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Part I Courts and ODR

Testing the Promise of Access to Justice through Online Courts

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords online courts, empirical research, civil justice, access to justice
Authors Bridgette Toy-Cronin, Bridget Irvine, David M. Nichols e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Modernization is increasingly knocking on the courthouse door. Many common law countries are investigating ways to introduce technology to improve civil courts, including the introduction of online courts. These state-led initiatives are primarily focused on lowering state costs in providing justice, as well as increasing access to dispute resolution. One possible solution some legal jurisdictions are exploring is ‘online courts’. Online courts hold the promise of making justice more accessible and affordable: a dispute can be filed at any time, from anywhere, by anyone. This model of delivering justice is envisioned as a system that either is lawyer-less or has a minimal role for lawyers. One of the assumptions underpinning an online court is, therefore, that laypeople can effectively explain a dispute to the court, without legal assistance. To date, there is no empirical research investigating that assumption. In this article, we will outline the proposed online court model, consider the need for robust empirical research, and describe a three-part investigation to explore how clearly and accurately people can explain a dispute.


Bridgette Toy-Cronin
Bridgette Toy-Cronin is the Director of the University of Otago Legal Issues Centre and a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Otago.

Bridget Irvine
Bridget Irvine is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Otago Legal Issues Centre.

David M. Nichols
David M. Nichols is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Waikato.

Sally Jo Cunningham
Sally Jo Cunningham is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Waikato.

Tatiana Tkacukova
Tatiana Tkacukova is a Senior Lecturer in the School of English, Birmingham City University. Authors appear in order of the contribution made to the paper.
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.
Part I Courts and ODR

Recent Development of Internet Courts in China

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords Internet court, ODR, AI, blockchain, regulation, fourth party
Authors Xuhui Fang
AbstractAuthor's information

    Online dispute resolution (ODR) is growing out of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and pushing the envelope for resolving online disputes in the Internet courts in China. Recently, the Chinese Internet courts admitted blockchain-based evidence and applied artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, big data and virtual reality (VR) technology. The rapid development of Internet courts in China has implications for regulating AI-related technologies, which are playing the role of the ‘fourth party,’ and the interplay between the ‘third party’ and the ‘fourth party.’


Xuhui Fang
Xuhui Fang is a law Professor at Nanchang University, NCTDR fellow, associated researcher at Cyberjustice of University of Montreal, mediator of International Commercial Mediation Center for Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing, mediator at Futian District Court of Shenzhen People’s Court, senior counsel of E-Better Business in Shenzhen.
Part II Private Justice

Making ODR Human

Using Human-Centred Design for ODR Product Development

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords online dispute resolution, courts and tribunals, human-centred design, legal tech, legal design, user testing, user-centred design, machine learning, alternative dispute resolution, product development
Authors Luke Thomas, Sarah Kaur and Simon Goodrich
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses what we as human-centred design practitioners have learnt from researching and designing online dispute resolution (ODR) products both for clients and as part of our internal research and development initiatives.


Luke Thomas
Luke Thomas is Design Strategist/Legal Researcher at Portable.

Sarah Kaur
Sarah Kaur is Chief Operating Officer at Portable.

Simon Goodrich
Simon Goodrich is Managing Director at Portable.
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.

Stewart McCulloch
Stewart McCulloch is Managing director of NuvaLaw UK Limited.
Conference Paper

Conference Opening Remarks

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Online Dispute Resolution, online court, access to justice, technology and the law
Authors Lord Justice Briggs
AbstractAuthor's information

    Lord Justice Briggs has been intimately involved in the development of technology for improving access to justice in the UK. He was the author of a report that energized the move toward online dispute resolution in the courts. These remarks are a retrospective look at his work, now that he is a member of the UK Supreme Court, and no longer involved day-to-day in ODR development.


Lord Justice Briggs
Justice of the UK Supreme Court.

FANG Xuhui
FANG Xuhui is Law Professor of Nanchang University, associated researcher at Cyberjustice of University of Montreal, Senior Counsel of E-Better Business in Shenzhen, mediator of International Commercial Mediation Center for Belt & Road Initiative in Beijing and special mediator at Futian District Court of Shenzhen People’s Court.
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).
Article

The New Handshake: Where We Are Now

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2016
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.

