International Days on Mediation and Access to Justice – A step towards Procedural Reforms

 June 23 & 24, 2016

Alberto Elisavetsky will speak about ODR in the International Days on Mediation and Access to Justice – A step towards Procedural Reforms,  organized by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of the Provincial Government of Córdoba, Argentina.

The event will take place at the Provincial University of Córdoba in Argentina. It’ll gather specialists and academics from the western world to expose and debate different approaches reagarding ADR/ODR Methods and Procedural Reforms.


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OTTER – Online Dispute Resolution for Kids – Now Available

The winner of the 2014 Tech for Justice Hackathon held at the ODR2014 conference in Silicon Valley has released a version of their app for the 2016-2017 school year.  Check it out at

The OTTER platform:

  • Mitigates bullying (Conflict resolution and SEL tools mitigate bullying)
  • Offers built-in training (Kid-friendly, teacher-developed, conflict resolution training)
  • Provides positive reinforcement (Encourages student reflection on the positive through guided questions)
  • Is self-managing (The software helps students resolve their own conflicts)
  • Delivers rich reporting data (Provides valuable SEL data in multiple areas for teachers and administrators)
  • Sports an easy-to-use interface (Simple interface designed for kids. Works on desktop, tablets, and phones)

Very cool system, and definitely worth checking out.  Learn more at

International ODR Forum in The Hague

The conference is in less than two weeks.

Two weeks from now, the 15th annual conference on ODR comes to The Hague, the place with the highest density of judges and courts you can find anywhere in the world. It takes place at the Peace Palace, on Monday May 23 and Tuesday May 24. Contrary to previous editions, this year’s conference is themed ODR and the Courts and will try to answer the question: “Can ODR really help courts and improve access to justice?”

For previous editions, the most prominent practitioners, academic experts and dispute resolution entrepreneurs have met in high tech hot spots such as Haifa, Chennai, at Stanford University in Silicon Valley, and most recently in New York City. This year, the lineup of keynote speakers includes international judges, chief justices and experts on ODR and legal technology from across the world, including the father of ODR, Ethan Katsh, founder of Modria Colin Rule, Senior Presiding Judge of England and Wales, Lord Justice Fulford, and many more.

This year’s conference will be organized by HiiL Innovating Justice with the National Centre for Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

For more information, please go to the conference website (, where you can register ( and follow the latest news on the conference! We also invite you to join the Facebook event( and to follow us on Twitter (#ODR2016)

New Spanish ODR Blog

Check out Rolando Ortega Hernandez’s new bi-lingual ODR blog

As he explains in the first post:

“Welcome to my blog, our blog, I’ve created this space to share information, opinions and it’ll be a free open space about Online Dispute Resolutions and access to justice, and other related subjects for citizens in the digital world. This blog will take and publish information both in English and Spanish.

Bienvenidos a mi blog, nuestro blog, he creado este espacio para compartir información, opiniones y funcionará como un espacio abierto referido a la Resolución de litigios en línea y el acceso a la justicia, y otras materias relacionadas para los ciudadanos en un mundo digital. Este blog, tomará y publicará información en Inglés y en Español.”

Feel free to visit the site and share your thoughts and feedback.

(Also remember that the latest news on ODR in Latin America, is always available at!)



Los Angeles Consumer-Business ODR Program Named Outstanding Project

The Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA)  Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Program has been recognized with an Outstanding Project Award.

The ODR program, which expanded the departments existing mediation service, allows parties involved in mediation to negotiate electronically at their convenience, without the need for in-person communication.  The program targets a number of issues including landlord and tenant disputes, neighbor disputes, debt settlements, and more.

From the award announcement:

“The program was launched December 2014. As of March 2016, 230 cases were mediated using DCBA’s expanded services. Of the 230 cases, 133 cases were resolved at a resolution rate of 57%. Thanks to the ODR program, DCBA has been able to mediate cases more effectively and better serve populations who are unable to attend a traditional face to face mediation. This service will also help the department better serve the disabled population and consumers looking for a speedy and efficient way to resolve disputes.”

Here’s more on the project from Giuseppe Leone and the Virtual Mediation Lab, who did the initial training for the DCBA:

And from Lyn Johnson, an independent IT and ADR consultant:

Alberto Elisavetsky and ODR Latinoamerica will receive “The Peace Crane”



Mil Milenios de Paz – UNESCO, Fundación Paz, Ecología y Arte and the artist Facundo Cousillas have specially invited Alberto Elisavetsky, Peace Ambassador, and ODR Latinoamerica, Peace Embassy, to receive “The Peace Crane” on April 15th, 2016.

The events: Handover Ceremony of “The Peace Crane”, Ceremony of Commitment, and Handover of the Peace Flag, will take place at the Manuel Belgrano conference hall, located in the Honorable Senate of the Argentine Republic, between the 10 and 13 hrs.

Among the homages to be performed that day, Alberto Elisavetsky and ODR Latinoamerica will receive “The Peace Crane” to let it nest in Ciberspace.

The event is open to general public under previous inscription. To participate, send your name, last name and ID Card number to





Distance mediation as a bridge for social inclusion


By Alberto Elisavetsky

I’ve been researching on the characteristics, possibilities and limitations of the so called “online dispute resolution methods” ODR since 2006.

