New Article on Judicial Online Dispute Resolution Systems

Ayelet Sela, a long time ODR pioneer (and now Professor at Bar Ilan University Faculty of Law) has published a great article entitled “Streamlining Justice: How Online Courts Can Resolve the Challenges of Pro Se Litigation” in the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2016.   This piece is an excellent distillation of the value ODR can bring to court and justice-sector resolution systems.  Check it out here.


“The tide of pro se litigation in the American justice system imposes significant constraints on self-represented litigants’ (SRLs) access to justice and courts’ ability to administer justice. Mitigating the challenges requires a systemic institutional and procedural reform. Advancing this approach, the Article proposes that online courts would alleviate many of the challenges associated with pro se litigation, and puts this proposition to an empirical test. To that end, the Article analyzes the challenges experienced by SRLs and courts and models the procedural and technological properties that would promote SRLs’ “day in court” as well as courts’ provision of fair and efficient access to justice. Based on the analysis and on a review of successful implementations of judicial online dispute resolution (JODR) systems, the Article proposes a detailed policy design framework for a JODR system for pro se litigation. Finally, the Article reports and discusses the results of an experiment evaluating the effect of the proposed framework on SRLs’ procedural justice experiences.”


ABA Journal: “Can justice be served online?”

Jayne Reardon in the ABA Journal’s Legal Rebels blog:

“According to the book Digital Justice: Technology and the Internet of Disputes, disputes arise in 3 to 5 percent of online transactions, totaling over $700 million in e-commerce disputes in 2015 alone. Millions are overcharged, find credit report mistakes, are hacked, subjected to identity theft or are harassed while playing online games. ODR tools for resolving disputes include substituting software-based decision-making for the exchange of information that typically characterizes the mediation process. In 2012, eBay claimed it handled more than 60 million disputes between buyers and sellers by providing software that assisted the parties to negotiate a satisfactory outcome over 80 percent of the time. Alibaba, as of last year the world’s largest retailer, generating more revenue than and eBay combined, handles hundreds of millions of disputes per year.

So there are a lot of disputes, but the amounts at issue are generally small, and the buyer and seller are often in different countries, aided by distributors in yet a third or fourth location. This puts notions of subject matter jurisdiction and service of process a-spinning.

That’s where technology enters the picture as a way to efficiently and equitably resolve disputes. The premise of the Digital Justice authors is that access to justice can be enabled by software and mouse clicks just as in the old days, it was affected by the hours a court was open or how distant it was located from one’s home. Experimentation in small claims online courts is happening in the United Kingdom, British Columbia, the Netherlands and spottily in the United States.

Beyond resolution, the authors challenge us to think about how people could be better served by the law if we focus on preventing the relationship from erupting into a full-blown dispute in the first place…”

Read more

New book by Amy Schmitz and Colin Rule is a game changer!

The New Handshake: Online Dispute Resolution and the Future of Consumer Protection offers a groundbreaking innovative solution for addressing the challenges of cross border e-commerce ODR and is a must read for everyone who cares about access to justice, e-commerce, and ODR!  Authors Amy Schmitz and Colin Rule not only present a vision of an effective global ODR system but, importantly, illustrate its feasibility, providing a concrete set of criteria for systems design.  Fresh off the press, it is available from the American Bar Association.

“My Mediator” Skill Released for Amazon Alexa

Jim W Hildreth, a private and court appointed mediator active in both California & Louisiana, has released a new skill for Amazon Echo called My Mediator.

From his article on about the new skill:

“Alexa has a Mediation Skill.
Amazon #AskAlexa, just approved the first Mediation skill on the planet.
Take a guess–it’s called My Mediator.
Its under the Skill  Business and Finance.
The description is My Mediator for Alexa can give details on how to resolve California Real Estate Disputes via Mediation versus Litigation.
Deposit Disputes, Probates, Partnerships, non-disclosure are examples used.”

I just installed it on our Echo here in the Modria office and tried it out — very interesting.  One day, we all may rely on devices like Echo and Google Home to counsel us when we encounter a disagreement.

You can add the skill to your Echo here.