ODR Forum 2016 Beijing: Consensus Reached on Value of ODR

ODR2016 was held in Beijing September 18-20 and the following document was adopted:

ODR 2016 Beijing

Beijing Consensus

The world faces a tremendous challenge with the exponential growth of cross-border transactions and disputes. The Internet has significantly lowered the barriers to cross-border transactions and communication, resulting in large numbers of disputes. Two recent projections underscore the urgent need for novel avenues for addressing cross-jurisdictional and other online disputes. For one, in the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, it was projected that cross-border e-commerce will involve 2 billion customers by the year 2020. In correlation with the growing number of cross-border commercial transactions, another recent projection is that the number of disputes will continue to rise sharply, reaching a pinnacle of one billion e-commerce disputes annually by 2017, and a million disputes a day by 2020. Addressing these disputes will be a major challenge to the construction of sustainable and healthy trade and social relations in an Internet society.

Against the challenges of the 21st century, ODR has much to offer as it has proven to be an invaluable channel, enhancing access to justice in a global digital world. ODR has been successfully used across the globe in the domain of e-commerce, social media, family disputes and a variety of other sectors. ODR nowadays has applications for both ADR and court processes and there are a growing number of ODR tools and systems some of which rely on human intervention, others employing a fully automated process, and those that are hybrid processes.

At this point we further believe that the time is ripe for the articulation of, and the commitment to, a set of ethical principles specifically designed for developing and conducting ODR. The adoption of principles would further increase trust in ODR and the e-commerce setting and ensure the delivery of high quality ODR processes. There are Ethical Principles for ODR developed collaboratively by the ODR community that can provide an anchor for such an endeavor (http://odr.info/ethics-and-odr/).

Hence, the 2016 ODR Beijing forum calls for further collaboration among states, enterprises, universities, institutes, researchers and practitioners engaged in relevant areas of research and practice to further advance these overarching ethical principles of ODR and work together to further the use and quality of ODR, a vital component of a digital age justice ecosystem.