New EU Digital Services Act Calls for ODR

The proposedEU Digital Services Act is designed to “regulate the obligations of digital services that act as intermediaries in their role of connecting consumers with goods, services, and content… It will give better protection to consumers and to fundamental rights online, establish a powerful transparency and accountability framework for online platforms and lead to fairer and more open digital markets… Harmonised across the EU and directly applicable, the new rules will make it easier to provide digital innovations across borders, while ensuring the same level of protection to all citizens in the EU.”

This Act includes several several sections related to ODR, particularly in terms of disputed content: “The proposal gives users and consumers the possibility to contest the decisions taken by the online platforms to remove their content, including when these decisions are based on platforms’ terms and conditions. Users can complain directly to the platform, choose an out-of-court dispute settlement body or seek redress before courts. “

As well as the requirements for ODR providers operating under the Act:

Learn more here:

(h/t to Rory Van Loo from BU for the heads up)


December 3, 2020

Consumer protection and trust is at the forefront of all discussions related to commerce. While millions of transactions fulfill the purchasing expectations of the customers there is quite a considerable number of them that do not. Consumers are mostly uninformed of the existence of online dispute resolution tools and instead of using them they are subjected to a dispute resolution adventure by being directed to other customer service tools (if the trader has such) and by struggling to establish communication with the right department/person through lengthy & persisting efforts. As the volumes of e-commerce are growing, so is the lack of trust by consumers as to the redress mechanisms the traders are making available to them to address their concerns when a problem occurs.  

On the other hand, the majority of traders seem to have prioritized the use of ADR mechanisms pretty low in their agenda. They tend to exhaust dispute resolution efforts to direct negotiations with their customers, do not seem to have appreciated the added value of the involvement of a third neutral party in the ADR process and seem to prefer postponement of their engagement in it under the belief that the low value claims discourage consumers to pursue further action through costly & time consuming court proceedings. That is a reality that calls for further thinking on the idea of establishing a framework of a mandatory ADR process for consumer disputes just like is being done more and more in several jurisdictions in civil, commercial and family cases.   

This is where we stand at the moment. So what we need is to act on two different levels. The first one is to connect technology with consumer dispute resolution. Not in the abstract, but through real tools of everyday use. We need to provide a super-fast, efficient and easily accessible environment for both consumers and traders. The consumer must be able to use online ADR at a distance of a click. They must have the option to seek redress instantly. Even at the premises of the trader. So, they need what we could call an “ADR go”. Available at all times, in all places. Smartphones can play a key role in providing access to such ADR mechanisms. With the number of smartphones projected to be 3,5 billion in 2020, 1 billion up from 2016, it is estimated that in 12 years most of the word population will hold a smartphone.  

The second level we need to work on is to address the skepticism of the traders. To understand and discuss their concerns. We need to build on a system that will facilitate honest direct negotiations between the consumer and the trader. Make them understand that the goal is neither replacing direct negotiations with neutral resolutions nor aiming solely at consumer protection, but rather at the protection of both. They need to realize that direct negotiations and ADR is a single two stage process that creates value and as such must be an integral part of their services to their customers. In that sense they need to have a modern online environment, customized to their needs. A cloud system that will allow them to manage cases internally and immediately and to help them acknowledge the complementary role of an ADR body in handling a number of unresolved disputes. A system that would become standard practice offering a customer-centered service that will upgrade the company’s image and reputation.

This is exactly what we envisage with the ADR4ALL app and the components we currently add. We are creating a consumer-trader ADR ecosystem that provides all the necessary features and tools for addressing consumer disputes. The ADR4ALL app is a joint project funded by the European Commission and ADR point and is the first smartphone app of its kind in this field not only in Europe but globally.  

The ADR4ALL smartphone app

The ADR4ALL app operates in both android and iOS systems and combines an easy interface and a dynamic case management tool. The app offers an introductory tutorial of the submission process and the user can easily file a complaint in a few clicks following the app wizard. After submitting a case the consumer can watch the status of the complaint by clicking a button at the toolbar of his app. A software calculates whether the dispute resolution process is a free or a paid service and the consumer is informed of the next steps in the process. After a complaint is submitted the system manager runs a dual check and if the case is admissible a case handler is appointed and once the trader consents to participate, the case moves on to the dispute resolution process which is completed either when parties reach an agreement during their communication with the trader or when the case handler proposes a solution which the parties may or may not follow depending on the procedural rules of the ADR body the case has been referred to. In the upcoming few months the ADR4ALL smartphone app will be converted into a holistic ADR ecosystem for consumers & traders. New features will be integrated which will allow several levels of management, a direct negotiation system built-in the app, a traders’ interactive customer management platform enabling negotiations and dispute resolution by an ADR body, features making the app accessible by vulnerable consumers, time alerts, case statistics, reviews for traders and so on.

