It would be unpatriotic of me if I did not mention the Rugby World Cup, currently being played out in New Zealand.Rugby is of course has a much lower profile internationally than football, but the domination of rugby in the news media in New Zealand makes it impossible to ignore.
What makes any sporting game work, is a set of rules and a referee to ensure that the rules are observed. Most of the players choose to comply with the rules especially at the professional level. Some think it is to their advantage to push the limits, and the referee then steps in to adjust the behaviour. This is all about fairness, the central theme of the practice of an ombudsman, and the parallels with a sports referee are apt.
Most of the players, and most of the spectators want the game to be played so that each team has an equal opportunity. Some even go so far as to say it is not whether you win the game but how you play which is more important. I suspect many fans would not agree and are concerned primarily about winning, but even the hard-core fans prefer their side to win because they played well and kept to the rules. It is easier to accept a loss where both sides have done their best, played fairly and where the referee has kept everybody playing on and only punishing the serious breaches of rules.
The ombudsman has a similar role. Everybody has to play by the rules, so that the processes can keep moving without interruption. No one wants to be sent off for serious breaches of the rules, even if the ombudsman can only criticise. I do not have the power to issue a red or yellow card, but certainly I would suggest this in appropriate cases.
In the meantime, I will continue to watch the rugby World Cup games, hoping that someone in Dakar has a television with access to the final on 23 October!
From time to time I receive complaints as posts to this blog. Sometimes those are personal issues and obviously I will moderate them, and not publish the post. I would encourage members of the ICANN community to send complaints to email@example.com, where they will be seen quickly and answered quickly. If you click on this link you get to the complaint form directly https://omb.icann.org/portal/login/?referrer=L3BvcnRhbC8= It can be helpful to look at the FAQs which you can find at http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/questions.htm
I have been reading the new guidelines for the Applications for the new generic Top Level Domains gTLDs–another acronym to be remembered in a community which has never been shy to invent these! The process has been carefully prepared so that applicants and affected parties can all have a full and open process to resolve applications and any issues. As the Ombudsman, I am ready for any members of the ICANN community who may need to contact me about the new gTLDs, as we all go through a learning process. If you consider that the process has treated you badly or there has been unfairness in any aspect of the application or in your objections, please contact me.
On Saturday 3rd of September 2011 I attended a fascinating seminar on the subject of determination writing, delivered by Prof James Raymond with the assistance of Justice Tony Randerson of the New Zealand Court of Appeal, Robert Fisher QC and David Bigio. The seminars were about effective oral and written techniques, both for counsel but also for the decision-makers. The thrust of the seminar began with a discussion of what makes good legal writing good. To explore this issue it is necessary to study how to identify and arrange the issues, and to highlight matters such as case specific hearings. We looked at a number of specific examples of both good and bad writing, and that was a reminder to me that as a lawyer I must be careful about the use of terms and phrases, perhaps very familiar to me, but unknown to my readers. When writing a report about a matter it must be easily understood, and it is probably not going too far to say that a fair result is one that can be received, applied and have meaning accessible to everyone. I learned a great deal from the seminar, not the least being that application of a sense of humour can make a difference.