Policy On Governance

CAcert Policy On Governance Status == WIP

Creation date: 20100405
Status: WIP
Author: p.dunkel at cacert dot org


CAcert is an international community organisation. This policy is intended to describe the structure and governance of that international organisation as well as the relationship between the different and divergent parts of that organisation.

Due to the international nature, CAcert has a similar setup as nation state, albeit without territory. While the setup may be similar, it is important to remember that CAcert exists within the legal framework established outside it. Specifically, all relationships with and within CAcert are governed by the laws of New South Wales, Australia.

For this reason this policy is split into 4 sections. The first three describe the three main parts of CAcert, while the last describes the relationship between those parts.

1. The Legislative

The part of a nation state that makes rules and norms is commonly referred to as the legislative branch. For sake of convenience this policy uses the same term. However CAcert does not make laws, but rather based on a contract with the community in the form of the CAcert Community Agreement (COD#X), members are bound to rules/policies created as described in the Policy On Policies (COD#1).

While the Policy On Policy (COD#1) governs the ways policies are created and maintained, it also describes the forum and methods used for this purpose.

The parts therein referred to are the legislative arm of CAcert.

2. The Judicative

CAcert has by contract established a form of dispute resolution. This method and the forums used for that purpose are described in the Dispute Resolution Policy (COD#X)

While not formally a court of law, the system established serves that purpose for all matters of disputes arising within CAcert. In accordance with the CAcert Community Agreement (COD#X) no one my be part of the CAcert Community without agreeing to be bound by all policies including the Dispute Resolution Policy (COD#X).

Whenever an outside party interacts in any way with CAcert, such as by using CAcert intellectual property, using CAcert issued certificates, or the like without becoming part of CAcert, a special contract is made with that outside party. This Non Related Persons Disclaimer and License (COD#X). This license again binds the third party to a subset of CAcert policies including the Dispute Resolution Policy (COD#x).

Therefore the dispute resolution system established by the Dispute Resolution Policy (COD#X) is universal for all matters related to CAcert.

3. The Executive

The executive part of CAcert has been established to serve the community. It handles the daily business of CAcert, manages its financial affairs, runs its IT systems, manages human resources and the like. For that purpose CAcert Inc. was established as an association in accordance with the laws of New South Wales, Australia.

The executive is given great leeway in the handling of CAcert affairs. However it is fully bound to all CAcert policies and is a party to the CAcert Community Agreement (COD#X). As with similar arrangements in nation states, the executive branch may only ever act with authority granted to it by the laws or, in the case of CAcert, policies. CAcert Inc. by itself has no authority over the community other than that granted to it by the community through policies.

Specifically the Security Policy (COD#X) grants CAcert Inc. the power to appoint agents to access the data and resources of the CAcert Community. The Dispute Resolution Policy (COD#X) grants CAcert Inc. the power to appoint a Dispute Resolution Officer, who in turn appoints Arbitrators to the "Judicative Branch". The Policy On Policy (COD#1) grants CACert Inc. a power of veto over policies that affect the running of CAcert Inc.

Other policies may grant other rights, privileges or transfer duties upon CAcert Inc. as well.

4. Relationship between the branches

All branches of CAcert governance exist to further the aims of CAcert as declared in the CACert Principles. Each has their specific purpose, duties, rights and privileges. And each has a measure of control over the other branches.

The executive branch, in the form of CAcert Inc., nominates officers and team leaders in accordance with policy to act in the running of CAcert. It does so in accordance with policies, but is otherwise unconstrained in this task.

The legislative branch in turn drafts and creates the policies that govern CAcert. With the exception of the veto power granted to the executive branch. It is the sole owner of this task and may not be interfered with by other branches.

The judicative branch is the sole interpreter of policies. While it does not have a power of review over policies in general, it does have a power to resolve conflicts within policies. Further more it has the power to grant authority for actions by the executive or its agents as derived from policies.

In general the branches of CAcert governance coexist and should not interfere in each others tasks unless specifically directed to do so by policy. A rudimentary system of checks and balances is established however.

The executive branch nominates members of the judicative branch. The judicative branch in turn arbitrates disputes not only between members of CAcert, but also between the branches of CAcert governance. The legislative lays down the polices that all branches of CAcert governance, as well as all CAcert members, use do direct their actions.