The ADR4ALL app is an easy entry point to dispute resolution services. The updated version will be an entry point to an ADR ecosystem. What the consumers need is instant access to simple redress mechanisms. What the traders need is a familiar and well explained resolution process smoothly integrated in their customer service philosophy. What both the consumers and the traders need is full trust in ODR. Our endless effort is to let them know that dispute resolution technology has tools that can serve their needs. Matching “buying online” with “resolving online” will be the new deal for consumers and traders in the future ahead.  

Petros Zourdoumis, Founder of ODReurope , General Director of ADR point,
Fellow at the NCTDR, Member of the Central Mediation Committee of the Ministry of Justice.         

The Mediators’ Green Pledge

Anna Howard (Associate Editor) (Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London), Ian Macduff (NZ Centre for ICT Law & School of Law, Auckland University), and John Sturrock (Core Solutions Group)/October 26, 2020 /L

This blog was first posted on the Kluwer Mediation blog at on 26 October 2020. It is reproduced with permission.

Homo sapiens, the wise human being, must now learn from its mistakes and live up to its name. We who are alive today have the formidable task of making sure that our species does so.” David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

Looking back at John Sturrock’s post from February which suggested a World Mediators Alliance on Climate Change, we are struck by how it seems to address a different era. Shortly after that piece was published, the coronavirus pandemic swept across the world bringing immeasurable loss and suffering. It also brought, for many, a heightened awareness of our interconnectedness with our planet and our impact upon it.  It has also changed our mediation practices in ways we could not have foreseen just a few months ago.

As a mediation community, we have often talked about how we might mediate climate change issues. Perhaps we have not given the same amount of attention to how we might reduce the environmental impact of our own behaviour and practices as mediators – and in particular to how we can individually and collectively play our part in reducing carbon emissions. The changes precipitated by the Covid pandemic have accelerated our ability to do so.

The movement to mediation using online platforms in response to the restrictions on face-to-face meeting imposed by the pandemic has, unexpectedly for many of us, shown us that environmentally-friendly ways of mediation can be both easily accessible and effective. That is not to deny that mediation in this way may bring particular challenges, many of which have been addressed in earlier posts on this blog (see, for example, posts by Charlie IrvineGreg Bond and Jonathan Lloyd-Jones) and we will need to continue to refine our practices for the online setting during the continuing pandemic.

After the pandemic passes, while for some parties and some disputes face-to-face mediation may be the only appropriate option, for many others online mediation may well become the default option. Thus, the greater acceptance of mediation using online platforms has become an opportunity to make a meaningful reduction to the environmental impact of our mediation practices, something to which many of us believe we need to aspire in any event. Had the pandemic not occurred, we would still have wished to find ways to do so.

In response to John’s open invitation back in February to create a World Mediators Alliance on Climate Change (WoMACC), members of the international mediation community came together to form a working group, with members from New Zealand, Germany, Scotland, England and Belgium. Over the past six months, the working group has explored what WoMACC could offer to encourage mediators individually and collectively to lessen their environmental footprint.

The main output is the Mediators’ Green Pledge. This has been inspired by Lucy Greenwood’s Green Pledge for arbitration and, with Lucy’s kind permission, the working group has adapted that pledge for mediation. The Pledge, which was launched on 21st October, can be read here on the special websitewhich has been created for this purpose. Already, signatures are being added daily.

While refining the Pledge, we had many intricate and lively discussions on its wording. Does the Pledge ask too much or too little? Is it sensitive to differences across countries and cultures? Might it demonise certain aspects of mediation which many may hold dear? The Pledge is designed to be illustrative, and adaptable. While there will certainly be aspects which we have missed, the Pledge is hopefully broad enough to allow all those involved in mediation to consider how they can make changes to contribute to a greener way of mediating. The Pledge offers a foundation upon which mediators can build with their own measures tailored to their specific practices and preferences. Signatories are welcome to augment and modify the Pledge as they wish.  We encourage you to sign it.

It is easy to feel paralysed by the enormity of the formidable task identified by Attenborough. Can we really make a difference? Are those differences too difficult and too inconvenient to make? As Attenborough reminds us “the truth is that we must do these things to save ourselves.”  With that reminder, the changes we must make may suddenly appear more manageable. And perhaps they might also seem more manageable if we come together to commit to make the changes collectively, learning from and supporting one another.