The original analysis of their viability in the contemporary society began with a group of academics in 1996 in USA. Their investigations focused on the development of Online Dispute Resolution ODR, and were directed by Professor Ethan Katsh, founder of the Center for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution located at the University of Massachusetts Amherst[1].

In September 2009 I was invited to join that prestigious and progressive group of studies at the 9th ODR World Forum hosted at Haifa University[2]. From that moment on, I was designated to organize the 10th ODR World Forum at Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2010; so far, the only academic event on the subject that took place in Latin America at a global scale[3].

I write this introit only to legitimate with previous experience, investigation, achievements and failures, the opinions that I’ll share from here on with you, kind reader. With this said, one of the key issues that I found in this field of work is: what social benefit can obtain the people involved in an electronic mediation?

Let’s begin by its advantages:

  • Convenience
  • Time, place
  • Fast, economic


  • Requires a certain degree of informatics knowledge
  • Equipment, Anti-virus, training
  • Communications are not face to face
  • Its practice needs to adapt to legislation in each country, nation or state

Regarding ODR application in professional practice and the effective use of its tools, I’ve encountered along these ten years profound concern and mistrust. Also, an enormous resistance to the simple evaluation of their viability, as well as for to the incorporation of these methods in the active practice of mediation. I could resume this attitude in the following statement of Antonio Machado: “All that is ignored, is despised”[4].

Online dispute resolution has come to stay and I want to remark that professional platforms available at the market (I’m not talking about videoconferences by SKYPE or other free of charge amateur programs), are nowadays very low cost and they mean a quick and massive implementation. These services are also the only ones that comply with essential information security and protection of the synchronous[5] virtual reunions for online mediations.

At this point, we need to make a stop at an important problem that constitutes a barrier to ODR mass use. I’m not referring to people that have easy access to the latest technologies of information and communication and that could quickly, overcoming intellectual or emotional resistance, be trained in the use of ODR for their professional practice. My interest centers in those people that for social, economic or technology illiteracy reasons, can’t be receptors of these services.

Sadly, it’s not news that those who have less are also the ones that more often find obstacles in the access to justice. Discrimination, lack of support, stability, resources and advice are among the causes; and it’s for these particular cases, above all, that governments should be providers and guarantors of fairness and equity, opting for efficient and inclusive methods.

For example: state implementation of ODR technology could allow a humble woman to approach a mediation office in her neighborhood. This place would have the necessary equipment to perform online mediations. Let’s avoid the thought that a “super computer” is needed. It’s more than enough with simple and accessible instruments, as long as they have the suitable platforms and professionals to handle them. In this public office, the woman would be accompanied by a co-mediator to begin an interactive meeting with, for example, her ex-husband that lives in another state or country. He would be also in the company of an official co-mediator and the meeting would allow resolving a conflict on visit schedule or child support.

We began this model in the province of Salta, Argentina in year 2012 with the support of the former Minister of Justice Dr. María Inés Diez and the Secretary of Participatory Methods Dr. César Rodríguez Galíndez. The plan was protected by the Ministerial Resolution 118/12. I had the satisfaction to get a signed agreement for my social network to perform online and face-to-face training. It was about developing technological skills in virtual mediation to over 120 mediators of the register of said province, among them about 70 community workers that were able to bring the model to their locations with such success that it was later on shared with other provinces of Argentina.

After that the Argentinian province of Córdoba and its direction of Participatory Methods (Di.M.A.R.C.), under the management of Dr. Débora Fortuna, joined the trajectory of training in ODR by ODR Latinoamerica. The hours of the courses were homologated by Resolutions n° 083/2015 and 110/2015 for the mediators of their register. In the last quarter of 2015 the Direction of Mediation of the Buenos Aires Province in Argentina, under the management of Dr. Ricardo Bracamonte, added for the first time training in ODR with our online courses. This capacitation was included in the offer of continuous training for the professionals of their register; Dispositions n° 535/2015 and 652/2015.

Broadening the margins of inclusion in the possibility to resolve conflicts on-line for the most humble, whether it is with synchronous or asynchronous methods[6], doesn’t only provide with a tool to access justice, but it also develops the reach of pacific, non-judicial practices for solving disagreements. Placed as a public policy and led by the governments, parties without economic resources or with physical impediments could benefit through the public mediation center of their commune. This service would be available for the cases that permit it or require it, and the parties wouldn’t have to leave their neighborhoods or cities by expensive and unaffordable transportation.

I’ve trained the online mediators of the Escuela del Poder Judicial de Guanajuato, México, under the management of Mr. Tobías García Tovar. That country is working already, among other cases, with cross-border interactive mediation in the State of Tamaulipas. Their mediations are intended for people with difficulties on migratory documentation, for example. They take place in the Center of Alternative Mechanisms for Conflict Resolution, under the management of Dr. Roberto Montoya Gonzáles. The agreements have no legal status and they can’t be executed; but if the parties agree to communicate in an interactive meeting to solve a disagreement, it’s our ethical obligation as professionals, as well as the government’s, to make this path possible. I want to remark that a lot of these agreements are fulfilled.

