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International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution


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Issue 2, 2016 Expand all abstracts

Daniel Rainey
Article

The New Handshake: Where We Are Now

Keywords consumers, consumer protection, online dispute resolution (ODR), remedies, e-commerce
Authors Amy J. Schmitz and Colin Rule
AbstractAuthor's information

    The internet has empowered consumers in new and exciting ways. It has opened more efficient avenues for consumers to buy just about anything. Want proof? Just pull out your smartphone, swipe your finger across the screen a few times, and presto – your collector’s edition Notorious RBG bobblehead is on its way from China. Unfortunately, however, the internet has not yet delivered on its promise to improve consumer protection.


Amy J. Schmitz
Amy J. Schmitz is the Elwood L. Thomas Missouri Endowed Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law and Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution, and the founder of MyConsumertips.info.

Colin Rule
Colin Rule is co-founder and Chairman of Modria.com and the former Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal.
Article

Digital Justice: Introduction

Authors Ethan Katsh and Orna Rabinovich-Einy
Author's information

Ethan Katsh
Ethan Katsh is Director and Co-Founder of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, and Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies, University of Massachusetts.

Orna Rabinovich-Einy
Orna Rabinovich-Einy is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Haifa, Israel.
Article

Identifying and Establishing Standard ODR Processes

Keywords alternative dispute resolution (ADR), online dispute resolution (ODR), e-justice, standards, low-value
Authors Zbynek Loebl
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes future ODR standards. It differentiates between two layers of ODR standards: (i) access layer and (ii) integration layer. An access layer will contribute to achieving general access for individuals to the most convenient ODR system available, depending on circumstances and preferences of the parties involved. The integration layer will enable wide and flexible sharing of ODR know-how.


Zbynek Loebl
zbynek@loebl.info.
Article

European Businesses and the New European Legal Requirements for ODR

Keywords online dispute resolution (ODR), alternative dispute resolution (ADR), consumer disputes, EU legislation, e-commerce
Authors Graham Ross
AbstractAuthor's information

    In terms of practical use outside of e-commerce platforms such as eBay, ODR has not advanced as speedily as many thought might be the case. Two pieces of legislation by the European Parliament applying to consumer disputes, being the European Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution For Consumer Dispute and the associated Regulation on Online Dispute Resolution have opened up the opportunity for that to change. For the first time, there now is a law that effectively requires businesses to promote ODR. However, with widespread breach, evidence of which is referred to in this paper, this law has not as yet been implemented or honoured as it should be and is in danger that its impact could thereby become counter-productive to its essential objective, albeit not its whole scope, in increasing public confidence in cross-border buying of products and services online. One problem is that the EU decided in their wisdom to stop short of making participation in online ADR mandatory. So we have the odd situation in which it is an offence for businesses to not inform a dissatisfied customer of the web address of an online ADR provider who has been approved under the legislation by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, yet when that customer seeks to use that service the business can refuse to participate. If refusal to participate is extensive, the situation could lead to a loss of trust generally in a law designed to improve consumer rights and access to justice. This is especially so if traders carry on their website the mandatory link to an EU portal that will refer dissatisfied consumers to an approved provider of online ADR, and which may have been a deciding factor for that consumer in selecting the particular trader to buy from, yet, when a complaint arises, refuse to participate in the provider selected by the consumer.
    Whilst awareness of ODR will grow as a result of this legislation, albeit as an awareness of ADR that will, in the sense of the medium for discussions and exchange of documents, operate online, I have concerns that broad awareness of the fullest extent of what ODR can offer by way of more advanced forms of ODR will not be fully achieved for some time. Whilst this law does indeed present a significant opportunity to expand the use of ODR, it will not happen without effort by those with interests, commercial or otherwise or both, in promoting the expansion of access to justice that ODR offers. Only in this way will this legislation help ensure that there is a commercial need to explore increasingly innovative technology.
    There is an even greater opportunity currently being lost by this legislation beyond consumer disputes. Given that ODR can enable mediation to take place at much more proportionate cost for disputes below the higher levels of value, ODR offers the opportunity to increase mediation’s share of ADR over arbitration. Further, if the public can begin to experience mediation in the busier field of consumer disputes, it would help more quickly embed mediation into our society’s vision of justice and make engagement in mediation for more complex disputes much more frequent. Instead, by lumping mediation in with ombudsman style adjudication, as does this legislation, a much less satisfactory process with at least one party, and often both, dissatisfied with the outcome, it lowers the satisfaction level of all forms of ADR.


Graham Ross
Head of the European Advisory Board to Modria.com Inc, Member of the Civil Justice Councils’ ODR Advisory Group and of its ADR Working Party, and Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution.
Article

From Practice to Profession: The ODR Community’s Next Vital Step

Keywords global applicability, knowledge, professionalism, Qualifying Assessment Programs (QAPs), skills
Authors Ana Gonçalves and Irena Vanenkova
AbstractAuthor's information

    If ODR practitioners and service providers visibly and enthusiastically support the need for the set of transparent high practice and approval standards for ODR that are now under preparation by the ODR Task Force of the International Mediation Institute, and become certified, disputants will much more easily recognize the additional knowledge and skills needed to use technology to resolve disputes, ODR will be recognized as a professional field, they will be more open to using ODR, and the field will grow throughout the world in changing times.


Ana Gonçalves
Ana Gonçalves is Chair of the ODR Task Force at the International Mediation Institute.

Irena Vanenkova
Irena Vanenkova is Executive Director at the International Mediation Institute.