It looks like ODR is set to beome reality. I’ve been interested in this for some time, ever sine ROL ran a number of citizen juries online in 2006. Now we have the MoJ digital team and @PolicyLabUK interested in online mediation.
Richard Susskind, IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice since 1998, poses the question:-
“When people and organisations turn to the law to settle disputes, why do they have to do it in a physical courtroom?”
“The system underpinning eBay’s ODR was spun out in 2011 and became Modria, a generic ODR tool that the American Arbitration Association has recently selected for its New York No Fault annual caseload of more than 100,000 cases (modria.com).”
Susskind also mentions the initiative by the Civil Justice Council (a public body established under the Civil Procedure Act 1997 with responsibility for overseeing and co-ordinating the modernisation of the civil justice system of England and Wales) to set up an ODR Advisory Group “to analyse the costs and benefits of ODR as an alternative means of resolving disputes.”
The Head of Modria’s European Advisory Board, Graham Ross, is a member of the CJC’s ODR Advisory Group.
On a second front, the Welsh Government has instructed consultants to investigate the setting up an ADR Hub for Wales. The Consultants, Skills For Justice, have identified the importance of the hub having an online element.
Finally, the Civil Mediation Council has held a workshop on ODR at its annual conference. This is the first time ODR has featured at a CMC event.
All in all it seems that key players in the UK, from Government to courts to the mediation sector leaders, are beginning to see the significance of ODR.