will forward draft summary to the NC Chair
  2. Within 10 days of the meeting, the Chair will approve the draft and request the Secretariat to circulate the draft summary to NC members for comment and approval. If no comment is received within seven days, the minutes will be deemed to have been approved for posting
  3. All comments received from NC members will be incorporated in the summary unless there are objections from other NC members
  4. Where there are objections, the Chair will attempt to resolve the issue (by reference to the audio transcript if any) and secure agreement from the relevant NC members. If agreement is not achieved, the Chair will determine the final version of the minutes and may note areas in which agreement has not been achieved
  5. The Chair will ensure the above procedure is complete and an approved version of the summary is circulated and made public within 21 days of the relevant meeting
  6. In accord with by law III-2(a) the formal approval of the summary will be at the following meeting of the Names Council

7. Recording of NC meetings

7.1 Scribe Until such time as the DNSO has internal staff support that is sufficient to provide these services, the Chair, or in the Chair's absence, the ICANN Secretary in conjunction with the AFNIC Project Manager, are requested to procure and, at reasonable cost, compensate, a scribe for each teleconference or other Names Council meeting. The NC Chair and ICANN Secretary are further requested to report periodically to the NC on the costs incurred.

7.2 Duties of scribe The scribe will prepare minutes of each meeting and the taking and maintenance of an audio recording of each meeting.

7.3 Disputes If any NC member disputes what he or she has said in the resulting draft minutes, a transcript of the relevant portion of the audio recording shall be prepared and made available to the NC before its formal approval of the minutes.

8. Absences

When a names council member fails to participate in two regular consecutive NC meetings without notification of absence to the DNSO secretariat or NC chair or Council list, the DNSO secretariat will notify the constituency and ask for a response.

9. Consensus policy development

  1. action of the ICANN Board of Directors establishing the specification or policy, Same
  2. a recommendation, adopted by at least a two-thirds vote of the council of the ICANN Supporting Organization to which the matter is delegated, that the specification or policy should be established, Same. A 2/3 vote of the Names Council following one of the two processes specified below
  3. a written report and supporting materials (which must include all substantive submissions to the Supporting Organization relating to the proposal) that
    1. documents the extent of agreement and disagreement among impacted groups,
    2. documents the outreach process used to seek to achieve adequate representation of the views of groups that are likely to be impacted, and
    3. documents the nature and intensity of reasoned support and opposition to the proposed policy. Such a report is written after:eitherThe Names Council establishes a working group as specified in section 10, the working group invites participation, the working group produces reports as specified in section 10.Or The Names Council establishes a task force of its members, that task force outreaches to impacted groups, the task force produces an interim report subject to a public comment period and submits a final modified report with content as specified in section 10 art.14, to the NC.

10. Procedures for working groups

10.1 Definition of working group

A working group is a group established by the Names Council (NC) of the Domain Name Supporting Organisation (DNSO) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at its own initiative or by way of considering a petition from the General Assembly, and charged with a specific task.

10.2 Objective

The objective of a Working Group is to:

  1. formulate positions on policies,
  2. facilitate the development of consensus support for policies
  3. produce a report to the NC highlighting these positions and level of support.

10.3 Membership

Working Groups are open to all DNSO participants defined as follows: - members of the Names Council - the Names Council secretariat - members of the ICANN Board - the ICANN officers and staff - the GA Chair and Co-Chair - members of the General Assembly (GA) defined as subscribers to the, or the GA voting register.

Persons new to the ICANN process who wish to participate in a working group will be asked to join the ga-announce list to qualify for membership.

Working Group membership is open throughout the life of the Working Group.

10.4 Criteria

Before establishing a working group the Names Council will consider the following criteria: a) whether the issue is relevant to the mission of the DNSO b) the need for a consensus policy c) whether the issue overlaps with that of an existing Working Group d) whether there is sufficient interest within the DNSO in the issue and enough people willing to expend the effort to produce the desired result e) whether there is enough expertise within the DNSO on the issue.

