In Australia this is mandatory, and there is considerable consumer protection and registrar / registry accountability.
But ICANN seems to believe in a "laissez faire" ideology, where everything is left to the market, and where all 'best practices' are "voluntary". This gives registrars much freedom of action, fails to pre-empt obvious abuses, affords no comeback within the structure of agreements, and leaves everything to the consumer to try to pursue problems retrospectively through courts in his/her own land. In reality, this rarely happens.
Dan Halloran has acknowledged the "laissez faire" approach of ICANN, but if ICANN is supposed to operate in the best interests of all parties, its pretty obvious that the ICANN/Registry and Registry/Registrar Agreements should insist on certain principles, afford avenues of complaint, and define sanctions and consequences where parties are committing evident abuse of ICANN's own processes.
A classic example was the confirmed fraudulent practice carried out Spy Productions (via Tucows) and Yesnic, in the .info Sunrise process. Here we had recognised registrars "faking" the Trademark numbers in order to achieve gain over other consumers, in breach of the Agreements. Yet ICANN took no action, Yesnic remains accredited, Dan Halloran has refused to even answer questions on the situation, and the consumer is left exposed to further possible malpractice from these parties all over again.
Similarly, you had the situation where companies linked to Afilias Directors broke Afilias's Agreement rules for profit in the .info Sunrise, and yet no action was taken against either the Directors nor against the registrars involved. They kept the profits of their malpractice, ICANN took a "laissez faire" attitude, the consumer went to the wall.
Repeated appeals to Dan Halloran, the ICANN-Registrar liaison executive, for comments or action in these cases were ignored (and remain ignored 250 days later).
ICANN shows no intent or good faith to protect the consumer in situations like these, even though carefully-written Agreements could help pre-empt problems, codes of conduct could create consequences for such action, and a process could be set in place for addressing serious complaints (instead of ICANN just ignoring them).
ICANN does not have to become a world policeman for a better balance to be created. It just has to establish some "conditional" aspects to its TLD Registry Agreements (which should also be carried down to Registry-Registrar level), so that right and freedom to do business is dependent on certain basic principles and rules.
ICANN seems to have gone to the other extreme, allowing a wild west cowboy mentality to exist in some cases, and consciously exercising the "laissez faire" attitude as Dan Halloran has described it.
In all this, the ordinary consumer is badly let down, ICANN's friends and associates in the domain industry are protected, and registrars are left to police themselves, which in the case of Yesnic, Spy Productions, DomainBank, and Signature Domains, has meant freedom to break ICANN / Registry / Registrar rules without sanction.
No doubt there are other registrars who could be cited : I just cite the ones I know cannot prosecute me, because the evidence I have in their cases is so clearcut. In the case of Spy Productions and Signature Domains, I have admissions that the rules were broken; in the case of Yesnic and DomainBank, they just refuse to defend the charges or answer at all (following the Dan Halloran school of thought - ignore serious complaints and in time they will just go away).
Yes : there should be MUCH more registry/registrar responsibility and accountability. There are some very fine registrars doing valuable business, earning an honest living, and providing first-class customer service. Sadly, their whole industry is smeared by the actions of a cowboy minority.
It seems extraordinary that the DoC allows ICANN to just stand by and watch. It's mostly down to the Agreements.
Anyone following the NewTLDs will know how disastrously those Agreements unravelled. It was the consumer who suffered and lost out, all the way down the line.