Online Arbitration for Crowdfunding Disputes

Interesting piece forthcoming in the Floria State Law Review by C. Steven Bradford of the University of Nebraska College of Law, focused on the use of online arbitration to handle disputes arising from fraud in crowd funding websites like Kickstarter and Gofundme.  From the abstract:

“Arbitration is cheaper, but even ordinary arbitration will often be too expensive for the small amounts invested in crowdfunding. In this article, I attempt to design a simplified, cost-effective arbitration remedy to deal with crowdfunding fraud. The arbitration remedy should be unilateral; crowdfunding issuers should be obligated to arbitrate, but not investors. Crowdfunding arbitration should be online, with the parties limited to written submissions. But it should be public, and arbitrators should be required to publish their findings. The arbitrators should be experts on both crowdfunding and securities law, and they should take an active, inquisitorial role in developing the evidence. Finally, all of the investors in an offering should be able to consolidate their claims into an arbitration class action.”

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Indian Law Ministry Urges Use of e-Arbitration to Speed Up Dispute Resolution

The Indian Law Ministry has issued a statement urging government agencies to use fast track dispute resolution to work through the backlog of court cases awaiting resolution.  From The Times of India:

“NEW DELHI: The law ministry has asked government departments to go for online arbitration to fast track dispute resolution… ‘Presently there are more than three crore cases pending in various courts of the country and 46% of these involve government departments or government bodies. Hence, the department of justice is keen to explore options for government departments for settlement of their disputes through alternate methods,’ the ministry has said.

To cut litigation, ministries have been advised not to go to court for their disputes and instead opt for arbitration. ‘This may help courts to concentrate on access to justice to people in better manner,’ the ministry noted. Many of these agencies provide services of retired judges, senior advocates, chartered accountants, retired civil servants for mediation. Providing a list of such agencies on its website, the law ministry has said the departments may select from them according to their choice and can use their services which will ‘help to a great extent in reducing government litigations’.”

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Hangzhou Internet Court

The website of the new Internet Court in Hangzhou, China is now live.

The court is aimed at focusing on:

  1. Online shopping contract disputes
  2. Online shopping product liability disputes
  3. Online service contract disputes
  4. Loan contract disputes and small loan contract disputes
  5. Online copyright disputes

It offers a simple three-step approach:

  • Step one: Filing
    Registration and name certification, as well as complaint completion. After the user is authorized, the system supports the investigation of e-commerce, transactions, logistics, micro-credit, intellectual property and other information.
  • Step two: Mediation
    After the case is filed, the first pre-litigation mediation. Within fifteen days, the mediator contacts the parties, through online, telephone or video mediation.
  • Step three: Court
    If the mediation is unsuccessful, the case is formally submitted to the court, where it proceeds to final decision — including the online payment of litigation costs.

Visit the Hangzhou Internet Court website to learn more.


Law + Design Summit at Stanford

Stanford is hosting a one day summit on Law and Design.  From the summit web page:

“At our Law + Design day, we will hear from people at the cutting-edge of design and law, and then use the design process ourselves to define a forward agenda.

Our keynote speech will make clear what a ‘design approach’ means, and how other domains have used it to radically transform systems.

We will hear from people who have been experimenting with user-centered legal services, communications, and products. And then we will work together, using the design process, to define new prototypes and initiatives.

This summit will be both practical and provocative. We will discuss how to bring innovation into your legal organization, while also experimenting with what transformative new designs might be possible.”

An invitation is required to attend, but you can request one via a form on the web site — and there is no cost.  Learn more.

President Xi of China Issues Statement Promoting Internet Justice

h/t to Michael and Andy for the heads up on this recent announcement indicating support from President Xi Jinping for the Hangzhou Internet Court (apologies for the low quality Google Translate translation, but you can click the link to see the original Mandarin) :

“General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, the President of the Central Military Commission Chairman of the Central Committee to deepen the reform of the leading group leader Xi Jinping June 26 morning to convene the central comprehensive reform of the leading group of the thirty-sixth meeting and published an important speech.  He stressed that focusing on systematic, holistic and synergy is an inherent requirement for deepening reform and an important way to promote reform…

The meeting stressed that the establishment of Hangzhou Internet Court, the judicial initiative to adapt to the development trend of the Internet a major institutional innovation. In accordance with the law orderly, active and secure, follow the rules of the law to meet the requirements of the masses, to explore the rules of the litigation case, improve the trial mechanism to enhance the effectiveness of the trial, in order to maintain network security, resolve network disputes, promote the Internet and economic and social depth integration, etc. to provide judicial protection…”

