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Article

Comments and Content from Virtual International Online Dispute Resolution Forum

1-2 March 2021, Hosted by the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR)

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2021
Authors David Allen Larson, Noam Ebner, Jan Martinez e.a.
Abstract

    For the past 20 years, NCTDR has hosted a series of ODR Forums in locations around the world. For 2021, the Forum was held virtually, with live presentation over a web video platform, and recorded presentations available to participants. A full recording of the sessions can be found through http://odr.info/2021-virtual-odr-forum-now-live/. The following items are narrative notes from some of the presentations:

    • David Allen Larson – ODR Accessibility

    • Noam Ebner – Human Touch

    • Jan Martinez & Amy Schmitz – ODR and Innovation

    • Frank Fowlie – Online Sport Dispute Resolution

    • Larry Bridgesmith – AI Introductory Notes

    • Julie Sobowale – AI and Systemic Bias

    • Clare Fowler – DEODRISE

    • Michael Wolf – ODR 2.0 System Design

    • Chris Draper – Algorithmic ODR

    • Zbynek Loebl – Open ODR


David Allen Larson

Noam Ebner

Jan Martinez

Amy Schmitz

Frank Fowlie

Larry Bridgesmith

Julie Sobowale

Clare Fowler

Michael Wolf

Chris Draper

Zbynek Loebl
Article

Access_open Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Digital Sector

A Dejurisdictionalization Process?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2020
Keywords European legislation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, civil procedure
Authors Rebecca Berto
AbstractAuthor's information

    Alternative Dispute Resolution (=ADR) is a generic reference to consensus-based processes that provide an alternative to litigation and to binding arbitration procedures. Analysing European provisions, the European legislator pushes Alternative Dispute Resolution methods as a means of resolving not only consumer-to-business disputes but also business-to-business. This may determine over the long term a sort of ‘dejurisdictionalization’ process, moving disputes from tribunals to Alternative Dispute Resolution methods. Procedural rights, however, such as raising interpretative questions to the European Court of Justice, may only be exercised before a court.
    Therefore, Alternative Dispute Resolution and national civil procedure are separated by a sort of procedural ‘Chinese wall’: this legislator’s forma mentis, repeated also in more recent directives, hinders the development of cross-border procedural provisions capable of tackling the legal and procedural questions posed by communication services and new technologies, such as blockchain, whose technical features are not limited by geographical boundaries.
    This article argues that, in the light of technological advancements, the European internal market needs new common procedural legislation fit for the cross-border economic and legal relationships carried out within it.


Rebecca Berto
Rebecca Berto is a lawyer with ECC-Italy: d.jur. University of Padua, Pg. Dipl. International Dispute Resolution (Arbitration) Queen Mary University – London, admitted to the Italian Bar. The views expressed herein are solely the author’s and represent neither that of ECC Italy nor of its host structures or any other of its public financiers. All opinions and errors are of the author. The author did not receive private or public funds for this article.
Article

The EU Approach to Consumer ODR

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2019
Keywords consumer alternative/online dispute resolution, European Union, ODR Regulation 524/2013, ADR Directive 2013/11, ODR platform
Authors Emma van Gelder
AbstractAuthor's information

    The EU internal market has undergone several developments in the past decades. One of the main developments is the inclusion of a digital dimension. One of the fields in which these developments are very evident is the consumer market. A further development of e-commerce is however hindered because there are no suitable redress mechanisms for consumers involved in low-value, high volume claims typically arising from e-commerce transactions. In response to the ills of existing redress mechanisms, an emerging trend of consumer alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and consumer online dispute resolution (ODR) schemes has been identified throughout the Member States (MS) aimed to offer consumers a swift, cheap and simple procedure through which they can enforce their rightsThis paper outlines the EU approach to Consumer ADR/ODR, gives some observations of the functioning of the legislation in practice and concludes with some thoughts for the future.