Our world has over 7.500.000.000 habitants, of which an 85% have access to cellphones. This data confirms that a wide spectrum of the humanity can benefit with the use of ODR, most of all the excluded and the needed. That’s what using new technologies of communication and information for the public good it’s all about.

*ALBERTO ELISAVETSKY Director of ODR Latinoamerica – Director of the Observatory of Social Conflict in the National University of Tres de Febrero, Argentina – Fellow of the Center of New Technologies applied to the Resolution of Disputes in EE.UU (NCTDR) – Director of Simediar, project of simulated distance mediations – Regional Partner in Latin America for Youstice


[1] For further information:

[2] For further information

[3] See the presentation used at the ODR World Forum 2010:

[4] Antonio Machado, 1875-1939. Spanish poet and prose writer, one of the leading figures of the literary movement known as the Generation of ’98.

[5] The terms synchronous and asynchronous refer to different possibilities of virtual communications, which can be in real time or not. A videoconference is a synchronous way, for it develops in real time, while and e-mail exchange is asynchronous.

[6] See footnote 5



Council of Europe Committee Urges Wider Use of ODR


Thanks to Graham for the heads up on this: Last week a Report to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
 of the Council of Europe focused on the challenges of rolling out ODR to expand access to justice across Europe.  It reads in part:

“both ODR and ICT, though not by any means panaceas, can help provide greater access to the judicial system by offering solutions to the problems of judicial inefficiency, the high cost of litigation, and geographical barriers. ODR and ICT nevertheless have some drawbacks, and member States should continue to invest in the development of safer, more effective, and more accessible ODR and ICT.”

The Report argues that ODR processes can

“…go beyond an individualistic resolution of isolated disputes. As mentioned above, ODR providers use their experience from earlier settlement agreements in similar cases to give recommendations on possible remedies, by using technology to identify recurring patterns of disputes and categorising complaints [...] Seen from this angle, ODR may not only be a means for resolving disputes, but possibly also an opportunity for preventing them, including by way of changing the behaviour of traders.”

The Report recommends a draft Resolution to be adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly recommending that:

  • the 47 member States be encouraged to promote  awareness of ,and further develop, mechanisms for ODR;
  • the extrajudicial enforcement of ODR decisions be promoted;
  • there be recognition of various challenges including inequalities in access to online resources, privacy and enforcement;
  • ODR procedures should contain safeguards compliant with Articles 6 and 13 (right to an effective remedy, particularly against authority) of the ECHR;
  • parties engaging in ODR procedures should, afterwards, retain the right to access a judicial appeals procedure satisfying the requirements of a fair trial pursuant to Article 6 of the Convention;
  • standards be developed for ODR , including ensuring that the process does not unfairly favour repeat players over one-time users, and establish a system of accreditation for ODR providers. (Some potential for duplication here with the system of accreditation already now in place under the EU Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution in Consumer Disputes 2013/11/EU)
  • that technological developments be monitored in order to promote the use of ICT within courts.

This is a very helpful report, and it continues the momentum building behind ODR in Europe.  To learn more, read Graham’s blog post and the full text of the report itself.

Cyberweek 2015 Call for Proposals – extended deadline



It is time once to prepare for the annual conference on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), Cyberweek 2015.  This online conference provides a week of activities and dialogue regarding the world of ODR.  Cyberweek 2015 will take place beginning Monday, November 2nd and running through Friday, November 6thAnd it’s FREE!

We are currently in the process of identifying potential activities for the conference.  Here are some questions to help you consider developing a proposal.

Is there an ODR topic on which you would like to give a live webinar?  How will those interested in ODR benefit from your expertise? Would you like to convene a panel of 2-3 speakers on a topic?

Do you have a burning question relevant to the world of ODR you feel would benefit from a large discussion?  Would you be interested in facilitating a discussion forum based on these questions?  How do you envision initiating this conversation? Is there anyone else you would ask to take part?

Do you have an ODR related product you would like to demonstrate to a large audience of scholars, practitioners, and students?

Do you have suggestions for organizing activities (simulations, competitions, podcasts, or anything else) that would enhance the Cyberweek experience?

Do you have a topic that may be valuable to a newcomer to ODR?  Do you have a topic that may be interesting to a longtime ODR practitioner?

If you would like to propose any type of learning experience for Cyberweek 2015, please contact Richard Todd at or Noam Ebner at by September 7th, 2015

**Once again Cyberweek will have a Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian track.  Unlike past years, activities in these languages will be presented on the main Cyberweek platform,  To propose activities in these languages, please contact Alberto Elisavetsky at

This will be the 18th iteration of Cyberweek.  Since 2010, the Werner Institute has been assisting in the facilitation of Cyberweek by hosting it on the website  Via this platform, thousands of participants have engaged in conversations with students, faculty members, and practitioners interested in the integration of technology into our dispute resolution processes.  Once again, Cyberweek will be packed with engaging discussions forums, webinars, podcasts, demonstrations, simulations, and contests.  We are also planning to integrate many of the latest innovations in social media to create an interesting and informative event.