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The Wider Impact of ODR

The Wider Impact of ODR

Will developments in ODR fundamentally change other dispute resolution processes?

 

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Exactly. Part of what I’ve been doing in my work is saying that ODR, we talked about future trends, so I said we’re going to see a lot more of ODR, so that’s sort of one thing, and then we need to think more broadly and imaginatively about what ODR is. How it can fit into our system of justice and into our dispute resolution landscape. So that’s one realm.

The other realm is to use ODR to rethink our face to face processes. Because we’ve had this wonderful opportunity. We have had this new playground designed for us that has different characteristics. Initially we saw these different characteristics as limitations. The fact that everything is documented was scary.

 

We think of mediation as this totally private confidential process. We promise the parties that everything is going to be discarded right after the mediation. We’re just taking the notes for our own use. All of these phrases that we don’t even rethink as we say them.

 

Part of the changes we’ve described are also changes in attitudes toward confidentiality and privacy. Do we need to offer this blanket confidentiality? Also changes in technology. There are new ways in which we can actually ensure privacy despite things being documented. There’s always a risk, you know. There are different kinds of risks that come with different kinds of processes. So the other lesson is, we can look at what’s happening in ODR. What were seen initially as constraints can be seen as opportunities because more documentation may be less privacy, but it may mean much more quality control and learning. What’s going on? How do we ensure quality? Who performs best? Why? What can we learn from that? Who performs the worst? Let’s get rid of them or let’s teach them how to perform better. One of the biggest problems with ADR institutionalisation has always been a quality control question because what were considered as the main traits, of mediation, in particular, the confidentiality and the flexibility, were also major barriers to conducting quality control efforts.

 

So I think ODR, we’re going to see much more of it because our lives are much more online and digital. So inevitably we’re going to see much more of it whether formally or informally. But it’s also going to free our minds and imaginations not only where we use digital technology, but also how we address our face to face processes and cause us to question and think about processes that were designed decades, even hundreds of years ago, and come to redesign them.

About the mediator

Orna Rabinovich Profile Pic

Orna Rabinovich-Einy is a senior lecturer (with tenure) at the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa. Her areas of expertise are alternative dispute resolution (ADR), online dispute resolution (ODR), and civil procedure, with research focusing on the relationship between formal and informal justice systems, dispute resolution system design and the impact of technology on dispute resolution. Rabinovich-Einy is a fellow of the Haifa Forum of... View Mediator