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<xTITLE>ODR and Government</xTITLE>

ODR and Government

by Ethan Katsh, Daniel Rainey
May 2013

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:

The topic at hand is the use of the Internet to govern, and the role that ODR can play in e-government.

A good place to start a discussion about the role of ODR ine-government is to define what is meant by the term “e-government”. It seems only appropriate to turn to that font of e-knowledge, Wikipedia, for a definition:

e-government (short for electronic government, also known as e-gov, digital government, online government, or connected government) is digital interaction between a government and citizens (G2C), government and busi-nesses/commerce/e-commerce (G2B), and between government agencies (G2G), Government-to-Religious Movements/Church (G2R), Government to-Households (G2H). This digital interaction consists of governance, information and communication technology (ICT), business process re-engineering (BPR), and e-citizen at all levels of government (city, state/provence, national, and international).
Regardless of what one thinks of the veracity or accuracy of Wikipedia information, this seems to us a reasonable starting place for a discussion of e-government.

The consistent features of e-government that run across definitions and sources are: 1) the use of ICT, and 2) stress on the varied pathways of communication created by government actions – reaching out to the public, the corporate world, and other local, state, and federal government entities.

Our discussion of e-government will be divided into three main sections:

  • What has changed?;
  • What must government (and e-government) do?; and
  • Where are e-government and ODR going?

    Read the entire article by clicking on the attachment below.


rainey_katsh.pdf ODR and Government  (rainey_katsh.pdf)


Professor Ethan Katsh is the director of the Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution and Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts. Along with Janet Rifkin, he wrote the first book on ODR, Online Dispute Resolution: Resolving Disputes in Cyerspace (2001).  Professor Katsh is a graduate ofthe Yale Law School and was one ofthe first legal scholars to recognize the impact new information technologies would have on law. He is one of the founders of the field of ODR and author of two books on law and technology, Law in a Digital World (Oxford University Press, 1995) and The Electronic Media and the Transformation of Law (Oxford University Press, 1989). He is currently consultant on online dispute resolution to two federal agencies. Professor Katsh has chairedthe InternationalForums on Online Dispute Resolution, held in Geneva in 2002 and 2003, Melbourne in 2004, Cairo in 2006, Liverpool in 2007, Hong Kong in 2007, Victoria (Canada) in 2008, Haifa, Israel inJune 2009, Buenos Aires in 2010 and Chennai (India) in February 2011. He has been Visiting Professor of Law and Cyberspace at Brandeis University, is on the Board of Advisors ofthe Democracy Design Workshop, the legal advisory board of the In Sites E-governance and Civic Engagement Project, the Board of Editors of Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.Professor Katsh received the Chancellor’s Medal and gave the campus Distinguished Faculty Lecture in October 2006.


Daniel Rainey is a mediator, author and trainer, and a principal in Holistic Solutions, Inc., an organisation that offers training and consulting in a variety of conflict engagement modes.  Until 2017, he served as the Chief of Staff for the US National Mediation Board and is the Co-Chair of IMI’s Online Dispute Resolution Taskforce