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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

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.
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 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

Equal Access to Information & Justice: A Report on the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Forum 2017

The Huge Potential of ODR, Greatly Underexplored (Paris, France, 12 and 13 June 2017)

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2017
Keywords ODR, equal access, justice online, information online, ICC
Authors Mirèze Philippe
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article is a brief report on the two-day conference on ‘Equal Access to Information & Justice, Online Dispute Resolution’, organized by the ICC in Paris on 12-13 June. Over 160 lawyers, magistrates, academics, researchers, dispute resolution organizations and online dispute resolution providers, from over 30 countries and representing each continent debated about the use of technology for the resolution of all types of disputes. The 60 speakers explored the future of dispute resolution and the role of technology in all legal fields, from mediation in conflict zones, to commercial and civil disputes. The huge potentials greatly underexplored were discussed. It was noted that much remains to be done to educate users and convince state courts, dispute resolution organizations, merchants and other services’ providers to offer access to justice online. Efforts must be undertaken to allow users seek remedy in an affordable way. The solution for an equal access to justice is to make such access available online. The issues of ethics and standards were also discussed, as well as the increase concern of data protection and cybersecurity. The recording of the discussions on the panels are available on the ICC Digital Library (ICCDRL).


Mirèze Philippe
Mirèze Philippe is a special counsel at the Secretariat of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. She is the founding co-president of ArbitralWomen and member of the Board, member of the Steering Committee of the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge, member of the Board of Advisors of Arbitrator Intelligence, member of the Advisory Board of Association Arbitri, and fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution.

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

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

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

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

@ Face Value?

Non-Verbal Communication and Trust Development in Online Video-Based Mediation

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2014
Keywords trust, mediation, non-verbal communication, rapport, technology
Authors Noam Ebner and Jeff Thompson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Mediation is a process wherein a third party, or mediator, attempts to assist two conflicting parties in dealing with their dispute. Research has identified party trust in the mediator as a key element required for mediator effectiveness. In online video-based mediation, the addition of technology to the mix poses both challenges and opportunities to the capacity of the mediator to build trust with the parties through non-verbal communication. While authors researching the field of online dispute resolution have often focused on trust, their work has typically targeted text-based processes. As online dispute resolution embraces video-based processes, non-verbal communication becomes more salient. Non-verbal communication research has identified examples of specific actions that can contribute to trust. This article combines that research with current scholarship on trust in mediation and on non-verbal communication in mediation to map out the landscape mediators face while seeking to build trust through non-verbal communication in online video-based mediation. Suggestions for future research and implications for practice are noted, holding relevance to researchers and practitioners in any field in which trust, non-verbal communication and technology converge.


Noam Ebner
Noam Ebner is Associate Professor and Online Program Chair at the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law: 2500 California Pl., Omaha, NE 68178, NoamEbner@creighton.edu

Jeff Thompson
Jeff Thompson is PhD candidate at the Griffith University Law School: 170 Kessels Road, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 4111, Jeff.Thompson@griffithuni.edu.au.
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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