ODR Is The Future Of Global Dispute Resolution

Online dispute resolution (ODR) is increasingly gaining attention of national and international stakeholders. Companies and their customers have now realised that use of ODR is a better option than going to already overburdened courts that is costly, time consuming and unproductive in many cases.

But implementing a sound and effective ODR system is a big challenge and there is no single solution for multiple and complex problems of contemporary times. In fact, most of the existing ODR portals and models are catering to a selective or single segment and such a model cannot be used and extended to other segments.

It has been a long journey for us in the field of online dispute resolution (ODR) that started in the year 2004. We have been spreading awareness about ODR and e-courts since 2004 but both these concepts are still to be used to their fullest possible extent. This never discouraged us to ignore use of ODR for national and international stakeholders.

In order to spread awareness about ODR and to make stakeholders comfortable with ODR process, we launched two separate portals in this regard. The first one is a pro bono portal that is used by Indian stakeholders widely. The second one is a professional portal that we have recently launched after training Indian stakeholders in the field of ODR. We have also launched a ODR training portal in this regard that would train legal and non legal professionals in the field of ODR. We have launched these initiatives keeping in mind the end users and it just takes 2 minutes to initiate the ODR process at our portals.

With this brief background information, let us discuss what ODR holds for the global stakeholders. Whether we like it or not, ODR is the future of global dispute resolution and it would be better if national and international stakeholders start using it right now. This is so because it takes some time before projects like ODR are fully implemented at national and international levels. We can always use open source tools and latest technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, etc for ODR but that would not solve the challenges before future ODR projects. For any project to be successful, it must have strong and dedicated project implementation and customer support teams. Without a trained manpower, ODR can never be successful. Even the best arbitrators of the world would be needing to adjust their arbitration and mediation practices for ODR.

So it is better if all involved stakeholders are well prepared to handle the future ODR mechanisms. We have already invited domain experts from various fields for our ODR project and once that exercise is over, we would impart a brief online ODR training course to those who would request for the same. It would be a free training course so that the techno legal panelists of our ODR project can help global stakeholders in best possible manner.

Many people believe that ODR is not meant for them. But that is a fallacy and soon they would find themselves in the mid of such ODR proceedings but without any clue. For instance, whenever Perry4Law drafts any agreement, it incorporates the ODR clause. Just like the traditional arbitration clause, if an ODR clause is present in an agreement, in case of disputes the parties would be mandatorily required to engage the ODR panelist or ODR institution. We have the privilege of being the exclusive techno legal ODR institution of the world. That is because we are exclusively providing ODR services in fields like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, e-discovery, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, privacy and data protection, smart cities, international trade, e-commerce, e-governance, etc. The list is just illustrative and more about our global techno legal services can be seen at the TeleLaw Project.

Just like us, many more law firms have now started using the ODR clause and once that is there in the agreement, parties would be required to use ODR mechanisms to resolve their disputes. Also as more and more companies have started recognising the value of benefits of ODR, they are themselves insisting on the use of ODR clause instead of the ADR clause. So their is a gradual and constant shift towards ODR and there is no escape from it.

If we keep aside parties autonomy for the time being, even courts and government have started encouraging use of ODR. Courts around the world are over burdened with cases involving small claims and these cases can be resolved using ODR. For such cases, ODR is the best solution as it is cheap, user friendly, less time consuming and costs of ODR are negligible as compared to traditional litigation or even arbitration. So there is a policy shift towards use of ODR as well and soon such policies would be transformed into applicable and binding laws too. The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Act, 2019 of India is a step in this direction and soon Indian government would actively start using ODR too. In fact, India may be a global hub for institutional arbitration and ODR soon as we at Techno Legal Centre Of Excellence For Online Dispute Resolution In India (TLCEODRI) are working day and night to achieve that goal.

When law firms, companies, parties and even government have started encouraging ODR, ignoring it is not a good strategy. This is the time that all stakeholders must work to incorporate the ODR concepts and mechanisms in their policies and seek help of those ODR service providers who fit in their business model. As our ODR projects are global in nature, please feel free to use them for your present and future dispute resolution. We can help you from the stage of contract drafting to ultimate dispute resolution and everything can be managed in an online environment. Let us work together to have a litigation and dispute free business culture for global stakeholders.