Emma van Gelder
PhD Candidate Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
Article

e-Court – Dutch Alternative Online Resolution of Debt Collection Claims

A Violation of the Law or Blessing in Disguise?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2019
Keywords fair trial, money claims, judiciary, ECHR, arbitration
Authors Willemien Netjes and Arno R. Lodder
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2017, the Dutch alternative dispute resolution (ADR) initiative e-Court handled 20,000 debt collection claims via an online arbitration procedure, and this number was expected to double in 2018. In September of that same year, the Chairman for the Council of the Judiciary, Frits Bakker, argued on the Day for the Judiciary that in the future most lawsuits can be handled automatically and that a robot judge could work fast, efficiently and cheaply. However, in January 2018, Frits Bakker seemed to have changed his mind and criticized e-Court for its lack of impartiality, lack of transparency, unlawfully denying people the right to a state Court, and for being a ‘robot judge’. Ultimately, all criticism boiled down to one issue: that the defendant’s right to a fair trial was not sufficiently protected in e-Court’s procedure. This accusation led to a huge media outcry, and as a result Courts were no longer willing to grant an exequatur to e-Court’s arbitral awards until the Supreme Court had given its approval. This forced e-Court to temporarily halt its services. Questions such as ‘is arbitration desirable in the case of bulk debt collection procedures?’ and ‘are arbitration agreements in standard terms of consumer contracts desirable?’ are relevant and important, but inherently political. In this article, we argue that the conclusion of the judiciary and media that e-Court’s procedure is in breach of the right to a fair trial is not substantiated by convincing legal arguments. Our aim is not to evaluate whether online arbitration is the best solution to the debt collection claim congestion of Courts in the Netherlands, but instead to assess e-Court’s procedure in the light of Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The conclusion is that e-Court’s procedure sufficiently guarantees the right to a fair trial and thus that the criticism expressed was of a political rather than legal nature.


Willemien Netjes
Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Arno R. Lodder
Article

Mobile Online Dispute Resolution Tools’ Potential Applications for Government Offices

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2019
Keywords mobile online dispute resolution, MODR, ODR, computer mediated communication, dispute prevention, workplace conflict
Authors Stephanie Gustin and Norman Dolan
AbstractAuthor's information

    Online communication practices have become intrinsic to government work environments. Understanding the impact of these practices, whether they be general computer mediated communication (CMC) or specifically online dispute resolution (ODR) processes, is an essential step in supporting respectful and healthy work environments. ODR literature focuses almost exclusively on e-commerce, leaving large gaps in the body of knowledge as ODR applications diversify. Available ODR tools, which simply transpose traditional alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes online through the use of office videoconferencing systems, are not mobile and do not utilize the full capabilities of the existing technology. This article explores the potential impacts mobile ODR (MODR) tools could have on the dispute interventions and prevention initiatives in government office settings. The study used an exploratory model to establish an understanding of the experiences and needs of Canadian and Australian government employees. Findings demonstrate an interest in the introduction of education-oriented MODR tools as supplementary support with the purposes of knowledge retention and further skill development following dispute prevention training. Findings suggest that workplace attitudes towards online communication and ODR have a significant impact on the extent to which individuals successfully develop and maintain relationships either fully or partially through the use of CMC.


Stephanie Gustin
Stephanie Gustin holds an MA in Dispute Resolution from the University of Victoria, Canada.

Norman Dolan
Norman Dolan holds a PhD in Public Administration and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Article

Managing Procedural Expectations in Small Claims ODR

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2019
Keywords fair trial, procedural justice, natural justice, waiver, small claims, consumer disputes, proportionality
Authors Fabien Gélinas
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, the author reflects on the appropriate place of traditional procedural guarantees in the resolution of consumer and small claims disputes using online tools. After examining the key aspects of procedural justice that constitute the right to a fair trial and analysing its effects on procedures designed for low-value disputes, the article argues for a flexible approach that takes procedural proportionality seriously.


Fabien Gélinas
Fabien Gélinas is Sir Wiliam C. Macdonald Professor of Law, McGill University, Co-Founder of the Montreal Cyberjustice Laboratory and Head of the Private Justice and the Rule of Law Research Team. The preparation of this article was made possible by grants from the SSHRC and the FQRSC. Thanks go to Dr Giacomo Marchisio and Ms Leyla Bahmany for their kind assistance. This article was originally published in Immaculada Barral (ed.) La resolución de conflictos con consumidores: de la mediation a las ODR (Madrid: Editorial Reus, 2018).
Part II Private Justice

ADR-Rooted ODR Design in Europe

A Bet for the Future

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords ODR, dispute system design, European law, redesign of ADR systems, artificial intelligence
Authors Fernando Esteban de la Rosa
AbstractAuthor's information

