ODR in Europe


by Graham Ross, Marta Poblet

This chapter is from "Online Dispute Resolution Theory and Practice," Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Ethan Katsh & Daniel Rainey ( Eds.), published, sold and distributed by Eleven International Publishing. The Hague, Netherlands at: www.elevenpub.com.

May 2013

A decade has passed since the first online dispute resolution initiatives were launched in Europe. Undoubtedly, the European contribution to the initial phase of ODR deployments has been significant: of the forty-six ODR sites reported by Conley Tyler in 2003, twenty were based in European countries.

As with any new technology, the boom of ODR services in Europe over the past decade has nevertheless been accompanied by some delay in achieving its full potential, possibly as a result of an of underestimation by its original pioneers of the marketing effort and investment required to attract adequate numbers of early adopters. While ODR services rose to thirty-eight sites in 2004, some of them were no longer, even at that time, providing services. In addition, it has to be borne in mind that a review of the list shows that many were well established, and still continuing, ADR organizations or business associations who were at that time simply engaged ininitiatives to examine the future that technology could offer rather than launching a committed and specific ODR service.

Since 2004, Europe has, notwithstanding, continued to be not only at the forefront of ODR development and usage but also a leading centre for ODR research and discussion. At present, the current state of the art of ODR in Europe constitutes an opportunity to instill realism into the enthusiastic forecasts whilst still making significant progress with making ODR services the default systems to resolve online disputes as well as colonizing off-line domains.

This paper offers an overview of the present situation of ODR in Europe and discusses effective development of ODR deployments to handle online, offline, national and cross-border disputes in Europe. To do so, we proceed by first defining the scope of ODR and reviewing existing services. We then continue by analyzing the major challenges faced by ODR in Europe and finally conclude by suggesting some future scenarios.

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Biography





Graham Ross is a UK lawyer/mediator and the founder of a number of IT and the law projects including LAWTEL, the UK law update service, We Can Settle, the first ODR service in the UK, (designing the blind bidding software at the heart of the system) and TheMediationRoom.com, for whom he designed their online mediation platform. Graham was host of the 5th International Conference on ODR held in Liverpool in 2007. Graham was a member of the Working Party of the European Committee on Standardisation (CE) which developed a taxonomy for ODR and currently is a team member of the EMCOD project (www.emcod.net) which is creating a facility for the EU for the measurement of justice through ODR. Graham is also a leading trainer in ODR having written the accredited distance training course in ODR provided by The Mediation Room to mediators in over fifteen countries.


Marta Poblet is the director of the UAB Institute of Law and Technology, where she coordinates a number of research projects dealing with law and technology, judicial systems, legal professions, and alternative dispute resolution systems. She holds a J.D. from the Stanford University (Stanford Law School,2002) and a M.A. in International Legal Studies (Stanford Law School, 2000). She is also a past Fellow of the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation (2001). Her research interests cover technology-oriented developments in legal organizations, judicial systems, mediation systems, online dispute resolution (ODR) and, more recently, mobile dispute resolution (an emerging field that focuses on the use of mobile phones and cell networks to facilitate the management and resolution of conflicts).

The views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc., Mediate.com or of reviewing editors.




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