by Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes
Amy J. Schmitz, Elwood L. Thomas Missouri Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law, has published a timely article titled “Expanding Access to Remedies Through E-Court Initiatives,” 67 Buffalo Law Review 89 (2019); University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-07. In her scholarly paper, Professor Schmitz examines the future of online dispute resolution as part of the judicial process.
The abstract states:
Virtual courthouses, artificial intelligence (AI) for determining cases, and algorithmic analysis for all types of legal issues have captured the interest of judges, lawyers, educators, commentators, business leaders, and policymakers. Technology has become the “fourth party” in dispute resolution through the growing field of online dispute resolution (ODR), which includes the use of a broad spectrum of technologies in negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and other dispute resolution processes. Indeed, ODR shows great promise for expanding access to remedies, or justice. In the United States and abroad, however, ODR has mainly thrived within e-commerce companies like eBay and Alibaba, while most public courts have continued to insist on traditional face-to-face procedures. Nonetheless, e-courts and public ODR pilots are developing throughout the world in particular contexts such as small claims and property tax disputes, and are demonstrating how technology can be used to further efficiency and expand access to the courts. Accordingly, this Article explores these e-court initiatives with a critical eye for ensuring fairness, due process, and transparency, as well as efficiency, in public dispute resolution.