    The new European regulatory framework has a greater significance than it expressly declares, both for the development of online dispute resolution (ODR) in Europe and for the structure of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) entities of the Member States. A close reading of the ADR Directive reveals an implicit but clear mandate for the development and intensive use of ODR tools by certified ADR entities that could lead to the creation of new ODR platforms. The new ADR/ODR regulatory framework shows a clear tendency to produce important transformations in the traditional ADR structure in every Member State. This article aims to identify criteria for the development of ODR in Europe and to discover the European law’s implicit mandates related to the redesign of the ADR structure in the Member States, while assessing the role of the Member States, the ADR entities and the European Union itself.


Fernando Esteban de la Rosa
Fernando Esteban de la Rosa is Chair in Private International Law, University of Granada, Spain; NCTDR fellow.
Part II Private Justice

Using Technology and ADR Methods to Enhance Access to Justice

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords ODR, ADR, mediation, online court, e-court, consumer ADR, CADR, CDR, ombudsman
Authors Pablo Cortes
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses how technology and extrajudicial processes can provide a solution to the access-to-justice problem for self-represented litigants. The article first observes the need for efficient dispute resolution processes based on a wider concept of access to justice and argues for greater integration amongst courts and extrajudicial bodies, especially in the consumer sphere where dispute resolution bodies are currently undergoing an institutionalization process as a result of recent EU legislation. Accordingly, it is argued that access to justice for consumers will only be achieved if they have access to either an accountable and effective extrajudicial scheme that offers adjudication or a truly user-friendly and accessible online court that incorporates alternative dispute resolution techniques as the United Kingdom has endeavoured to deliver. To that end, this article examines the policy options for the English Online Court with a particular focus on the challenges faced by litigants in person. Finally, this article submits that dispute system design changes need to be informed by empirical research and a holistic policy strategy on dispute resolution.


Pablo Cortes
Pablo Cortes is Professor of Civil Justice, Leicester Law School, University of Leicester.
Article

On China Online Dispute Resolution Mechanism

Following UNCITRAL TNODR and Alibaba Experience

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2017
Keywords Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), China, UNCITRAL TNODR, Alibaba experience
Authors Zhang Juanjuan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The booming of cross-border e-commerce has bred online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanisms, to adapt to the growth of cross-border high-volume and low-value e-commerce transactions. China is the largest B2C e-commerce market in the world. However, along with a prosperous e-commerce market, a great number of disputes have erupted. Under this circumstance, how to establish a reasonable, convenient and efficient online dispute settlement (ODS) method is significant. This paper will briefly look at various ODS channels. By comparing the existing Chinese mechanism and UNCITRAL documents, the paper intends to help provide the reader with greater understanding of the Chinese style, point out the obstacles and challenges in China with quantitative and qualitative analysis, and make some suggestions on the future direction of China ODR system.


Zhang Juanjuan
Zhang Juanjuan is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law and researcher at the Centre of Latin American Studies at the Southwest University of Science and Technology, China. She is also a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Macau, Macau, China.
Article

The New World Order in Dispute Resolution

Brexit and the Trump Presidency

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2017
Keywords dispute resolution, Brexit, Donald Trump, technology, trade
Authors Ijeoma Ononogbu
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Brexit vote and Donald J Trump as the leader of the Free world in 2016 brought in a new world order. Two hugely important and unexpected events of 2016. Both have called into question the stability of established international commercial dispute resolution schemes in the United Kingdom and the United States in our tech savvy world. As the impact of both events unfolds, adaptations made to the existing dispute resolution schemes will be negotiated and the role that technology can play in the new approaches to international commercial dispute resolution will be determined. Consequently, there has been the changing face of Western politics after the Cold War, based on traditional group identity giving way to an uncertain landscape in which the political class struggle to define. The impact and disruption of technology in politics has given everyone a voice regardless of social class. Consequently, the EU under Mr Juncker and the UK Prime Minister seem to have mutual respect in their negotiations, given that the UK has made a number of notable concessions in order to move the trade discussions forward.
    Under Donald Trump presidency, the state of North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seems binary with the probing question will NAFTA survive or not. NAFTA is currently undergoing transformation, a process that incorporates Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).


