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Digital Economy Act 2010

Topic 3: Powers in relation to internet domain names

Section 20:  Appointment of manager of internet domain registry

98.This section amends the 2003 Act by inserting new sections 124P and 124Q. If the Secretary of State has served a notice under new section 124O, the period allowed for making representations has expired and the Secretary of State is satisfied that the registry has not taken appropriate steps to remedy the failure or its consequences, the Secretary of State may appoint a manager in respect of the property and affairs of the registry to secure that appropriate steps are taken to remedy the failure.

99.New section 124Q makes provision about the powers and functions of the manager so appointed. In particular, the Secretary of State may provide for the manager to take over any or all specified functions of the directors in order to ensure that the registry remedies the failure, and may also prevent the registry’s directors from carrying out those functions (subsection (2)). The Secretary of State may also provide for the remuneration of the manager, which may be payable by the registry itself (subsection (3)). In order to ensure that this power does not affect the rights of third parties or the insolvency process, section 124P(4) provides that the appointment does not affect the rights of any third party to appoint a receiver or manager, or the rights of any receiver or manager appointed by a third party. For similar reasons, section 124P(6) provides that if certain office holders under insolvency legislation are appointed in respect of the registry, the Secretary of State must discharge the order appointing a manager. The Secretary of State must also keep the order under review and discharge it if appropriate, for example if the registry has remedied the failure (section 124P(5)). The order has a time limit of two years but the Secretary of State can, if necessary, make a further order in the same or similar terms.

100.Subsections 124Q(5) to (7) allow the Secretary of State to seek directions from a court in connection with the manager’s functions. This might be done in order to counter obstruction of the manager by a registry or its officers, since disobeying the court’s directions would amount to contempt.

101.Section 124Q(8) applies all the provisions to limited liability partnerships as if the references to a director were to a member of the limited liability partnership.

102.Subsection (2) of section 20 inserts a reference to an order under section 124P into section 192(1)(d) of the 2003 Act. The effect of this is that the registry has a right of appeal on both the facts and the law to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (and thence to the Court of Appeal on a point of law) in respect of a decision to appoint a manager.

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