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New Book from Daniel Dimov on Crowdsourced ODR

Daniel Dimov has released his dissertation on CODR, or Crowdsourced Dispute Resolution:

“Although crowdsourced online dispute resolution (CODR) is one of the newest forms of dispute resolution, it has gained tremendous success. For example, Taobao User Dispute Resolution System resolved 238,000 online-shopping disputes in 2013 and attracted more than 575,000 crowd jurors from December 2012 to July 2014. To compare, in the second quarter of 2014, English courts dealt with just 11,100 civil (excluding family) hearings or trials. The difference between Taobao User Dispute Resolution System and the English court system lies not only in the number of cases which each of them resolves, but also in the fact that the jurors participating in the Chinese CODR procedure do not get any remuneration.”

I’ve been reading it today and it’s very thorough and well done.  I think this is the most in-depth analysis of crowdsourced ODR every completed, and it will be of great interest for ODR researchers and students.  I definitely recommend checking it out.

From his Supervisor Prof.dr. H.J. van den Herik: “In Crowdsourced Online Dispute Resolution Daniel Dimov has achieved a breakthrough in thinking on dispute resolution. Dimov’s dissertation provides a clear answer to the question of the role of ODR in the judicial system. It should be Crowdsourced ODR. His dissertation shows the developments occurring in  law and information technology: CODR is cheap, fast, democratic and fair. Daniel Dimov has demonstrated tremendous tenacity in combining his ideas on CODR with our interpretation of objective procedural fairness.”

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Singapore launches e-filing and e-negotiation for Small Claims

Priyankar Bhunia on

“The State Courts in Singapore have introduced an electronic case filing and management system, called the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS) on July 10, which allows parties involved in ‘Small Claims’ disputes to file claims and access court e-services from the comfort of their homes or any place with an internet connection.

​The Small Claims Tribunals are part of the State Courts of Singapore. The Tribunals were established on 1 February 1985 to provide a quick and inexpensive forum for the resolution of small claims (not exceeding S$10,000 or up to S$20,000 if both parties agree in writing) between consumers and suppliers. Types of claims could include contracts for the sale of goods or for the provision of services involving skill and labour, damage to property (except for damage arising from the use of a motor vehicle), certain cases under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading Act) such as the refund of motor vehicle deposits and lease of residential premises not exceeding 2 years.

Previously, claimants were required to go to court to file claims, make payments, and attend consultations and hearings. CJTS allows pre-filing assessment and filing of the claim to be done online. For pre-filing, users will be asked a series of questions to determine if their disputes can be filed in the Tribunals. There are guided online forms to help in filing cases, and users can upload attachments/ supporting documents for their cases.

CJTS offers an electronic diary to schedule hearing dates and timeslots for accepted applications. Users will be able to look up their case details online, view submitted documents and correspondences from court and check hearing dates.

The system also has an e-Negotiation feature, which allows the parties to negotiate and reach a settlement on the disputed claims without having to go to the courts.”

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brāv free ODR training, June 28th at noon Eastern

If you haven’t heard of brā you should check it out.  It’s one of the most innovative ODR sites available right now — and it’s tailored specifically to appeal to the younger generation.  The user experience is quite slick, and the platform is well thought out.

brāv is holding an e-event tomorrow at 12pm Eastern (9am Pacific) to train users on its platform.  It’s free to attend, and I think it will be quite interesting.  Please attend if you have the time… I look forward to seeing you there.

Goodbye to The Haggler

David Segal, aka The Haggler, is a New York Times reporter who for the last eight years has written a consumer help column. If his columns were compiled, they would provide an interesting overview, written in an entertaining style, of the plight of the modern consumer. Mr. Segal announced this week that he has been reassigned to the London bureau of the Times and will no longer be The Haggler. His farewell column is worth a read. Thanks for an informative and entertaining run.

Online court won’t repeat failure of Dutch model, MoR claims

 has a new piece on the Law Society Gazette website detailing a lecture delivered this month by Sir Terence Etherton about the new UK Online Court.  From the article:

“The failure of a pioneering online court in The Netherlands should not deter efforts to build more ambitious version in England and Wales, the Master of the Rolls has said. In a lecture this month, Sir Terence Etherton laid out for the first time the scale of the ambition behind the proposed ‘Online Solutions Court’, which will be designed to operate largely without lawyers and to dispense with ‘preventive justice’… the online court would ensure the core functions of the civil courts are ‘not simply maintained but augmented’. While the process will be designed so that individuals can access the system without the need for legal advice, he conceded that lawyers ‘will no doubt continue to play an important role in many cases’ especially those that proceed to disposal by a judge.”