Ijeoma Ononogbu
Ijeoma Ononogbu is a London-based Solicitor, International Dispute Resolution, Director, Dispute Resolver Ltd and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Conference Paper

Artificial Intelligence and Online Dispute Resolution Systems Design

Lack of/Access to Justice Magnified

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2017
Keywords ODR, ethics, alternative dispute resolution, technology, dispute system design, artificial intelligence
Authors Leah Wing
AbstractAuthor's information

    Recent scholarship and innovative applications of technology to dispute resolution highlight the promise of increasing access to justice via online dispute resolution (ODR) practices. Yet, technology can also magnify the risk of procedural and substantive injustice when artificial intelligence amplifies power imbalances, compounds inaccuracies and biases and reduces transparency in decision making. These risks raise important ethical questions for ODR systems design. Under what conditions should algorithms decide outcomes? Are software developers serving as gatekeepers to access to justice? Given competing interests among stakeholders, whose priorities should impact the incorporation of technology into courts and other methods of dispute resolution? Multidisciplinary collaboration and stakeholder engagement can contribute to the creation of ethical principles for ODR systems design and transparent monitoring and accountability mechanisms. Attention to their development is needed as technology becomes more heavily integrated into our legal system and forms of alternative dispute resolution.


Leah Wing
Leah Wing is Co-Director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, and Senior Lecturer II, Legal Studies Program, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (USA).
Article

The Law of Consumer Redress in an Evolving Digital Market

Upgrading from Alternative to Online Dispute Resolution

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2017
Keywords e-Commerce, Online Dispute Resolution, Alternative Dispute Resolution, consumer redress
Authors Pablo Cortés
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article contains the Introduction of a book with the same title recently published by Cambridge University Press, which is reproduced here with its permission. The book offers an updated analysis of the various consumer dispute resolution processes, its laws and best practices, which are collectively referred as the Law of Consumer Redress. The book argues that many consumer redress systems, and in particular publicly certified Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entities, are more than a mere dispute resolution mechanism as they provide a public service for consumers that complements, and often replaces, the role of the courts. In examining the current redress models (i.e., public enforcement, private enforcement and other market options), the book calls for greater integration amongst these various redress options. It also advocates, inter alia, for processes that encourage parties to participate in ADR processes, settle meritorious claims and ensure extrajudicial enforcement of final outcomes. Lastly, the book calls for a more efficient rationalization of certified ADR entities, which should be better coordinated and accessible through technological means.


Pablo Cortés
Pablo Cortés is Professor of Civil Justice, University of Leicester, UK.

Graham Ross
Graham Ross runs a distance training course on ODR for mediators and arbitrators at www.odrtraining.com and he is a member of the Civil Justice Council ODR Advisory Group.
Article

European Regulation on Online Dispute Resolution

A Comment on Its Enforcement in Italy

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2017
Keywords European Regulation, ODR, ADR, Italian enforcement
Authors Rebecca Berto
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European single market is a symbol of European integration. Certainly, the European internal market brings great opportunities to its citizens and professionals, especially when the European legislators enact new provisions in order to boost the internal market.
    In May 2013, the European legislator enacted two legislative measures, whose aim was to encourage the employment of out-of-court mechanisms in order to solve consumer disputes: the European Regulation establishing the Online Dispute Resolution interactive website and the Directive on Alternative Dispute Mechanisms. Taking its cue from the first report issued by the European Commission on the Online Dispute Resolution, this article focuses on the enforcement of the European Regulation in Italy and concludes that, due to legal incongruence, no enforcement means have been dictated in order to sanction infringements to the European Regulation carried out by Italian professionals.


Rebecca Berto
Rebecca Berto is Lawyer with the European Consumer Centre - Italy: d.jur. University of Padua, Pg. Dipl. International Dispute Resolution (Arbitration) Queen Mary University – London, admitted to the Italian Bar. The views expressed herein are solely the author’s and do not represent either the opinion of ECC-Italy or of its host structures or of any other of its public financers.
Conference Paper

Scrutinizing Access to Justice in Consumer ODR in Cross-Border Disputes

The Achilles’ Heel of the EU ODR Platform

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2017
Authors Fernando Esteban de la Rosa
Author's information

Fernando Esteban de la Rosa
Fernando Esteban de la Rosa is Professor of Private International Law, University of Granada.
Article

