International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution

News

The Online Court

Misunderstandings and Misconceptions when Delivering a Vision for the Future of Justice

Keywords online courts, online judges, civil justice, Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediation
Authors Graham Ross
Author's information

245068 Graham Ross
Head of the European Advisory Board to Modria.com Inc and, Member of the Civil Justice Council’s ODR Advisory Group.
  • Abstract

      An ODR Advisory Group set up in 2014 by the Civil Justice Council of England and Wales to research and advise on the opportunities for introducing ODR into the justice system has produced a Report (<https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Online-Dispute-Resolution-Final-Web-Version1.pdf>) that recommends an extensive online dimension to the court system in England and Wales. The Report raises the novel perspective of a court being seen more as a service rather than as a physical venue, seeking to place its primary focus on informing and assisting the public in containing and resolving, if not avoiding in the first place, disputes and to do so with less intervention by a judge. When judges do become involved they also will be encouraged to work more online than in a courtroom. The Report, therefore, does not look simply at ODR as aiding ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), as may have been the case hitherto for most applications of ODR, but as its being integral to the court process itself. The twin benefits the Group sees as being achieved are to both significantly widen access to the courts while, at the same time, reducing the burden of public cost incurred in operating and maintaining the court system.
      It is becoming clear from comments on the Report published online that there is a significant level of misunderstanding over certain aspects of the Report. This is to be expected to a degree, especially given the wide publicity for the Report. Indeed, the early comments are welcomed as they give the opportunity to all proponents of the Report to advance the debate by minimizing such misunderstandings.
      The website (<https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/reviews/online-dispute-resolution/>) accompanying the Report provides a suitable venue to continue the debate.

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