ZADNA has initially accredited the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa and the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law to resolve co.za domain name disputes. In terms of the Regulations, more service providers can be accredited if they satisfy the requirements listed in section 38.
A complainant can lodge a dispute by first selecting a service provider from those accredited by ZADNA. Then the dispute should be submitted to the selected accredited provider in the manner outlined in Chapter III of the Regulations. In addition, the complainant may be required by the accredited provider to satisfy supplementary requirements used by the provider in administering disputes.
Due to their specialised legal training, lawyers may be used to assist the complainant in submitting documentary evidence. Legal representation is not necessary as the Regulations do not allow for oral submissions.
The Regulations stipulate a number of administrative steps and checks that complainants, respondents and accredited providers must satisfy before the actual resolution of a dispute. Delays may arise as a result of incomplete dispute submissions and of registrants (i.e. domain name holders) not being accessible immediately to respond to complainants’ claims. As a result there is no certain timeline within which disputes should be resolved. Based on prior ADR timelines, ZADNA expects the entire dispute resolution process, on average, to last for plus or minus eight weeks.
It is up to the parties to a dispute to choose if they want their dispute to be resolved by a single adjudicator or a three adjudicator panel. For a single adjudicator, the complainant must pay R10 000 (ten thousand Rands) and R24 000 (twenty four thousand Rands) for a three adjudicator panel.
If the registrant chooses to have the dispute resolved by a three adjudicator panel instead of a single adjudicator panel, the registrant and complainant must each pay R12 000.
The stipulated ADR fees are meant purely to cover administrative costs that the accredited service providers incur in administering and resolving disputes. These costs are much cheaper compared to resolving domain name disputes through the normal court processes, which can cost up to R200 000 and is usually a much more lengthy process.
They are also much cheaper than the costs involved in having disputes resolved under other countries’ ADR procedures and under ICANN’s generic TLDs (top-level domains) such as .com. Another rationale behind these costs is to avoid having the ADR procedure abused through frivolous and unclear disputes.
If you have a valid dispute but cannot afford the required ADR lodgement fees, according to Section 34(5), ADR providers must pay 10% of each dispute fee to ZADNA, which ZADNA must use exclusively to fund other complainants and registrants seeking financial assistance. To avoid abuse of this ADR financial assistance option, ZADNA has an eligibility criteria which will be used to evaluate applications.
Applications for ADR financial assistance should be emailed to: adrfinancialassistance-at-zadna.org.za or be faxed to 086 688 7109 or +27 (0)10 020 3919.