Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)


logo saying NEW Essay competition for law students! Prize is work experience at a top UK law firm and over £5,000 in prize money, also nine runner-up prizes of £250 each. The essay question for this year’s award is: “If eBay can resolve 60 million disputes each year, why does the UK civil justice system need lawyers?” See here for details but hurry, deadline is 18th January.

  • A report from the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary (2015) recommends that non-criminal disputes of less than £25,000 could be dealt with in a new Internet-based court service, to be known as HM Online Court (HMOC). This would not just be a question of computerising existing legal processes, but of using computers, and particularly online services, to completely change the way that the court system operates. The principal author of the report is Prof Richard Susskind and the report has been welcomed by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service. The proposed online dispute resolution scheme would be similar to the one used by online marketplace eBay to diagnose and resolve disputes. There is more information on the topic on this web page.

  • Ajuve is an online dispute resolution platform for small to medium businesses and individuals to resolve a dispute. You register the dispute on the Ajuve site, fill in the required information and are told the cost of the process. A decision is then obtained via Ajuve from an impartial expert in the relevant industry or work area. The decision is legally enforceable in more than 150 countries around the world and the total costs are known up front. There is a useful video on the site to explain how it works. This process can save a considerable amount of time and money as opposed to full blown litigation.

  • Consensus Mediation, run by solicitor Maggie Kennedy, offers an online service called e-mediator for disputes where the amount under dispute is less than £15,000. Greatly reduced rates apply for online mediation.

  • Helplink Support Services is an Irish company providing low cost Mediation online or by teleconferencing. This form of mediation allows persons or parties to engage in dispute resolution from the comfort of their own homes or legal council's office which reduces time, costs and stress for all concerned. Helplink Mediators work with Families, Organisations and Companies that have disputes or are in conflict.

  • Modria builds online dispute resolution systems. Companies use Modria’s software to resolve customer issues quickly and fairly, which saves support costs and improves customer loyalty. Modria is a spin off from eBay/PayPal, with a perpetual license to the Community Court platform that powers ebaycourt.com and paypal-court.com. The Modria platform is the leading online dispute resolution system in the world, enabling businesses and government agencies of any size to resolve customer problems swiftly and fairly. Modria has recently announced that it has closed a $5 million dollar Series A investment round led by Foundry Group. There is a blog on these topics on their site.
    You can read an article on Online Dispute Resolution by one of the founders of Modria, Graham Ross.

  • The Mediation Room is run by Graham Ross, a mediator and retired solicitor with over 20 years experience in IT and the law. He is a member of the United Nations Expert Panel on Online Dispute Resolution and speaks regularly at international conferences on the impact of the law on the Internet and e-commerce and on technology in the judiciary and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Several eminent lawyers have joined Graham Ross in the team running the service and information on these can be found on the site. They provide a service "where technology meets dispute resolution enabling people to have their disputes resolved at less cost, in time and money, and with less damage to underlying business or personal relationships than by pursuing through the courts or by arbitration." In conjunction with leading mediator training and provider companies worldwide, they can organise both meeting based mediations and mediations conducted online using a unique secure platform. The online service provides an online messaging and blind bidding process, with additional message areas in which client and lawyer can communicate securely. The system also allows for part 36 offers, authorisation limits, offer conditions and non-monetary issues. You can see a demonstration on the site.

    See also Alternative Dispute Resolution and Collaborative Law

    * If you would like a signpost here (free of charge), send me a message: email delia@venables.co.uk

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