The fourth and final paper in the student paper blog series is written by Ms. Burkley Wombwell and discusses the effectiveness of Online Dispute Resolution. Here is the intro!
Online Dispute Resolution: An Amorphous Concept, Yet An Effective Tool Part I
By: Burkley Wombwell
Technology is becoming an ever more integrated part of society, playing a role—or at the very least touching—nearly every aspect of daily life. The world of arbitration is no exception to this phenomenon. Parties are increasingly taking advantage of online dispute resolution (ODR) to resolve issues. This is not particularly surprising, as the world of alternative dispute resolution is growing and people are looking for faster, cheaper, easier ways to solve their problems.
Online Dispute Resolution can take many forms, similar to traditional Alternative Dispute Resolution (negotiation, mediation, arbitration). For the purposes of this report, however, the focus will be on the progression and implementation of ODR in its various forms, rather than on the distinctions between “types” of online alternative dispute resolution methods (such as e-negotiation, e-mediation, e-arbitration). Together, these tools combine to form the field of online dispute resolution, and the concentration here is on the field as a whole.
ODR scholarship is fairly limited. Aside from a handful of law journal articles, most of the information on ODR exists where the process itself was born: on the Internet. As a writer for the Baylor Law Review observed,
Most commentators mainly have discussed use of the Internet for filing, scheduling, and managing ADR processes, or for numbers-focused processes… that gather parties’ confidential settlement offers and demands and determine if and what settlement the parties should mutually accept…articles and reports have provided more facial discussion of ODR’s inevitability with the rise of e-communities and the Internet-savvy generation...[i]
Despite the lack of scholarly attention devoted to ODR, the vast amount of scattered information available and relatively widespread use of the process merit an in-depth look at this emerging technology.
[i] Amy J. Schmitz, Drive-thru Arbitration in the Digital Age: Empowering Consumers through Binding ODR, 62 Baylor L. Rev. 178, 182-183(2010).; Leah Wing & Daniel Rainey, Online Dispute Resolution and the Development of Theory, in ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION: THEORY AND PRACTICE: A TREATISE ON TECHNOLOGY AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION, 25 (Daniel Rainey, Ethan Katsh, & Mohamed S. Abdel Wahab eds., The Hauge: Eleven International, 2012).