HomeInsideHow is Online Dispute Resolution reshaping conflict resolution?

How is Online Dispute Resolution reshaping conflict resolution?



One needs to understand what is Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). It is a method used for resolving disputes/conflicts by using digital technology and incorporating techniques of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. ODR has emerged as an effective and very efficient tool in conflict resolution as the same is very cost-effective for the parties/litigants.

The origin of ODR can be traced to the evolution of the Internet in the 1990s, which increased online transactions, and thereby disputes related to such transactions. Broadly, ODR’s development across the world can be divided into three phases, with each phase benefiting from the subsequent innovations in ICT (Information and Communication Technology).

- Advertisement -

First Phase: eBay’s experiment leads the way

The first initiatives on ODR projects were launched in 1996 at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Maryland. Around the same time, ODR was pioneered in a few early e-commerce entities. In 1999, eBay started a pilot project to provide online mediation facilities for disputes arising between buyers and sellers on its platform. The pilot project handled two hundred disputes in two weeks, by far the largest number of disputes ever handled online. It prompted eBay to include dispute resolution as an option for buyers and sellers if a transaction was unsuccessful.

Second Phase: Growth of ODR start-ups

The success of this model and the rapid growth of the internet kick-started the evolution of ODR, leading to the boom of ODR Platforms. There were up to 21 new ODR programs that were launched in the year 1999 from only 9 in the previous year. By 2004, the number had reached 115.29. Even the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) instituted a Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, which started as an offline process but eventually became increasingly online.

Third Phase: Adoption by the Government and judiciary

The success of a few of these private ODR platforms drew governments’ interest in this emerging addition to the dispute resolution ecosystem. One of the first steps towards this adoption was taken in 2004 when the City of New York adopted an ODR system developed by Cybersettle to clear their backlog and expedite the settlement of personal injury claims.

This resulted in reduced settlement time by 85 percent and an impressive 66 percent settlement rate within 30 days of dispute submission. Subsequently, governments across jurisdictions have adopted ODR programs for efficient dispute redressal.

- Advertisement -

Growth of ODR

The COVID-19 pandemic imposed major impediments to the dispute resolution system worldwide. Since movement was restricted, the only option available with the judiciary was the online system. COVID-19 did play the role of a catalyst for uplifting the ODR mechanism to resolve disputes/conflicts.

In recent times, a paradigm shift in dispute resolution can be established as many ODR platforms have become operable in the country thereby facilitating different kinds of dispute resolution for corporations as well as individuals.

- Advertisement -

These ODR platforms have eased the process of dispute resolution by combining the existing process of ADR with technology thus making the whole process feasible and time-saving altogether.

ODR Platforms

CADRE or Centre for Alternate Dispute Resolution Excellence is a platform for ODR.

SAMA is also an ODR platform that facilitates easy access to superior ADR service providers and helps in resolving disputes online.

AGAMI is also another non-profit ODR platform that seeks to create a
better system of adjudication by providing time-efficient and feasible dispute resolution methods.

CORD or Centre for Online Resolution of Dispute is also an ODR platform, it leverages technology to make arbitration and mediation a lot more accessible, affordable, and efficient.

Benefits of ODR

Pocket-Friendly Mechanism: ODR is economical and reduces the legal
cost of the parties.

Convenient and quick Dispute Resolution: ODR eliminates the need for travel of the parties for adjudication.

Increased access to justice: Since ODR tools such as online negotiation and mediation are premised on mutually agreeing, the ODR process transpires as less adversarial and complicated for the parties.

Removes unconscious bias: ODR processes minimize the unconscious bias while resolving disputes.

Need of the Hour

ODR derives its strength from the basic concepts of decentralization and diversification of the justice delivery mechanism. Traditional litigation in India is a time-consuming, expensive, and onerous affair.

ODR can ease the burden of the judiciary and reshape the contours of conflict/dispute resolution. ODR compliments the e-Courts project which was commenced in 2005 by the Government of India to enhance judicial productivity.

India is pacing towards digital courtrooms, and ODR boosts the whole process. The effective use of affordable ODR services can bring about a significant change in the perception of parties involved in the dispute by making the entire process more accessible, affordable, and participative.

The need for an efficient dispute resolution system and vast advancement in technology has positioned India to emerge as the epicenter for developments in ODR.


Get quick snaps of everyday happening, directly in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

- Advertisement -
Rahul Pandey
Rahul Pandey
Rahul Pandey, Partner (Designate), S&A Law Offices

More Latest Stories

Related Stories