    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

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2015
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.
Article

Members Only?

Online Dispute Resolution in the Kibbutz Society

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2015
Keywords community ODR, Kibbutz, online mediation, online arbitration, dispute system design
Authors Rachel Ran
AbstractAuthor's information

    The rise and fall of the kibbutz society in Israel provides an unique opportunity to examine the application of technology to dispute resolution in a non-traditional setting. The internal dynamics of a small, closed community in an ideological crisis reflect technology’s role not only in undermining existing social order, but also in developing new norms, building consensus and resolving disputes.
    The article describes the nature of disputes in kibbutz communities, which is influenced greatly by the ongoing relationships between the parties, as the lines between co-workers, neighbors, friends and authority figures are blurred. It examines the existing dispute resolutions mechanisms, their formation, their advantages in relation to existing the social norms and their shortcomings, and introduces the concept of online dispute resolution (ODR) in this context.
    Finally, this article applies the advantages of ODR in the traditional, closed-community setting, and suggests additional opportunities for meeting the unique challenges of disputes in the kibbutz society. This merger plays a double role, as it challenges common perception of community disputes, while introducing new and unexpected avenues for the development of ODR.


Rachel Ran
University of Haifa Faculty of Law.
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.
News

The Online Court

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

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2015
Keywords online courts, online judges, civil justice, Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediation
Authors Graham Ross
AbstractAuthor's information

    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.


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

Social Impact and Technology: Issues of Access, Inequality and Disputing in the Collaborative Economy

An Interview with Mitch Kapor

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2014
Keywords online dispute resolution, access, inequality, dispute systems design, collaborative economy
Authors Leah Wing
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explores the value of focusing on the social impact of technology in business and in furthering the integration of online dispute resolution into the collaborative economy. The keynote presentation at ODR2014 by technology industry leader and entrepreneur Mitch Kapor serves as the cornerstone of this discussion. Speaking to an audience from the dispute resolution, legal, technological and financial communities, Kapor discusses the potential of businesses to increase their positive social impact, particularly with regard to access to equality, mutual gains and dispute prevention within the sharing economy. The examples from innovative tech companies illustrate the important role that information management, systems design and impact-savvy business practices play in this endeavour. Building on the keynote, the article suggests how the exploration of questions of social impact and inclusion and the application of related principles can lead to a deeper integration of ODR systems into the collaborative economy and more effective ODR dispute systems design.


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).
Article

Access_open Digital Justice

Reshaping Boundaries in an Online Dispute Resolution Environment

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2014
Keywords ADR, ODR, DSD, digital technology, boundaries, dispute prevention
Authors Orna Rabinovich-Einy and Ethan Katsh
AbstractAuthor's information

    Digital technology is transforming the landscape of dispute resolution: it is generating an ever growing number of disputes and at the same time is challenging the effectiveness and reach of traditional dispute resolution avenues. While technology has been a disruptive force in the field, it also holds a promise for an improved dispute resolution landscape, one that is based on fewer physical, conceptual, psychological and professional boundaries, while enjoying a higher degree of transparency, participation and change. This promise remains to be realized as the underlying assumptions and logic of the field of dispute resolution have remained as they were since the last quarter of the 20th century, failing to reflect the future direction dispute resolution mechanisms can be expected to follow, as can be learned from the growth of online dispute resolution. This article explores the logic of boundaries that has shaped the traditional dispute resolution landscape, as well as the challenges such logic is facing with the spread of online dispute resolution.


Orna Rabinovich-Einy
Orna Rabinovich-Einy is Senior Lecturer, University of Haifa School of Law. Fellow, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution. For advice and suggestions we appreciate the guidance received from participants in the Cardozo Works in Progress conference in November 2013 and the Copenhagen Business School – Haifa Law Faculty Colloquium.

Ethan Katsh
Ethan Katsh is Director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution and Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. This article has benefited from research supported by National Science Foundation award #0968536, ‘The Fourth Party: Improving Computer-Mediated Deliberation through Cognitive, Social and Emotional Support’, <www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=0968536>.
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