10.5 Terms of reference

The Names Council will nominate an individual or establish a small interim committee to draft terms of reference (a charter) which will at minimum specify:

  1. a narrow and achievable objective
  2. a timeframe for achieving the objective
  3. a set of interim objectives by which to measure progress
  4. a member of the Names Council who will act as a Supervisory Chair
  5. a short descriptive name for the Working Group

The draft terms will be posted to the NC list and the DNSO ga-announce mailing list as a public notice that the formation of the Working Group is being considered. After a review period lasting at least a week the NC, after reviewing comments, will approve the original or modified terms. Following this the DNSO secretariat will establish:

  • a mailing list or such other electronic forum
  • a procedure for subscribing and un-subscribing to the Working Group
  • a dedicated web page on the DNSO web site (
  • an accessible mailing list archive

10.6 Supervisory Chair and WG Chair

The Supervisory Chair has five key functions:

  1. to be responsible for the initial establishment of the WG
  2. to act as returning officer for holding elections for a WG chair. These elections should take place early but not too early once WG participants have got to know one another. Specifically, a vote to choose such a person from early group participants whose chairing abilities may be unknown should be avoided. The Supervisory Chair may themselves stand for election in which case another NC member will supervise the election
  3. to take on all the responsibilities of the Chair especially including the start of substantive discussion, until the election is complete
  4. to provide frequent liaison with the Names Council
  5. to ensure the WG Chair is fulfilling his/her responsibilities

The WG Chair's key functions are:

  1. to be responsible for fulfilling the terms of reference in the time specified,
  2. to be responsible for working group discipline, focus and achievements,
  3. to prepare and chair face-to-face and on-line sessions,
  4. to ensure that the Working Group operates in an open and fair manner,
  5. to ensure that discussions are relevant (the Chair should propose a set of topics for e-mail subject headers),
  6. to intervene to stop off-topic communication,
  7. to summarise outcomes of each issue,
  8. to achieve interim and final objectives in conformance with the terms of reference.

    And for face to face meetings the WG Chair is required:

  9. to ensure an attendance list is made,
  10. to publish a short report on the session within 10 days.

The WG Chair and the Supervisory Chair report to the Names Council.

10.7 Removal of the Supervisory Chair or Working Group Chair

In the event that the WG Chair:

  1. acts contrary to these rules and procedures or beyond the scope set forth in the Working Group's terms of reference, or
  2. fails to achieve interim results

then the Supervisory Chair after consultation with the Names Council, upon the reasonable request of one or more Working Group members, shall have the authority to remove and hold elections for another WG Chair.

In the event that the Supervisory Chair:

  1. acts contrary to these rules and procedures or beyond the scope set forth in the Working Group's terms of reference, or
  2. fails to fulfil the responsibilities of a Supervisory Chair, as set forth above,

then the Names Council shall have the authority to remove and appoint another Supervisory Chair.

10.8 New Ideas

New ideas that are on-topic will be made in a new thread with a subject heading that succinctly and clearly identifies its subject matter. Ideas that are off topic will be pointed out by the WG Chair and stopped.

10.9 Procedural questions

Any member of the Working Group may raise a question to the WG Chair or the Supervisory Chair that relates to the procedures of the group (a point of order). Any procedural question which is not answered to the satisfaction of the person asking it should be directed to the NC Intake Committee for consideration.

10.10 Voting

From time to time progress will be advanced by holding straw polls to determine the majority view. A motion to approve a draft proposal or report (or any section thereof) may be made by any member of the Working Group. Once seconded and approved by the WG Chair, such motion shall be put to a vote of the Working Group members. In such an event, the WG Chair shall poll the Working Group members. Motions that receive a majority of votes cast shall be deemed approved.

Consensus. Because of the diverse nature of open working groups the results of any vote will be taken solely to assist with progress within the group. A majority vote of a working group should be described as a majority vote of a working group. No claim to DNSO stakeholder consensus should be attributed to such a vote.