Ethical Principles for Online Dispute Resolution

A GPS Device for the Field

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2016
Keywords ODR, ethics, alternative dispute resolution, technology
Authors Leah Wing
AbstractAuthor's information

    The disruptive force of technology has led to innovative dispute resolution practices that increase access to justice and also raise new ethical considerations. In response, there have been assertions about the importance of applying to online dispute resolution (ODR) the shared values already enshrined within alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as well as calls to more carefully assess ways they may be insufficient or need refining to adequately address the new ethical challenges emerging in ODR. As ODR is increasingly incorporated into legislation, regulation and a wide variety of sectors in society, it is timely to explore the importance of ethical principles specifically for ODR. In the hope of contributing to these efforts, this article examines the benefits and challenges of articulating a set of ethical principles to guide the development and implementation of ODR systems, technology and processes.


Leah Wing
Leah Wing is Co-Director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, and Senior Lecturer, Legal Studies Program, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (USA).

    Online dispute resolution (ODR) has been developed in response to the growth of disputes in electronic commerce transactions. It is based on the legal framework of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by taking into consideration electronic communications and information technology. This article will introduce the current legal framework and practice of ODR in China, find legal issues that affect the development of ODR and, finally, propose suggestions to overcome these barriers.


Jie Zheng
Jie Zheng is a PhD researcher in Ghent University, Faculty of Law, Department of Interdisciplinary Study of Law, Private Law and Business Law. E-mail: <jie.zheng@ugent.be>.
Article

European Businesses and the New European Legal Requirements for ODR

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2016
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

Transformation of Dispute Resolution in Africa

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2015
Keywords Lagos Court of Arbitration, Mauritius International Arbitration Court, ODR in Africa, Commonwealth States, UNCITRAL Working Group on ODR
Authors Ijeoma Ononogbu
AbstractAuthor's information

    Online Dispute Resolution ODR) is the new frontier in dispute resolution process. There has been an overwhelming positive expectation on the way ODR will work globally and Africa is likely to join the evolving dispute resolution concept.
    In recent years, technology has taken over virtually all aspects of our lives. This is from online shopping, online banking, online education, to online games, the list goes on and on.
    Online dispute resolution has been used in e-mediation and turned out a great success for e-commerce. The emergence of ODR and its successes are notable in eBay, which boasts of resolving over 35 million disputes using its ODR services. Africa as a continent is a goldmine of technological exploration. The success of M-Pesa in East Africa, which uses technology in mobile money transfer is a testament to the advantages and great advancements the continent has made in its use of the vast population of youngsters. With a recommendation, for African legal practitioners to join the global movement.


Ijeoma Ononogbu
Barrister & Solicitor, Nigeria, and Solicitor in International Dispute Resolution, England & Wales.
Article

Creating New Pathways to Justice Using Simple Artificial Intelligence and Online Dispute Resolution

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2015
Keywords expert system, online dispute resolution, artificial intelligence, access to justice, legal information technology
Authors Darin Thompson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Access to justice in can be improved significantly through implementation of simple artificial intelligence (AI) based expert systems deployed within a broader online dispute resolution (ODR) framework.
    Simple expert systems can bridge the ‘implementation gap’ that continues to impede the adoption of AI in the justice domain. This gap can be narrowed further through the design of multi-disciplinary expert systems that address user needs through simple, non-legalistic user interfaces.
    This article provides a non-technical conceptual description of an expert system designed to enhance access to justice for non-experts. The system’s knowledge base would be populated with expert knowledge from the justice and dispute resolution domains. A conditional logic rule-based system forms the basis of the inference engine located between the knowledge base and a questionnaire-based user interface.
    The expert system’s functions include problem diagnosis, delivery of customized information, self-help support, triage and streaming into subsequent ODR processes. Its usability is optimized through the engagement of human computer interaction (HCI) and affective computing techniques that engage the social and emotional sides of technology.
    The conceptual descriptions offered in this article draw support from empirical observations of an innovative project aimed at creating an expert system for an ODR-enabled civil justice tribunal.


Darin Thompson
Legal Counsel, BC Ministry of Justice; Adjunct Law Professor, University of Victoria; Adjunct Law Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School. Email: darinmobile@gmail.com.
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