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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

Artificial Intelligence in the Courtroom

Increasing or Decreasing Access to Justice?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords artificial intelligence, robojudge, separation of powers, algorithm, due proces
Authors Analisa Morrison
AbstractAuthor's information

    Jurisdictions around the world are experimenting with the use of artificially intelligent systems to help them adjudicate cases. With heavily overloaded dockets and cases that go on for years, many courts in the U.S. are eager to follow suit. However, American authorities should be slow to substitute human judges with automated entities. The uniqueness of the U.S. Constitution has demands that artificially intelligent “judges” may not be able to meet, starting with a machine’s lack of what may be called “true intelligence”. Philosopher John Searle wrote about the distinction between true intelligence and artificial intelligence in his famous “Chinese Room” analogy, which is applicable to the discussion of artificial intelligence in the courtroom. Former Navy Reserves officer, robotics engineer, and current patent lawyer Bob Lambrechts analyzed the idea of robots in court in his article, May It Please the Algorithm. Other scholars have started to explore it, too, but the idea of robots as judges remains a vast legal frontier that ought to be excavated thoroughly before it is inhabited by the American legal system.


Analisa Morrison
Juris Doctor Candidate, 2021, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
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

Reputational Feedback Systems and Consumer Rights

Improving the European Online Redress System

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords reputational feedback systems, consumer’s protection, dispute resolution, ADR, ODR, enforceability, ecommerce, European redress system small claims
Authors Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa
AbstractAuthor's information

    The European Union single market needs to tackle an outstanding issue to boost competitiveness and growth: a trust-based redress framework that ensures the effectiveness of consumers’ rights. The current disparities among dispute resolution mechanisms, added to the fact that in practice many do not guarantee participation and enforceability, are serious obstacles to this goal. Trust and the integration of certain dispute avoidance tools added to the regulation of some common enforcement mechanisms are key issues in the field of consumer protection. The goal of this article is to offer some insights within the context of the European Union legislative proposals aimed at improving the current redress system.


Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa
Aura Esther Vilalta Nicuesa is Professor of Law, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and member of the National Center or Technology and Dispute Resolution, Massachusetts, Amherst.
Article

ODR4Refugees through a Smartphone App

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2017
Keywords refugees, ODR, mediation, smartphone, disputes
Authors Petros Zourdoumis
AbstractAuthor's information

    For the past two years we have been monitoring in Greece several refugee related disputes such as disputes between refugees, intercultural disputes, disputes between refugees and the local community and disputes between refugees and the camp administration. We have also noticed that almost all refugees had smartphones as they were easy to carry with them and allow them to stay connected with those left behind or been relocated. Therefore in order to offer dispute resolution services we had to address two main issues: mobility & speed. We thought that technology could fit perfectly in this context. So, we decided, to develop a smartphone application for refugees that could create the environment for ODR. The App will not only resolve disputes online but try to prevent disputes or their escalation. Some of its innovative features will be personalized texts, language selection, disputes menu, automatic appointment of mediator, case filing, video, audio and text communication. It will have a friendly interface and be very easy to use even for those who have limited knowledge of technology and its download and use will be free for all refugees. The process will be conducted online by specially trained mediators and will be informal & flexible.


Petros Zourdoumis
Petros Zourdoumis is Founder of ODReurope, General Director of ADR point, a Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (USA) and project leader for ODR4Refugees (http://odr.info/petros-zourdoumis/).
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.
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>.

    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>.
Article

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

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2015
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

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.
Article

Disintegration of the State Monopoly on Dispute Resolution

How Should We Perceive State Sovereignty in the ODR Era?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2014
Keywords online dispute resolution, sovereignty, justification
Authors Riikka Koulu LLM
AbstractAuthor's information

    The interests of state sovereignty are preserved in conflict management through adoption of a state monopoly for dispute resolution as the descriptive and constitutive concept of the resolution system. State monopoly refers to the state’s exclusive right to decide on the resolution of legal conflicts on its own soil, in other words, in the state’s territorial jurisdiction. This also forms the basis of international procedural law. This conceptual fiction is derived from the social contract theories of Hobbes and Locke, and it preserves the state’s agenda. However, such a monopoly is disintegrating in the Internet era because it fails to provide an effective resolution method for Internet disputes in cross-border cases, and, consequently, online dispute resolution has gained ground in the dispute resolution market. It raises the question of whether we should discard the state monopoly as the focal concept of dispute resolution and whether we should open a wider discussion on possible justificatory constructions of dispute resolution, i.e. sovereignty, contract and quality standards, as a whole, re-evaluating the underlying structure of procedural law.


Riikka Koulu LLM
Riikka Koulu, LLM, trained on the bench, is currently a doctoral candidate in procedural law at the University of Helsinki, Finland.
Article

Access_open ODR Redress System for Consumer Disputes

Clarifications, UNCITRAL Works & EU Regulation on ODR

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2014
Keywords consumer redress, B2C v/ B2B, ODR, UNCITRAL, EU Regulation
Authors Mirèze Philippe
AbstractAuthor's information

    Despite the evolution and the experience in the field of ODR, it appears that some aspects remain to be clarified in order to attempt to determine which type of procedure would be best adapted to consumer disputes. What does online arbitration mean and is this ODR? What is the profile of the users making use of ODR? What mechanisms are adapted to business disputes and to consumer disputes? Are procedural issues for disputes resolved through mediation similar to those resolved through arbitration? The article discusses about indispensable clarifications which may have an impact on the choice of procedure: mediation or arbitration. It then raises issues related to the UNCITRAL ODR WG discussions on a redress system for cross-border consumer disputes and questions whether types of disputes and potential mechanisms are not confused. Finally, the European Union which adopted a Regulation on ODR for consumer disputes may have found a solution.


Mirèze Philippe
Special Counsel at the Secretariat of the ICC International Court of Arbitration.
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