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 Amazon.com 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 Mediate.com 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.



Ethan Katsh is presented the prestigious D’Alemberte-Raven Award by the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association.

The award “recognizes leaders in the dispute resolution community for their significant contributions to the field.”  And these include nothing short of being the founder of the field of online dispute resolution, conducting the first research experiments in ODR, co-authoring  the first book on ODR (Online Dispute Resolution: Resolving Conflicts in Cyberspace, 2001), founding the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, and fostering the development of the theory and practice of ODR throughout the globe.  A prolific author, Ethan’s most recent work is Digital Justice: Technology and the Internet of Disputes, co-authored with Orna Rabinovich-Einy (Oxford University Press, 2017); another brilliant and visionary contribution.  You can watch a video of Ethan’s acceptance speech here.  Congratulations Ethan!


EU ODR Platform Handles 24,000 Cases in its First Year

An announcement from the EU on March 24th indicates that the new EU ODR platform has handled more than 24,00 cases since launching last year.  More than a third of the complaints concerned cross-border purchases within the EU. Most complaints were about clothing and footwear, airline tickets and information and communication technology goods.

From the press release:

“While there are strong rules in place in the EU to protect consumers, in practice consumers sometimes encounter problems getting redress when their rights are violated, particularly cross border.

When consumers have made their purchase online, they should also be able to solve such problems online. Be it a seller refusing to repair a defective laptop within the guarantee period, or a travel agent not willing to refund a ruined holiday, such disputes can be settled faster and cheaper online and outside the court, via an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform, launched by the Commission on 15 February 2016.

Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “While we are still in an early phase of this new tool, we can already say that the Online Dispute Resolution platform has been well received by consumers. We also see that the mere fact of a consumer using the platform often is incentive enough for traders to resolve the dispute. We are giving consumers a practical tool to help them benefit from their rights in practice. On the other side, traders also have a lot to gain from this platform and should use it more. Particularly for online traders it is essential to be seen as reliable by potential consumers. Using this tool will help them earn consumer trust, whilst providing them with a simple and fast way of resolving disputes.”


  • A consumer from Italy complained about a defective ICT product bought from an online trader in Belgium. The platform sent the complaint to the competent dispute resolution body in Belgium. As a result, the Italian consumer was reimbursed.
  • A consumer from Luxembourg complained about a car rented online from a trader in Greece. The platform sent the complaint to the competent dispute resolution body in Greece. The dispute was amicably settled within 60 days. The trader fully reimbursed the additional expenses incurred by the consumer.
  • The platform often also works as a channel of first contact between the parties and a solution is often found bilaterally without taking the complaint to a dispute resolution body. For example, A Belgian consumer had been complaining for months about a defective dryer to a Belgian trader, with no success. When the trader received the complaint via the platform, he contacted the consumer and offered to replace the dryer with a new one.

Read more: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-727_en.htm

American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution

For those attending the American Bar Association annual conference in San Francisco April 19-22, we hope that you will come to the discussion of The New Handshake by Amy Schmitz and Colin Rule and Digital Justice: Technology and the Internet of Disputes by Ethan Katsh and Orna Rabinovich-Einy. The session will be on Thursday April 20th at 2:45. Information about Digital Justice can be found here.

Tijuana and Paris, two ODR destinations during 2017

Dear friends of the ODR,

2017 has open doors for the broadening of our activity.

First of all, I’ll gladly participate as speaker in  ODR2017 in Paris, June 12-13, 2017 .

On the other hand, I had the honor to give a five-hour workshop on the use of new technologies for conflict resolution at the 1st National Congress of Alternative Methods for Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice (CEMAJUR in Spanish). It  took place in Tijuana, Mexico, from March 15 to 18.

I wanted to share with you the webpages of these two events






Let’s keep the good work. I’m looking forward to see many of you in Paris!


Invitation as Speaker for the “V FONAMEC RIO DE JANEIRO” – Superior Court of Law – MAY 2017

Dear friends,

with great satisfaction I share with you the invitation I received to participate as a speaker on May 11, in the opening conference of the V FONAMEC.

This event will take place in the Superior Court of Law of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I’ll speak about New Technologies applied to Conflict Resolution. I hope to see many of my brazilian friends there!!!

This is the invitation (in portuguese)

TJRJ – de 10 a 12 de maio de 2017

Rio de Janeiro, 20 de março de 2017
Senhor Professor

Apraz-nos convidar Vossa Excelência para participar deste V FONAMEC, proferindo, na Abertura do Encontro, palestra sobre ODRs – Novas Tecnologias Aplicadas na Resolução de Conflitos, no dia 11 de maio- quinta-feira, de 11:20 ás 12:30.
Honrando-nos Vossa Excelência com a aceitação deste convite.
Apensamos informações completas sobre a finalidade do FORUM e a descrição das atividades do V Encontro a ser realizado no Tribunal de Justiça do Rio de Janeiro .

Na oportunidade, renovamos a Vossa Excelência protestos de elevado apreço e consideração.

Desembargador Cesar Felipe Cury
Presidente do FONAMEC
Excelentíssimo Senhor

Doutor Alberto Elisavetsky

Propósitos FONAMEC

O Fórum Nacional da Mediação e Conciliação – FONAMEC, conforme o art. 2º de seu estatuto, tem como finalidade o implemento da mediação e conciliação nos Estados e Distrito Federal buscando fomentar a cultura da paz, com a apresentação e discussão de propostas para (1) criação e alteração de leis, regulamentos e procedimentos; (2) desenvolvimento de sistemas de informação, portais e canais de comunicação; (3) congregação de magistrados e servidores que atuem com mediação e conciliação aperfeiçoando e uniformizando os métodos consensuais de resolução de conflitos por meio de intercâmbio de experiências; e (4) melhorar a articulação e integração com o Conselho Nacional de Justiça, órgãos de Governo e demais entidades de apoio e representação que atuem diretamente no segmento.

Criado em 12 de dezembro de 2014, o Fórum irá para o seu 5º encontro, que será realizado nos dias 10 a 12 de maio, no Rio de Janeiro, trazendo palestras e painéis de grande interesse, e aprovando enunciados orientativos das atividades dos NUPEMECs, CEJUSCs, conciliadores e mediadores. Na oportunidade, será lançada a Revista do FONAMEC, com artigos de representantes de todos os 27 Tribunais e de juristas especializados no estudo dos métodos autocompositivos.