The United Kingdom's system for assigning domain names is privately run and follows some Internet standard for assignments and revocations. However, there are some internal restrictions that reflect the policy of accommodating existing domains and avoiding DNS lock up, which might occur with badly configured domain name servers. Nominet does not easily fit into definitions of a private function since it does have some public characteristics. In addition, no British counterpart to the Internet Service OC exists. The policies followed by Nominet in allocating domain names reflects conventions established prior to its existence. These policies do not appear to take into account the difficulties faced by NSI in relation to disputes between trademarks and domain names, which have led to comprehensive domain disputes. A public body is constrained in what it can do by the powers which have been conferred upon it. Governmental intervention would be justified in the event of market failure or to prevent behavior that would undermine the market and cause harmful externalities. Given the lack of a dispute-resolution mechanism within the Internet structure at present, litigants are turning to national courts for the resolution of their Internet-related disputes. An application for judicial review should be available to the Internet community. However, judicial review should also take in consideration the Internet is a new form of human organization, and regulations should reflect Internet community needs.
Mark Gould, An Island in the Net: Domain Naming and English Administrative Law, 15 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 493 (1997)