The Pledge offers one way for us to come together to do so. As one signatory of the Pledge has said “This pledge is a commitment that has no end and whether it is formalised or just remains a contract to myself – it feels really good to have begun it. Thank you for giving me the nudge!”

We hope many others in the mediation community will feel the nudge!

Cyberweek 2020 is Coming!

Cyberweek 2020 is coming November 2-6, 2020! This will be our 22nd Cyberweek, and we’re confident it is going to be the best Cyberweek ever.

We will have platform demos, interviews, webinars, simulations, discussion forums, and time to just hang out and bond with your fellow attendees in a social hour.

Visit the Cyberweek homepage at

Click here or on the image below to review the full agenda.

(Note: the agenda will have embedded youtube links so you can replay any sessions you missed)

Fill out the form here to register for the week long online mediation simulation (we’re going to be doing a family simulation)

Thank you to Cyberweek 2020 Supporters! (Click for the full list)

Cyberweek 2020 is powered by

World Mediators Alliance Green Pledge

A group of mediators has established a non-affiliated website to promote a pledge by mediators to do all they can to ensure that their mediation practices are as carbon-neutral as possible.

The World Mediators Alliance on Climate Change (WOMACC) Green Pledge can be adopted by any individual mediator. They are also asking prominent mediation bodies to support and promote the Pledge and encourage their members to sign up to it.

The Pledge can be found here.

The website at that link presents the pledge for individual mediators to consider signing, though they are looking for organizational supporters and sponsors as well. They’ve also asked for help in getting wider publicity through personal networks and websites, so please share the link on your social accounts as well if you’d like to help.

Direct link here:

Alberto Elisavetsky present at the celebration of Ombuds day!

Who is the Ombuds? What functions does it fulfill? What benefits does it bring to an organization? Why is it considered a great ally of the HR area? What are its origins? Where will be the position in the future of work? Those and many more questions will be answered by highly experienced speakers (Jorge Luis MaioranoCharles L. HowardNora GalerCamilo Azcarate @lynne Chaillat Alberto ElisavetskyBruce MacAllister)
When? Tuesday, October 13 at 12 noon. How to register?
More information?

“Observing Online Courts: Lessons from the Pandemic” an important foundational work

The COVID-19 pandemic  saw courts that are normally resistant to change trying to quickly adapt to physical closure of buildings.  As Professor Elizabeth Thornburg writes in her new article Observing Online Courts: Lessons from the Pandemic, “[o]ur normally hidebound courts are moving online with surprising speed.” This development provided an opportunity for Professor Thornburg and her students to spend several months observing a variety of court processes. For those interested in the recent rapid institutional adaptation of technology, this is an important foundational work.

ODR ExpoTech 2020

Solving Conflicts in the New Age with Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience


How important would you say emotions have when it comes to resolving a conflict?

And what would you say if you had a tool that allows you to perceive and represent a person’s emotions digitally and in real time?

It’s not science fiction, it’s web 5.0

Imagine that through sensors and facial reading a device can modify the status of your avatar in real time.

2020 has been the boost AI needed. The era begins in which new tools will allow us to recognize, for example, what sensation a text or video causes and thanks to portability, speed, learning memory, neural implantations and high resolution, the 5.0 network is now a reality

You are ready? We invite you to live a sensory – emotional experience, capable of identifying the emotions of a user and giving way to personalized instances like you could never perceive them before.



New ODR Video from NCSC

Check out this great Tiny Chat video from NCSC that raises many of the big considerations for jurisdictions considering Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for their courts. From the description:

“Join us as we cross the country in search of awesome roadside America as we discuss many of the big decision points courts need to make before launching ODR. See the sights, learn some lessons, and keep your eyes peeled for a special guest from Michigan” (hint: it’s Doug Van Epps).

Also check out NCSC’s new ODR website, which has lots of useful tools and sample resources:

New Consumer ODR App: ADR4ALL

A new smartphone application for consumer disputes was just launched allowing consumers to easily file a complaint and access dispute resolution services. It covers all businesses and consumers worldwide and is supported by a back end multi-level administration and case management system. ADR4ALL enables consumers to upload documents and view the status of their case at any time through their smartphone. Developed by ADR Point and its director, NCTDR Fellow, Petros Zourdoumis, it is co-funded by the European Union. ADR4ALL app is functional in both operating systems (Android and iOS) and it is available for free.