10.11 Real time work

Working Group members or subsets of the group may meet in real-time (in person or via a form of electronic conferencing). Decisions reached or drafts developed during real-time meetings must be reviewed on the mailing list or other forum.

10.12 Proposal development

Groups drafting position statements should publish them to the WG. Groups submitting interim position statements should be free to revise those statements after reading the reports or others. Working Groups should publish the position statements for a period of comment, specifically seeking comments not only on the substance of the positions but also on impact and cost issues. These positions papers should not be the end result of the Working Group's efforts, but should serve as tools for finding common ground and addressing concerns of specific groups. Working Group members should strive to make compromises when appropriate.

10.13 Disputes and role of an interim report

Many conflicts can be resolved by simple votes. The majority view goes forward and is documented in an interim report. However, where in the opinion of the WG Chair, there is a significant minority proposal, this proposal should also be documented in the interim report of the Working Group. The interim report should contain:

  1. an abstract of all proposals which achieved a meaningful level of support,
  2. a clear statement of what is being proposed and its underlying rationale,
  3. an analysis of who and what systems might be impacted by the proposal,
  4. the specific steps that would be necessary to take to implement the proposal,
  5. the costs and risks, if any, of implementing the proposal and how they would be borne, and
  6. a statement of which stakeholders have been consulted about the proposal and what support the proposal has in the various stakeholder communities.

10.14 Draft final report

The goal of the Working Group process is to produce a Report containing recommendations for submission to the NC.

The Report should contain the following sections:

  1. Executive summary of not more than 1000 words
  2. Terms of reference
  3. Conclusion - a clear and concise statement of the proposal discussed in the Working Group and the conclusion reached
  4. Impact analysis - a full analysis of who might be impacted, including other supporting organisations, and in what ways, by such a policy
  5. Constituency impact reviews - a summary and analysis of evidence provided by DNSO constituencies
  6. Record of outreach - a record of outreach to any segment of the Internet community that might be affected by the proposed policy
  7. Minority reports - a fair statement of points in opposition and a substantive analysis of their merits and the intensity of the opposition
  8. Supporting arguments - a summary of the best arguments for adoption of the policy
  9. Risk/Cost analysis - an analysis of the risks and costs of the proposed policy

10.15 Publication and comment period

The interim report should be published to the General Assembly, Names Council and Constituency secretariats for debate, comment and criticism and the resulting feedback incorporated into a Final Report. The Working Group shall provide such comment period as is reasonable considering the complexity, importance, and urgency of the policy under consideration.

10.16 Final report

The final report shall be submitted by the WG Chair to the Names Council within the time frame specified in the terms of reference.

10.17 Termination

Working Groups will be disbanded automatically on completion of their task or disbanded by the Names Council earlier if deadlock is evident.

10.18 Revising the terms of reference

The terms of reference may be re-visited by the Names Council on the request of the WG Chair or the Supervisory Chair.

11. Criteria for establishing new DNSO constituencies

11.1 Need

  • What need would the proposed new constituency fill?
  • What would the proposed new constituency bring to the DNSO that is now lacking?

11.2 Common Interest

  • What commonality of interest would the members of the proposed new constituency share?

11.3 Distinction

  • How much overlap in membership is there likely to be between the proposed new constituency and existing constituencies, the General Assembly and other parts of ICANN?

11.4 Representation

  • How representative of the stated common interest would the proposed new constituency be?
  • What steps have the proponents of the proposed new constituency taken to establish a hierarchy of representativeness and openness within the proposed new constituency?

11.5 Alternatives

  • Are there alternative means of fulfilling the stated need besides recognition of a new constituency?
  • Are there other places within the ICANN structure where this need could be fulfilled?

11.6 Organisation on a global scale

  • What steps have the proponents of the proposed new constituency taken to organise the proposed new constituency?
  • Have the proponents of the proposed new constituency demonstrated the capability to command the financial and human resources required by a constituency?

11.7 Support within the DNSO

  • What steps have the proponents of the proposed new constituency taken to seek support from existing constituencies?

