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International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution


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Issue 2, 2015 Expand all abstracts
Article

‘Join the Conversation’: Why Twitter Should Market Itself as a Technology Mediated Dispute Resolution Tool

Keywords Twitter, technology mediated dispute resolution (TMDR), conflict avoidance and prevention, online reputation system, convenience, trust and expertise triangle
Authors Benjamin Lowndes
AbstractAuthor's information

    For almost a decade, the social medium of Twitter has provided a platform for individuals to instantly connect with others, businesses to build their brands and movements to attract new followers. Yet, although Twitter, Inc. has promoted its product as a customer service application, it has not actively marketed itself as a technology mediated dispute resolution tool (TMDR). This article explores ways in which organizations have utilized Twitter’s power as a conflict avoidance mechanism and as a reputation system, leveraging its ability to provide convenience, trust, and expertise to their followers. It then argues for Twitter, Inc. to actively ‘join the conversation’ of TMDR or risk being left out altogether.


Benjamin Lowndes
Deputy Ombudsman, Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Article

E-Commerce, ICTs and Online Dispute Resolution: Is This the Beginning of a New Professional Profile?

Keywords Mobile phones, ADR, ODR, mediation, conflict resolution
Authors Aura Esther Vilalta and Rosa Pérez Martell
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is a close link between the growth of Internet usage, the development of mobile technology, the expansion of markets and the increasing number of online dispute resolution mechanisms (ODRs). This article seeks to start a conversation about the need to provide justice by means of effective mechanisms, in particular for e-commerce disputes and transnational litigation. It also provides some information on the recent international initiatives towards the regulation of this new arena, and concludes with an early approach to the future challenges and the impact on training, qualifications and expertise of ODR professionals and service providers.


Aura Esther Vilalta
Senior Lecturer in Civil Law at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Barcelona, Spain. Fellow of the National Center of Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR), University of Massachusetts – Amherst; CEO of Iusmediare, mediator and arbitrator. Vilalta has been Spanish national representative at UNCITRAL, WG III (Online Dispute Resolution) and Deputy Magistrate in the Barcelona Court of Appeals.

Rosa Pérez Martell
Senior Lecturer in Procedural Law at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria University, lecturer at the Open University of Catalonia and member of the Mediation Commission at the Gran Canaria Government.
Article

Sceptics of the Screen: Irish Perceptions of Online Dispute Resolution

Keywords ODR, Ireland, mediators, ADR, Internet
Authors Simon J. Boehme
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article captures current trends in online dispute resolution (ODR) and its potential use in Ireland by analysing Irish practitioners’ current attitudes to and awareness of ODR. Ultimately, this work provides the groundwork for future research into Ireland’s use of ODR. This exploratory research will hopefully guide researchers in understanding ODR’s users and consumption.
    Data collection came from an online questionnaire sent to conflict intervention practitioners in Ireland who reported their experiences and perspectives of ODR. One hundred and twenty-four surveys were used in this analysis. These questionnaires produced both quantitative and qualitative data. Approximately 900 people were asked to complete the survey.
    The author found that surveyed participants were sceptical regarding ODR, with very few actually using online technologies to aid in resolving disputes. A popular sentiment among participating practitioners was that ODR was not better than face-to-face meetings, but that it was worth exploring further. Finally, the author found that those who had heard of ODR are more likely to believe they could assist parties in reaching a final settlement by using video technology.


Simon J. Boehme
Conflict Resolution Specialist for Martin F. Scheinman, Esq., Mitchell Scholar at Maynooth University in Ireland, Truman Scholar and Merrill Presidential Scholar at Cornell University’s ILR School in Ithaca, NY. <www.simonboehme.com>.

    Arbitration is an important feature of the American justice system, providing numerous benefits, such as flexible dispute resolution, efficiency, privacy and avoidance of unwarranted punitive damages, while significantly reducing cases on overloaded court dockets. Its success, however, is not without criticism; and in the case of class arbitration waivers, as this article suggests, that criticism is well founded.
    Since the enactment of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) in 1925, the United States Supreme Court has pronounced a sweeping policy in favour of arbitration. More recently, the Court has made significant pronouncements in favour of class arbitration waivers, overruling a lower-court trend towards refusing to enforce such waivers.
    The Supreme Court’s endorsement of class arbitration waivers unfortunately results in claim preclusion of consumer claims for relatively small amounts of money. Stuck in this relatively inequitable playing field, there exists an opportunity to design innovative solutions to protect consumers from claim preclusion. Online binding arbitration, OArb, offers numerous benefits that offset its drawbacks, and it provides an accessible forum for some consumers to effectuate small claims. While OArb has failed to gain traction as an alternative dispute resolution process, it seems likely that a private, properly administered OArb programme could succeed and provide benefits to companies and consumers alike. OArb, however, is not a complete substitute for class arbitration, especially because numerous consumers are probably unaware of their claims. OArb, nevertheless, is a step in the right direction, and consumers are sure to benefit if it is implemented on a wider scale.


Andrew M. Malzahn
Andrew M. Malzahn, J.D., summa cum laude, 2015, Hamline University School of Law; Associate, Dady & Gardner, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Article

A Hungarian E-Learning Initiative and Its Implications

Keywords e-learning, pedagogical skills, educational reforms, Hungary, online dispute resolution
Authors Peter Mezei and Benjamin G. Davis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The present article aims to introduce an innovative educational reform launched by the University of Szeged Faculty of Law. The e-learning initiative of the Szeged Law School offers a chance for both students and lecturers to set aside the traditional Prussian method of education used by the Hungarian professors. Such initiative might, however, have broader implications as well. As such, it can clearly help internationalizing legal education in Hungary and in its neighbouring countries, as well as serve as a great example for other international projects, like online dispute resolution programmes.


Peter Mezei
Dr. Peter Mezei is Associate Dean for Strategic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law at the University of Szeged Law School, Szeged, Hungary.

Benjamin G. Davis
Benjamin G. Davis is Professor of Law at the University of Toledo College of Law, Toledo, Ohio, USA, and Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution.

Vikki Rogers
Assistant Dean for Online Programs, Pace Law School.