What is On-Line Dispute Resolution ?
What is ODR ?
Online Dispute Resolution provides the ability for two (or more) disparate parties to settle their dispute using
the Internet. Sometimes this involves lawyers and mediators and sometimes it does not. It depends on the
vehicle/provider that the parties agree to utilize to dispute their claim.
Traditional cases can be settled using the Internet, but the most common use these days involves disputes that have
come out of the business of the Internet, e.g., Square Trade, used by eBay to mediate eBay trading disputes online
and ICANN, the internet domain registration coordinator, vehicle for settling disputes over rights to domain
Outside of the embedded ODR vehicles that eBay and ICANN provide, there are several different models of dispute
resolution provided by public and private entities. Some simply assist with negotiation and some completely
automate negotiation where an arbitrator or mediator is not required. When arbitrators and mediators are involved,
the systems are more sophisticated and many times representation will also take place either before the process
starts or during the preliminary stages of the process.
Some ODR systems provide weight balancing mechanisms on terms. This will assist parties with analyzing the
disparity between the parties and offer hints as to how the parties can attempt to meet half-way. Sometimes when
one sees a more scientific presentation of the facts, it may make it easier to come to terms. This indeed may be
one of the strengths of ODR over traditional ADR and will play out as a future feature of ODR systems.
Calculating the BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) for a party after they submit their claim may
help to overcome the strongest psychological barrier that drives the party to dispute resolution in the first
place. According to de Vries, Berend R., Ronald E. Leenes & John Zeleznikow of Tilburg University in the
Netherlands, in their article entitled, “Fundamentals of Providing Negotiation Advice Online: the Need for
Developing BATNAs” iv, most parties have an unrealistic view of the potential outcome of their case. Weight
balancing of negotiation points could play a key role in the future of ODR.- More Detail
by Judge Arthur Monty Ahalt - November 19,2009