11.8 Impact assessment

  • What would be the impact of the proposed new constituency on existing constituencies?
  • What would be the impact of the proposed new constituency on the finances and administration of the DNSO?
  • What would be the impact of the proposed new constituency on policy formation within the DNSO?

12. Sanctions procedure

The Council introduced a sanctions scheme in 2001. The scheme applies immediately. The scheme applies to all past debts but the clock does not start running on past debts until the first letter is issued.

From the date that invoices are mailed/e-mailed to representatives of Constituencies, if payment is not received by the DNSO or its agent by:

  • 30 days: the Constituency is sent a reminder letter and another invoice
  • 60 days: the Constituency is sent a delinquency notice and the delinquency notice is posted on the DNSO Website
  • 90 days: the Constituency is sent a "show cause notice" (in which they are asked to show cause as to why their voting rights in the Names Council should not be suspended) and they are charged a 5% late payment fee to cover the cost to the DNSO of the cost of money. The 5% penalty is added to that Constituency's dues for the next (not the current) DNSO budget year and used only for the Names Council's "Reserve Fund."
  • 120 days: the Constituency is sent a "final notice to pay" and charged an additional 5% late payment fee, which is also due as a added payment for their next year's DNSO dues and also used for the "Reserve Fund"
  • 180 days: the voting rights, but not the right to participate, of that Constituency's representatives to the Names Council are suspended until such time as the DNSO or its agent receives all past due amounts including any late payment fees.

These procedures are designed to conform with the ICANN Bylaws and provide progressively greater pressure on Constituencies that fail to pay their DNSO dues in a timely way. They are also designed to ensure that Constituencies that pay promptly do not subsidise those who pay late by imposing late payment fees on late payers.

13. E-mail voting

13.1 The DNSO secretariat will typically act as returning officer for an e-mail vote. All votes using the DNSO secretariat voting software have resource implications. Any vote of the NC or General Assembly (GA) undertaken by the DNSO secretariat must be requested by the Names Council chair.

The NC chair will not ordinarily refuse a request for a vote from the chair of the GA for a GA vote, so long as the number of requests are for ten or fewer votes per year. More than this number may have cost implication from overtime or other costs above that expected in the annual DNSO secretariat budget. If a request is refused, the GA chair is entitled to request NC discussion for the next ordinary meeting of the NC; the GA chair shall participate in such discussion. If the NC fails to honour such a request for discussion, the GA's request for a vote shall be considered granted.

13.2 The voting period for any vote will ordinarily be 14 calendar days. In exceptional circumstances it may be shorter. A reminder will be sent out two or three days before the end of the vote reminding the registered voters to vote before the close of the vote. The returning officer should confirm receipt of vote back to all voters. If a voter does not receive a receipt within one working day then the onus is on the voter to contact the returning officer and if necessary vote by telephone. Once the vote is closed, the address to which the ballot is sent is no longer valid and an out-of-time vote will be returned to sender. The result of the e-mail vote will be declared as soon as practicable once known.

13.3 Names Council e-mail votes. ICANN by-laws VI-B 2(h) requires that NC members "can speak to and hear one another" for an NC meeting to be valid. Votes taken by e-mail therefore have to be validated at a subsequent meeting.

13.4 Typically at the meeting of the Names Council following an e-mail vote, the Chair will ask for the e-mail vote to be validated by a simple vote of approval to show the will of the NC was fairly expressed by the e-mail vote. After such validation the result of the e-mail vote will be an act of the Names Council.

13.5 Should there be any technical failure or other anomaly in the e-mail vote, the Chair will ask NC members at the NC meeting following an e-mail vote, to reaffirm their original or intended e-mail vote. NC members cannot change their vote in a reaffirmation vote.

13.6 Under exceptional circumstances which must be described by the Chair and agreed to by the NC by a two-thirds vote, it may be decided to ignore the e-mail vote and hold a fresh vote at which NC members may chose to vote differently from their earlier e-mail vote.