During the global COVID-19 pandemic, and at a time when social distancing is required to save lives, technology has been vital to human connection. This turn in society has forced even the most reluctant practitioners and overburdened institutions to rely on technology to assist in the handling of disputes. Suddenly, online dispute resolution is at the forefront of conversations about providing access to justice and repair of human relationships from courts to alternative dispute resolution. The National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, birthplace of online dispute resolution over twenty years ago, is enthusiastic about this upsurge in its use. And as we stand in solidarity against state brutality, we think it now more important than ever for all of us to work for racial equality and all forms of human rights, further innovating the use of technology in the name of access to justice for all.
Over last weekend there was a very high level meeting of leaders in the justice sector to discuss the future of ODR in India, convened by Agami and Omidyar Network. From the press release on the meeting:
“In a first, NITI Aayog, in association with Agami and Omidyar Network India, brought together key stakeholders in a virtual meeting on 6 June 2020 for advancing online dispute resolution in India.
ODR is the resolution of disputes, particularly small- and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of alternate dispute resolution (ADR), such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. While courts are becoming digitized through the efforts of the judiciary, more effective, scalable, and collaborative mechanisms of containment and resolution are urgently needed. ODR can help resolve disputes efficiently and affordably.
Senior judges of the Supreme Court, secretaries from key government ministries, leaders of industry, legal experts, and general counsels of leading enterprises, explored the opportunities and specifics of what lies ahead.
The common theme was a multi-stakeholder agreement to work collaboratively to ensure efforts are taken to scale online dispute resolution in India.
In his welcome address, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, ‘This historic meeting is the start of a collaborative exercise that sets into motion the use of technology towards efficient and affordable access to justice in our post-pandemic response.’
Justice DY Chandrachud, speaking on technology and access to justice, remarked, ‘Above all there needs to be a fundamental change in the mindset—look upon dispute resolution not as relatable to a place, namely a court, where justice is “administered” but as a service that is availed of.’
Stressing on the need of ODR during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, ‘Let us target Covid-related disputes first [through ODR] because those are people who would like for their disputes to be resolved quickly, particularly in this context. This is an important part of economic revival.’
Justice Indu Malhotra spoke of the nuanced specifics that could be considered for scaling ODR. ‘Making ODR or ADR voluntary may defeat the purpose. It should be made mandatory [for specified categories], and it should cover about three [sessions] so that parties don’t feel that it’s a mere formality.’
Justice (Retd) A.K. Sikri brought forth the advantages of ODR—convenient, accurate, time-saving, and cost-saving.
Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Law Secretary, Government of India, articulated that, ‘Private ODR and ADR providers need to be complemented to ensure that online resolution can reach different industries, locations, and parts of the country and also support the public institutions in a big way. The government is open-minded.’
Nandan Nilekani, Non-Executive Chairman of Infosys, gave his vision for justice delivery. ‘The future will be a hybrid model that combines the best of both worlds—offline courts, online courts and ODR. We will have to reimagine the whole process of justice delivery to work in the hybrid system and this will require good data…’”
Read more here:
Wow — there are some impressive stats!
May 2020 British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal Participant Satisfaction Survey results are up at https://civilresolutionbc.ca/participant-satisfaction-survey-may-2020/… — some of the highlights:
100% felt the CRT treated them fairly
96% felt CRT staff were professional
92% felt their CRT dispute was handled in a timely manner
94% would recommend the CRT
Well done, Shannon and team! You can view the full report at
“…Regardless of how life unfolds post-COVID-19, remote working will be a significant part of lawyers’ professional lives. Whereas in-person mediations have traditionally been the most effective, remote mediations are now a solidly viable option. Most likely, a blend of live and remote participation will become more common. As expected, lawyers have found a way to continue to advocate and fight for their clients, and mediators are ready to facilitate and expedite that process.”
Excerpt from a new article from Rachael Bicknell for the law Law Society of Scotland Journal:
“ODR combines ADR processes, technology and impartial independent experts. It is recognised internationally as a specialised and highly effective form of ADR. Its origins date back to the 1990s when it was created to resolve disputes resulting from online transactions and interactions between parties in different jurisdictions. In 2013, Lord Neuberger, then President of the Supreme Court, said in a speech on Judges and Policy: “We may well have something to learn from online dispute resolution on eBay and elsewhere.” The eBay Resolution Center now handles over 60 million disputes each year, while courts have been slow to adopt online or hearing-free models.
All methods of exploring the resolution of a dispute with the assistance of technology are ODR. It can involve advanced technologies and processes such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing which are being developed and promoted to resolve specific types of disputes. More importantly for the practice of law, it is the movement online of face-to-face mediation, arbitration and other resolution processes, using videoconferencing combined with secure onboarding, e-signing of agreements, document sharing and online communication, to deliver fair, proportionate and effective redress for commercial and civil disputes.”
Read the full article here: